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2002 Teacher of The Year

2002 winner, Jolene Jenkins

Jolene Jenkins
Kentucky District Teacher of The Year, DoDEA Americas
Mahaffey MS, Language Arts & Reading

Jolene Jenkins has taught language arts and reading for the last 14 years of her 29 teaching years at Mahaffey Middle School, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. She received her Education Specialist credentials in 1994 from Austin Peay State University in Secondary Guidance and Counseling. Jolene stresses that outstanding teachers analyze students' prior learning, ascertain what they need to know, and use this knowledge to tailor instruction. They adjust the curriculum to fit the child, being flexible, experimental and having the confidence to react and adjust to changing circumstances. Jolene's colleagues describe her as a "teacher's teacher", a "moral and professional compass", and a "woman whose advice is sought and respected by all."

DoDEA Americas

Kathy RobinsonKathy Robinson
Georgia / Alabama District Teacher of The Year
Robins ES, Special Education

Kathy Robinson is currently teaching Special Education students, Grades 1-4, at Robins Elementary School, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. She received her Master's Degree and Education Specialist credentials in Early Childhood Education from Mercer University. Kathy believes there is no greater reward than to watch a child develop from a non-reader into an independent reader who truly enjoys reading. To reap this reward, however, teachers must have a positive, supportive and empathetic mindset. "And so it is that the teacher who makes kindness an integral part of the lesson plan leaves the world forever changed."

Donato Cuadrado Donato Cuadrado
Puerto Rico District Teacher of The Year
Roosevelt Roads HS, English

Donato Cuadrado teaches English 9-12 at Roosevelt Roads High School, Puerto Rico. He has taught all 12 grades during his 15-year teaching career. He holds a Master's Degree in English from the University of Puerto Rico and is currentlyin the process of completing his Doctorate in Education from the InterAmerican university of Puerto Rico. Donato believes his greatest teaching accomplishment in his ability to reach those student whom many believe are unreachable, by discovering their a "hidden intelligence or multiple intelligences." He provides an opportunity for all students to "shine" in his classroom.

Mira L. Moehrke Mira L. Moehrke
NC-Camp Lejeune District Teacher of The Year
Tarawa Terrace II ES, Special Education

Mira Moehrke received her Master of Education in Special Education/Learning Disabilities from George Mason University in 1991 and her K-6 certification from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington in 1998. During her 19 years in education, she has taught home economics, vocational disadvantaged/handicapped students, preschool, learning disabled students, and, most recently, kindergarten at Tarawa Terrace II Elementary School, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. She believes her passion for understanding the whole child as a learner and for sharing the concept of learning styles with others is her foundation as a teacher. Mira observes that the wisdom of children in the ways in which they perceive their world, and "lacing together learning and laughter" are great rewards of her work.

Earnestine Abron Ezekiel Earnestine Abron Ezekiel
Georgia / Alabama District Teacher of The Year
Dexter ES, Kindergarten

Earnestine Ezekiel has taught Kindergarten at Dexter Elementary School, Fort Benning, Georgia since 1967. She received her Education Specialist credentials in Early Childhood Education from Troy State University in 1986. Earnestine is a strong proponent of environmental education and humanitarianism, as evidenced in her class environmental club and vegetable garden that feeds the homeless. She feels learning is most effective when the learner is actively involved in the learning process, and skills are presented in such a way that the learner is encouraged to discover information through hands-on activities, imperative for young learners.

Valerie Krum Valerie Krum
NC-Fort Bragg District Teacher of The Year
Irwin MS, 5th Grade

Valerie Krum, a fifth grade teacher at Irwin Middle School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania in 1990. She believes that teaching is not just a job, but an avenue to influence children's paths in exploring and learning about the world around them. Valerie states, "It's not enough to just believe that all children can learn. It is my goal as an educator to guide all children at all levels to want to learn." Valerie acts as a team with parents with this common goal and communicates through weekly parent newsletters, daily homework sheets, phone calls, e-mails, conferences and a volunteer program. She feels that her responsibility as an educator is to act as someone who opens a door for children to discover a world they can feel confident to explore.

Claudia R. Castenir Claudia R. Castenir
Kentucky District Teacher of The Year
Fort Knox Community Schools, Reading Recovery Leader

Presently, Claudia Castenir is in training as a Reading Recovery teacher leader for the Fort Knox Community Schools. She has served as a Reading Recovery teacher and a teacher of primary students with emotional and behavioral disorders during her 21-year teaching career. Claudia feels that a sign of a good teacher is a continual evolving philosophy of education. She states, "We cannot afford, if our goal is to provide the best education possible for our students, to ignore current research and maintain a static philosophy of teaching about the way students learn."

Kathryn Marie Sheets Kathryn Marie Sheets
SC/Ft. Stewart/Cuba District Teacher of The Year
Diamond ES, Math Resource

Kathryn Marie Sheets is currently a math resource teacher for grades 1-3 at Diamond Elementary School, Fort Stewart, Georgia. She received her Education Specialist credentials in Middle Grades in 1991 from Georgia Southern University. Kathryn believes that respect is an essential trait that should be incorporated into ones personal teaching style. She expects her students to listen to one another, using only constructive terms and to treat everyone in the classroom, as they would like to be treated. Kathryn serves as a role model by listening to her students when they have something to say, as she requires them to listen to her when she is giving instructions. She states, "If I expect them to give me their complete attention when I am instructing, I feel they deserve my full attention when they are speaking to me."

Linda G. Serrano Linda G. Serrano
Guam District Teacher of The Year
Guam South E/MS, Language Arts and Reading

Linda Serrano has taught language arts and reading for 11 years, the last four being at Guam South Elementary/Middle School. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education, English Literature from the University of Guam. Linda believes that because of the incidents at Columbine and the violence at other schools in recent times, we need to make students aware that their words and actions can effect their peers in horrific ways. She states, "We need to treat youngsters as sentient individuals on a journey through life, serving as mentors who are not afraid to tell them when they are not on the right path and help them get back on it."

Joanne Woodworth Joanne Woodworth
New York / Virginia District Teacher of The Year
West Point ES, PE

Joanne Woodworth has been a physical education teacher at West Point Elementary School for the last 9 of her 14 years of teaching. She received her Master's Degree from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1985. The National Standards for Physical Education guide her planning, with each lesson having a targeted outcome that she works to access in an authentic manner. "Teaching through the medium of movement allows me to have an impact on how children think and feel about themselves and the world around them."

Jo Ann M. Hudson Jo Ann M. Hudson
South Carolina District Teacher of The Year
Hood Street ES, 2nd & 3rd Grades

Jo Ann Hudson currently teaches second and third grade at Hood Street Elementary School, Columbia (Fort Jackson), South Carolina. During her 27-year career in elementary education, she feels her major contributions to her profession include mentoring student teachers and working with America 2000 through a project grant that funded the purchase of quality children's literature for youngsters to read at home. Jo Ann feels a wise teacher knows she will need the support of the entire community to be effective. "It takes everyone, the principal, the secretary, our custodians, the school nurse and our community, to educate a child." Jo Ann believes that establishing an early rapport with her students and their parents is an important facet of being an outstanding educator.

DoDEA Europe

Bobbie L. Greenawald Bobbie L. Greenawald
Brussels District Teacher of The Year
Brussels American School, English as Second Language, Gifted Education

Bobbie Greenawald, English as a Second Language, Humanities, English, and Talented and Gifted Education teacher at Brussels American School, received her Master of Science in Education from the University of Southern California in 1981. During her 32-year career, she has taught a diversity of children including Hispanic students in central Texas, affluent youngsters in Austin, Texas, Amerasian children in Korea and the Philippines, Navy dependents in Naples, Italy, soldiers' kids at Fort Leavenworth and, currently, students from newly-emerging Cold War countries. She feels that all these students have had a tremendous impact on her life. Bobbie believes she excels as a teacher in her ability to reach children, to show them she cares about them as people, and to communicate she expects great things from them.

Janet I. Price Janet I. Price
Heidelberg District Teacher of The Year
Hainerberg ES, Kindergarten

Janet Price currently teaches Kindergarten at Hainerberg Elementary School, Wiesbaden, Germany. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Illinois State University in 1970. Janet believes that forming a strong home/school partnership is essential to students' success. "I spend a lot of time with the families of the children, and by the time the year is completed, we have spent several evenings each month at potlucks, parenting discussions, progress sharing sessions, curriculum sharing programs, and 'Make and Take' activity sessions." Janet believes in the words of Marion Jones, Olympic gold medalist, who said, "I've never worked a day in my life. Don't get me wrong. I work at track. If you love what you do, it's not work." Anita Lang Anita Lang Isles District/United Kingdom Anita Lang teaches science, grades 9 through 12, at Lakenheath High School in England. She received her Master's Degree from New York University in Deafness Rehabilitation and Education. She believes that the curriculum needs to be as applicable as possible to the real world, particularly the science curriculum. Anita feels that students need to be given time and encouragement to try out their "what ifs." She states, "I rarely give them (students) an answer since I know it will be more meaningful and memorable if they discover it for themselves."

Frank J. Nosal Frank J. Nosal
Kaiserslautern District Teacher of The Year
Ramstein Schools, Educational Technologist

Frank Nosal received his Master's Degree in Elementary Education from Michigan State University in 1981. He has held the position of educational technologist for Kindergarten through grade five at Ramstein Elementary and Ramstein Intermediate Schools for the last 3 of his 25 years of teaching. Frank believes that teachers must understand their content, but delivery can vary, depending on the audience's developmental level and learning style. Teachers need to be prepared to teach and reteach as many times as it takes for all students to learn the material. He believes teaching is an art, rather than a science, and that it is difficult to perfect the art of teaching because so many facets are involved.

Nancy Hottinger Nancy Hottinger
Mediterranean District Teacher of The Year
Aviano HS, English, Journalism

Nancy Hottinger received her Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education, English in 1964 from Pfeiffer College, Misenheimer, North Carolina. Nine of her 19 years of teaching have been at Aviano High School, in northern Italy, where she teaches English, Honors English, Journalism, Social Studies, and Reading. Nancy believes that good teaching begins with classroom management and establishing a cooperative atmosphere in which learning will thrive. Nancy also feels that basic teacher honesty is imperative for student achievement. "If a teacher hypocritically demands perfection from students, all the while exhibiting laziness and lack of preparation, the young people will not be fooled. In fact, they will lose their essential respect for the teacher and the learning mission will be compromised."

Jan Bennett Jan Bennett
Wuerzburg District Teacher of The Year
Hohenfels American HS, Language Arts

Jan Bennett, a teacher of language arts at Hohenfels American High School, holds a Master's Degree in Reading Instruction and Administration from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She combines her own traits of common sense and practicality with an intuitive ability to recognize her students' diverse strengths. Jan then incorporates these strengths into the content being taught. She feels it is her job to encourage those within her care to realize the world is an amazing place, full of people with innovative ideas, and to realize the potential within themselves. A student describes Ms. Bennett as, "brilliant, enthusiastic, patient, driven, and modest."

DoDEA Pacific

Bonnie Higbee Bonnie Higbee
Japan District Teacher of The Year
Zama American HS, Information Specialist

Bonnie Higbee has held the position of information specialist at Zama American High School for the last 3 of her 24 teaching years. She earned her Master's Degree in Elementary Education from California State University in 1978. She also has extensive coursework in Art History and Education Technology. Bonnie feels that it is fundamentally important for teachers to understand the foundations of education, answering the question, "Why do we teach?" Bonnie's answer, in part, to this question is, "so we have a better understanding of the truth that underlies our being on this amazing world and in this infinite universe."

Clover M. Stephenson Clover M. Stephenson
Korea District Teacher of The Year
Osan ES, 1st Grade

Clover Stephenson is currently teaching first grade at Osan Elementary School. She began her career in education as a speech therapist in 1976, but since 1988 has focused her efforts on classroom teaching in the primary grades. Her classroom provides a "friendly, caring, and trusting environment where children feel comfortable to take risks, look at mistakes as a learning process, and to celebrate successes." She feels that the most rewarding aspect of teaching is observing the changes that occur in her students from the first day of school to the last. Clover states, "They enter the classroom dependent on the teacher and leave feeling and behaving in a very independent way."

Dannette Smith JacksonDannette Smith Jackson
Okinawa District Teacher of The Year
Bechtel ES, 4th Grade

Dannette Jackson teaches fourth grade at Bechtel Elementary School on Okinawa. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education in 1990 from Our Lady of Holy Cross. In her classroom, Dannette creates a community of learners through writing workshop, math stations, cooperative groups, literature-based activities, science experiments and interactive discussions using Socratic questioning. She states, "I am preparing students today to perform jobs that have not as yet been created. They must have higher-level thinking skills to research, process, and manipulate a variety of resources in order to answer questions not yet formulated."