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2004 Teacher of The Year

2004 winner, Joyce S. Loyd

Joyce S. Loyd
Kentucky School District Teacher of The Year , DoDEA Americas
Lucas ES, 5th Grade

Joyce Loyd teaches 5th Grade at Lucas Elementary School, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. She has completed her Masters of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Austin Peay State University. Joyce states that she cannot remember a time when she did not want to be a teacher. During her 26 year teaching career, she feels her greatest accomplishments have been the positive relationships she builds with her students and their parents. It is because of these relationships that she is able to successfully teach her students, meet their diverse needs, and help them to realize their individual worth and talents. A student remarks, "Mrs. Loyd gives each of us individual attention. She helps us with things we don't understand and listens to us. She is truly "somebunny" special and we are thankful she is part of our lives."

DoDEA Americas

2004 winner, Ada DebienAda G. Debien
Antilles Consolidated District Teacher of The Year
Roosevelt Roads ES, 4th Grade

Ada Debien is currently teaching 4th Grade at Roosevelt Roads Elementary School, Puerto Rico. She holds a Master of Arts in Education, with an emphasis in English as a Second Language, from the University of Phoenix. Ada comes from a family of educators. She has nine aunts who are teachers. A parent gave Ada a sign that says, "De este salon salen los mejores estudiantes de Puerto Rico," which means, "The best students in Puerto Rico walk out this classroom's doorway." This sign always reminds Ada of who she is and her purpose in life. Ada provides her students the opportunities to acquire the tools they need to be life-long learners and to leave her classroom feeling successful in their accomplishments and personal commitments to help others.

2004 winner, Lorri M. Blanchard Lorri M. Blanchard
Georgia / Alabama District Teacher of The Year
Faith MS, Multi-Media Technology

Lorri Blanchard teaches Multi-Media Technology to 6th-8th graders at Faith Middle School, Fort Benning, Georgia. She holds a Master of Arts in Middle Grades Education from Columbus State University. During her 17 years in education, she has taught music, been a choral director, a school web site designer, and a multi-media club sponsor. Lorri states that her father had the greatest influence in her decision to become a teacher. Her earliest memories are of him telling her the importance of getting a good education. Lorri believes she is a facilitator of learning as she provides the tools and foundation. It is up to the child to take and develop those tools into lifelong lessons for learning.

2004 winner, Kirsten D. DowneyKirsten D. Downey
Guam District Teacher of The Year
Andersen ES, 5th Grade

Kirsten Downey is currently teaching 5th Grade at Andersen Elementary School, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. She holds a Master of Education in Instructional Technology from Kent State University. Kirsten believes that teaching is one of the most important careers a person can choose. She states, "A teacher has the responsibility to impart knowledge, instill values, and influence the attitudes of every student in his or her classroom that will last a lifetime. Very few professions offer such challenges or such great rewards."Kirsten volunteers weekends at the Guam animal shelter and coordinates fund-raisers for Guam Animals in Need.

Sharon D. AdinolfiSharon D. Adinolfi
New York / Virginia District Teacher of The Year
Quantico MHS, English & Drama

Sharon Adinolfi is currently teaching English, Drama, and Video to 9-12th Grade students at Quantico Middle High School in Quantico, Virginia. She is a graduate of Mary Washington College. Sharon believes that we must keep students engaged in their learning. She states, "We must compete for their attention and interest. It is no longer good enough to just lecture, read, and test. The students must be able to see practical applications for their learning. We can learn from our students. Students enjoy seeing their teachers as learners and enjoy teaching their teachers. We need to be open to the idea that we are all teachers and learners. The big desk is gone. Come out from behind the desk or lectern and dare to engage in the joy of learning with our students."

Maryann Williams Maryann Williams
North Carolina District Teacher of The Year
Holbrook ES, Guidance Counselor

Maryann Williams is a School Guidance Counselor for grades K-4 at Holbrook Elementary School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She received her Masters in Guidance and Counseling from Campbell University. Maryann believes in keeping the 'magic' in teaching. "There is magic when a child learns to write her name or when a child reads his first book or discovers for herself how to complete an electrical circuit. As the teacher, you are the magician. You perform the magic. You put a smile on a child's face when there is none." Three years ago, Maryann started Club USA for students who have a deployed parent. She feels this club has been one of the timeliest and meaningful contributions she has made during her career as an educator.

Karen Twitty Karen Twitty
South Carolina / Fort Stewart District Teacher of The Year
Brittin ES, 5th Grade

Karen Twitty teaches 5th Grade at Brittin Elementary School, Fort Stewart, Georgia. She holds a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Kansas. Karen believes that schools and communities must work together to extend the boundaries of the traditional classroom and provide more meaningful life and learning experiences. "She contributes to the entire school and military community through her extensive work in the Family Support Program, especially important during the school's near total deployment of sponsors to Iraq during the war. Karen Twitty is an excellent example of all things that are right with American education today," states her principal.

DoDEA Europe

David M. Becher David M. Becher
Bavaria District Teacher of The Year
Bad Aibling American School, English & Spanish

David Becher is currently teaching English and Spanish to 7-12th graders at Bad Aibling American School in Germany. He holds a Master of Arts from Nova Southeastern University. David believes in the spirit of the pursuit of learning. He knows life is a learning process, and as a teacher, he must give his students the drive to continue learning beyond high school. He believes that learning is best attained through interesting and entertaining methods. A parent states, "Mr. Becher's enthusiasm, energy, and passion for teaching were evident from day one. Regardless of the subject matter, he routinely brings out the best in all of his students. Never dull or predictable, he always finds fresh and innovative ways to maintain his students' interests."

Heide Hurd Heide Hurd
Heidelberg District Teacher of The Year
Giessen ES, PE

Heide Hurd teaches Physical Education, Grades K-6th, at Giessen Elementary School, Germany. She holds a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from Nova Southeastern University. Heide develops "simple" or "snazzy" ways for her students to be self-motivated movers and thinkers. It is the "Ta-dahs", "Oh yeah!", "Now I get it!" and "Yahoos" that make her day. Her goal is to promote the positive benefits of fitness and instill high expectations in each child. A parent states, "This educator is energetic and a positive life force in the lives of Giessen Elementary School students. Her approach to PE is innovative and teaches children a love for physical fitness and healthy lifestyles."

Jacqueline K. MayoJacqueline K. Mayo
Isles District Teacher of The Year
West Ruislip ES

Jacqueline (Jacki) Mayo teaches Multiage 1-2 at West Ruislip Elementary School, England. She received her Masters in Public Administration from Troy State University. Jacki's message about education can be stated in a simple quote, "One size doesn't fit all." She believes we have children from different backgrounds and abilities and it is very important that we reach all students. Students should be empowered in their learning. It is the role of the teacher to ensure that students show what they can do in all areas. A parent states, "Ms. Mayo has empowered my son to feel like he can "break glass ceilings" and achieve at levels that were once thought not within his reach."

Denise Ann WebsterDenise Ann Webster
Kaiserslautern District Teacher of The Year
Ramstein ES, German Immersion

Denise Webster is currently a German Immersion teacher for grades 1 and 2 at Ramstein Elementary, Germany. She holds a Masters of Education in Administration, Curriculum Development and Supervision from the University of Oklahoma. Denise truly believes that she was always meant to be involved in education. She believes, "A sound education provides an encompassing environment for individuals. It opens the mind to the mass of information and opportunities available. It is the key to life." A fellow teacher states, "It is a pleasure to work with a young mind that has brought a lot of new ideas to the classroom. She inspires me every day with her ability and willingness to share without reservation or expectation of favors returned."

Lisa Mary EckhoffLisa Mary Eckhoff
Mediterranean District Teacher of The Year
Aviano ES, 2nd Grade

Lisa Eckhoff teaches 2nd Grade at Aviano Elementary School in Aviano, Italy. She holds a Masters in Educational Leadership from Florida State University and is a participant in the 2003 DoDEA Aspiring Leaders Institute. A parent states, "Mrs. Eckhoff creates a classroom environment that stimulates her students to learn. Her creativity transformed a normal classroom into ancient lands of the past like Egypt and medieval England." Lisa's commitment to developing a school climate and culture that portrays a sense of family and sharing has led her to be a natural leader. A co-worker comments, "I learn from her all the time, and I'm not sure she even knows this. I look up to her, respect her, and her opinion of me makes a difference."

DoDEA Pacific

James O. HashmanJames O. Hashman
Japan District Teacher of The Year
Matthew C. Perry HS, Music

James Hashman is currently teaching Music to grades 7-12 at Matthew C. Perry High School in Iwakuni, Japan. He received his Masters in Music Education from the University of Washington. Jim believes a teacher who truly finds joy in his/her profession understands the art of teaching. From his early childhood fantasies of leading a group of musicians, to fulfilling that dream in front of school groups, to the opportunity to stand in front of colleagues and lead meetings, he continues to enjoy his life-long journey as an educator. His message to teachers is be an artist. "Be passionate about what you do. Strive to improve because you enjoy the art so much that you want to produce it at your highest level of personal achievement."

Edward Gravlin Edward Gravlin
Korea District Teacher of The Year
Taegu American School, Science & AVID

Edward (Ed) Gravlin teaches Science/AVID, Grades 9-12, at Taegu American School in Korea. He holds a Master of Science in Biology from Troy State University. Throughout his career, Edward has sought to teach children by helping them to see the world around them in a different way. Ed states, "A teacher should be more of a guide than a dispenser of information. It is more important to instill students with a desire to learn than to fill them with facts. I am fascinated with science and by the way the natural world works. If I can convey that sense of wonder and curiosity to my students, they will continue to learn more on their own, long after they've left my class."

Karin C. Mordt Karin C. Mordt
Okinawa District Teacher of The Year
Bob Hope PS, 3rd Grade

Karin Mordt is currently teaching 3rd Grade at Bob Hope Primary School in Okinawa, Japan. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Millersville University. Karin believes that DoDEA schools continually achieve the goal of highest student achievement because of the rich cultural diversity and the high percentage of community involvement in the schools. Her principal writes, "Karin exemplifies all that an educator should be in every aspect of teaching. Her enthusiasm is second to none. She strives to accomplish all our goals of the DoDEA Community Strategic Plan. The students in her class are very lucky to have a teacher who instructs them in all areas-to include academic, physical, social and emotional."