Daegu Elementary School teacher Ms. Rachel Guilfoyle has been selected as the 2022 Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Teacher of the Year.
DoDEA Director, Mr. Thomas M. Brady spoke to Guilfoyle’s teaching style and educational philosophy.
“Ms. Guilfoyle epitomizes student-centric learning and inclusivity,” said Director Brady. “Ms. Guilfoyle has created a learning environment that is welcoming, and which promotes student growth and excellence. Her work with the 2020 Daegu Elementary School Living Museum Project helped set a new benchmark in expanding cultural responsiveness, diversity and awareness while fostering targeted learning within a larger academic environment. I am very pleased to announce Ms. Rachel Guilfoyle as the 2022 Teacher of the Year.”
Ms. Guilfoyle is a 5th grade teacher and teacher leader at Daegu Elementary School. She currently serves as co-chair of the school’s SQF Team, Fifth Grade Level Chair, and is a member of the Advanced Education/Gifted Committee. She has taught in DoDEA for 12 years in South Korea.
Ms. Guilfoyle understands the needs of our military-connected students, as she has been a military child, a surviving military spouse, a Gold star family member, and the mother of DoDEA students. Prior to joining DoDEA, she served as the Executive Assistant for the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) and facilitated the opening of the HAA’s art integrated community learning space. Ms. Guilfoyle believes that learning can occur anytime and anywhere and encourages her students to embrace this belief.
Ms. Guilfoyle is the epitome of a lifelong learner. She loves to learn and share learning experiences with people from all backgrounds and demographics. Rachel participates in a number of professional learning communities and other learning platforms within and outside of DoDEA. Guilfoyle took a course to better understand the needs of children during COVID, as well as has taken courses on understanding the history of enslaved people. Ms. Guilfoyle considers the opportunity gap to be a public issue that she has addressed within and out of the classroom. Her approach to connecting with students’ real lives, showing students how to access prior knowledge, and taking a broader cultural approach to DoDEA’s CCRS, has strengthened students’ identities, activated their critical thinking, and closed the opportunity gaps for her students.
“I am humbled and honored to be selected as the DoDEA 2022 Teacher of the Year,” Ms. Guilfoyle said. “I believe education is not a static process—it is dynamic, challenging, engaging, life-long and personal. Education requires self- reflection to meet the highest standards of excellence to facilitate growth and change. I would like to thank my family, colleagues, administration, Pacific West District, and the military-connected students and parents for their support and encouragement. I look forward to representing the Pacific West District and DoDEA in 2022.”
Ms. Guilfoyle has a Bachelor’s in Education from Macon State College, a Master’s in Literacy Education from Walden University, and is currently working on her Bachelor’s in Library Sciences from the University of Arizona.
The DoDEA Teacher of the Year Program recognizes and honors exemplary Pre-K, through high school teachers. The process begins at the nomination level where teachers may be nominated by peers, administrators, parents, students or community members. Each District Teacher of the Year is selected by a district panel using specified criteria to review District teacher of the Year applications. Eight teachers were named District Teacher of the Year for 2022. Each District Teacher of the Year is invited to apply for the DoDEA Teacher of the Year.
Along with the public recognition and the award, Ms. Guilfoyle will gain entry into the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) application pool and will be recognized by the President (pending scheduling) at a future event at The White House. Ms. Guilfoyle will also attend the NTOY Conference and participate in the Council of Chief of State School Officers (CCSSO)-sponsored Teacher of the Year events.
The year of service for the 2022 Teacher of the Year will begin on January 1, 2022 and run through December 2022. The selection is made months before the term begins to allow the DoDEA candidate and other candidates from the 50 states time to participate in the National Teacher of the Year program which selects a finalist in December. The current (2021) DoDEA Teacher of the Year's term runs through the end of December 2021.
A complete listing of this year’s recipients is listed below. Additional information about DoDEA's Teacher of the Year Program, including point of contact, may be found on the DoDEA Teacher of the Year web site.
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