Department of Defense Education Activity


The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Teacher of the Year (TOY) Program is designed to recognize and honor outstanding educators with more than three years of teaching experience at a DoDEA school who exemplify the qualities of professionalism and excellence in our teaching workforce. 

The DoDEA TOY Program is modeled after the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) Program, which is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). This program provides an avenue for all STOYs to be nationally recognized and compete for the NTOY. The NTOY and all STOYs are presented at the White House. The DoDEA TOY travels to all NTOY activities and takes a semester-long sabbatical to design and implement a project of choice.

Any stakeholder may nominate a DoDEA teacher for this award. Nominees are highly encouraged to participate in the application process.

More information about the NTOY Program can be found at


The purpose of the DoDEA Teacher of the Year program is to recognize and promote excellence in teaching, leading, and Learning. The DoDEA Teacher of the Year program provides avenues for teachers to be honored, awarded, and nationally recognized for their outstanding efforts in providing the best education for our military-connected students.

2023 DoDEA Teacher of the Year

Dr. Cara Kaiser is an erudite educator who strongly advocates cooperative learning and focuses on building relationships with students, parents, colleagues, and community members. She teaches English Language Arts with DoDEA at Lester Middle School, Okinawa, Japan. With 25 years of teaching experience, she has taught reading, learning strategies, Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID), and Music. Dr. Kaiser also holds various leadership roles, including membership on the DoDEA Pacific South internal review team, technology team, school leadership team, school advisory committee, and site literacy team. She is currently the chair of her school’s continuous school improvement (CSI) team and department chair for the seventh grade at her school.