Kelisa Wing is the 2017 Department of Defense Education Activity Teacher of the Year. She teaches 8th grade Language Arts and Reading to military children at Faith Middle School in Fort Benning, Georgia. Wing believes that every student has the capacity to learn as long as educators meet them at the point of their need. She passes her life's motto: "Pursue it and Do it: build your team to fulfill your dream" to her students.
Wing created a non-profit organization called #Squad Up for Education, Inc., to empower parents, students, and educators to commit to become partners in education. The goal is to never allow any child to fail by setting goals, developing a road map for future success, and working with the community to realize students' dreams. She also developed the Stop, Teach, Affect, Reach (S.T.A.R.) mentorship program in her school to assign every child an adult advocate.
Wing is a Toledo, Ohio native, who enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1999 as a Human Resource Specialist. She served six years and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. Wing credits the U.S. Army, along with her faith, for allowing her to realize her dreams of becoming an educator.
Wing is the first African American DoDEA Teacher of the Year and is in the process of competing for the National Teacher of the Year competition. According to Council of Chief State School Officers' website, "The National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) Program began in 1952 and continues as the oldest, most prestigious national honors program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching." As part of the NTOY Program, she will have an opportunity to meet The President of the United States in May 2017.
She has also been recognized by the Association of Supervision, Curriculum and Development (ASCD) as one of the 50 top educators worldwide as a 2016 ASCD Emerging Leader.
"Mrs. Wing's commitment to work for improving education and transforming schools for all students inspires those around her to contribute their best," said Georgia/Alabama District Superintendent Dr. Christy Huddleston. "Overall, she helped to develop an environment of trust, a positive learning culture, and commitment to education." Former Faith Middle School Principal Darrell Mood added, "Mrs. Wing is the total package."