The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) - Americas Mid-Atlantic District proudly announces that Mr. Jonathan Willis, a Special Education teacher at Tarawa Terrace Elementary School in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, has been selected as the 2024 Mid-Atlantic District Teacher of the Year.

“This really goes to show that we have dedicated teachers here at Tarawa Terrace Elementary and teachers who really put everything forth as part of the mission to meet our student needs, which Mr. Willis has demonstrated,” said Americas Mid-Atlantic District Superintendent Kent Worford.

Jonathan Willis began his career in 2011as a Special Education teacher at Bogue Sound Elementary in Newport, North Carolina.

Joining DoDEA in 2013, Willis served as a Special Education teacher at Marshall Elementary School on Fort Campbell, Kentucky before moving to his current position at Tarawa Terrace Elementary School. He is an active volunteer in the community and serves as a Committee Chair Member for the Onslow and Craven County Down Syndrome Committee.

Willis holds a Bachelor of Science in Special Education- Adaptive Curriculum from East Carolina University and is working toward completion of a master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction – Special Education at Austin Peay State University. 
“I am completely honored and humbled,” said Gill. “I think all special education teachers work hard to make a large impact with a small group. There are many times my students are looked at as limited and I just like to look at their possibilities and want to make what they can do shine.”

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 will be named District Teacher of the Year for 2024. Each District Teacher of the Year is invited to apply for the DoDEA Teacher of the Year.

The National Teacher of the Year program, run by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), identifies exceptional teachers nationwide, celebrates their effective work in and outside of the classroom, amplifies their voices and empowers them to take part in policy discussions at the state and national levels.

The year of service for the 2024 District and DoDEA Teachers of the Year will begin on January 1, 2024, and run through December 2024. The selection is made months before the term starts to allow the DoDEA candidate and other candidates from the 50 states and territories time to participate in the National Teacher of the Year program, which selects a finalist in December. The current (2023) DoDEA Teacher of the Year’s term runs through the end of December 2023.

2024 District Teacher of the Year Recipient
Jonathan M. Willis Special Education Teacher
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