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DoDEA Teacher of the Year Selected as a Finalist for 2018 National Teacher of the Year

For Immediate Release — January 4, 2018 |
: Public Affairs Officer | 571.372.0604
: Deputy Director, Communications | 571.372.0614

Kara Ball Fernandez

Kara Ball

ALEXANDRIA, VA — January 4, 2018 — The Department of Defense Education Activity’s 2018 Teacher of the Year Ms. Kara Ball was selected today by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) as one of the four finalists for the 2018 National Teacher of the Year. Ms. Ball teaches a fourth and fifth grade classroom and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) at Delalio Elementary School in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The three other teachers were also selected as the finalists for this year's award are:

  • Amy T. Andersen, 2018 New Jersey Teacher of the Year
    Anderson teaches American Sign Language at Ocean City High School in New Jersey.
  • Jonathan Juravich, 2018 Ohio Teacher of the Year
    Juravich is an award winning artist and art educator at Liberty Tree Elementary in Powell, Ohio.
  • Mandy Manning, 2018 Washington Teacher of the Year
    Manning teaches English and math to refugee and immigrant students in the Newcomer Center at Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington.

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.

Ball's selection marks the second time a DoDEA teacher has been selected as one of the four finalists. Every year, exemplary teachers from each state, the U.S. extra-state territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity are selected as State Teachers of the Year.

From that group, a national selection committee representing 14 renowned education and community organizations, which collectively represent millions of educators, selects four finalists for National Teacher of the Year. The National Teacher of the Year is then selected from the four finalists after rigorous in-person interviews with the selection committee.

One of these finalists will be named the 2018 National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) this spring, and will spend the next year traveling the country to represent educators and advocate on behalf of teachers and students.

"We are so proud of Kara and delighted that she is one of the finalists," said Mr. Thomas M. Brady, DoDEA Director. "Kara is a great advocate for her students and the teaching profession. She epitomizes the dedication and commitment that all DoDEA teachers have to support military-connected children."

Ms. Ball earned her Bachelor of  Science degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from Towson University and went on to earn a Master’s of Education with a Specialization in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment from Walden University. She is an accomplished and award-winning National Board Certified Teacher. She has helped establish programs in her schools including Girls on the Run, Global Cardboard Challenge, Science Olympiad, and the STEM Carnival. Ms. Ball was also a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.  

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-aged children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, Western Asia, the Middle East, Cuba, the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Educational Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.


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