Department of Defense Education Activity

Dr. Mario Vanheuckelom - Lakenheath MS Principal

Dr. Mario Vanheuckelom is excited to have been given the opportunity to be the principal at Lakenheath Middle School and it is his goal to continue to utilize his experience, knowledge and passion for learning to serve the students and community. He is dedicated to hard work, yet knows that preserving balance between work and home life, and sustaining a good sense of humor are key elements to success.

Dr. Vanheuckelom was born in Belgium, and immigrated to the United States in 1992 at the age of 24. Shortly after becoming a U.S. resident, he began his education at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science with a minor in Human Resources from National University, San Diego. He continued his education by earning a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Azusa Pacific and received his Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne in California.

Prior to accepting the position at LMS, Dr. Vanheuckelom served as a teacher and an administrator for a total of 13 years in California, he served as the principal at SHAPE ES (2010 to 2014) and SHAPE MS (2014 to 2019). During his time as a teacher in CA, he gained experience ranging from working within the K-8 level, one on one home hospital teacher for severely handicapped students, and teaching adult education. As an administrator he has provided leadership from General Education to Moderate and Severe level.  During his tenure, SHAPE American Elementary was awarded the National Blue Ribbon award in 2012.

Dr. Vanheuckelom has been married to his lovely wife Michelle for 27 years, she is also a teacher, and they have one son and two daughters. The Vanheuckelom family loves traveling, hiking, soccer, and spending time with friends and family.

He has been serving DoDEA for the past 9 years, collaborating with all, supporting DoDEA’s mission, and supporting our vision for our school. He is excited to become part of the Lakenheath community.

Dr. Mario Vanheuckelom

Lakenheath MS Principal

Official Bio

Phone: 44-01638-52-7007
Phone: 314-226-7007
Unit 5109
APO , AE 09461-5109
United Kingdom

Mrs. Sara Schmidt - Lakenheath MS Assistant Principal

Mrs. Schmidt is passionate about the education of our children and the environment in which they learn. She believes every child deserves an opportunity to be an individual and discover their passions through engaging academics and school-related opportunities which empower them to share their strengths. Mrs. Schmidt is a steadfast supporter of student created school events like speed cubing as well as educating students about social media and how to be safe in our hyper-connected world. She is consistently amazed by the work of our US Armed Forces and grateful for the daily opportunity to serve U.S. families overseas. 


Mrs. Schmidt enjoys learning and is currently working to complete an Education Doctorate exploring how education leaders perceive social media in their professional practice. She enjoys traveling and has had the opportunity to experience multiple universities in the U.S. with a Master of Education in Leadership from Teachers College Columbia University in New York, Master of Science in Education from St. John’s University, and a BFA from Iowa State University. Mrs. Schmidt has been a teacher since 2002 and joined DoDEA in 2005 at Yokota West Elementary School in Japan. Since then, she’s enjoyed growing as an educator and leader at Spangdahlem and Bitburg elementary schools, Lakenheath Elementary and currently Lakenheath Middle School.


Prior to joining DoDEA, Mrs. Schmidt worked as an interior designer and teacher in New York City. She was awarded a New York City Teaching Fellowship in 2002 and taught in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Mrs. Schmidt moved to Japan in 2004 and feels blessed to have had the opportunities DoDEA continues to provide her and her family. She loves baking, cooking, and gardening in her free time while spending lots of quality family time with her husband and children.

Mrs. Sara Schmidt

Lakenheath MS Assistant Principal

Phone: 44-01638-52-7007
Unit 5109
APO , AE 09461-5105
United Kingdom