2003 Teachers of the Year

2003 winner, Deborah Burney Hadley

Deborah Burney Hadley

Fort Campbell Dependent Schools

Debbie is a media specialist at Lucas Elementary School. She is currently working on her Education Specialist credentials in educational administration at Austin Peay University. For the past six years her library has been the hub of organized activities that brings the school and community together. She promotes literacy through storytelling, creative drama, book talks, puppet shows, and poetry contests. She helped organize Lucas Troopers - No Child Left Behind as a reading theme to unite the school with the community. Activities included Apache and Black Hawk helicopters for students to see and parachuting soldiers with books in their hands. A parent remarks, "Mrs. Hadley's library is not the quiet and rigid library of my day, but is a bright and welcoming hands-on place where learning is exciting and wondering opens many doors!"






Americas Area District

Leticia Solis-Jordan Leticia Solis-Jordan
Antilles Consolidated School District

Leticia teaches English to 11th and 12th graders at Antilles High School, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico. She holds a M.S. in Bilingual Education. Leticia comes from a family of teachers and this, she believes, provided the context for her love of teaching and learning. Under her direction, the AHS literary magazine won national recognition. Through her guidance, the school newspaper became a controversial and influential force in the school system. Her Advanced Placement English Language Composition student scores are some of the highest in DoDEA. A former student writes, "Ms. Solis made me learn to think on my own while willingly sharing her vast knowledge and love of writing and literature. I am grateful to have been her student.


Vanessa B. Coleman Vanessa B. Coleman
Camp Lejeune Dependent Schools

Vanessa teaches fourth grade at Stone Street Elementary School. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and is certified to teach Gifted and Talented. Vanessa believes learning is the gateway to discovering fascinating people, places, and things and teaching is like building a house "if the right foundation is put in place, a child will be able to meet all challenges in years to come. A colleague commends Vanessa for her energy and enthusiasm, and her well-disciplined classroom where her students are always actively engaged. "She truly combines the "art" and "science" of teaching".


Barbara Culwell Barbara Culwell
Fort Benning and Fort Rucker Dependent Schools

Barbara teaches first grade at Stowers Elementary School, Fort Benning, Georgia. She holds a Specialist Degree in Elementary Education. She believes her greatest contribution to education is to help children develop a joy in learning, and to encourage children to see the positive in themselves so they are free to develop and pursue their own interests and dreams. Barbara uses brain compatible teaching and learning strategies and avoids the "cookie-cutter" approach by varying assignments to address individual student needs and learning styles. Children learn how to think metacognitively through the rubrics she has them make for self-assessment. A quote from Barbara's letter of nomination reads, "Mrs. Barbara Culwell consistently goes about the business of quietly transforming lives. Her daily purpose is truly one of service."


Temple Thomas Wood Temple Thomas Wood
Fort Bragg Dependent Schools

Temple teaches first grade at Devers Elementary School. She holds a B.S. in Early and Elementary Education. Temple has spent twenty years as either a student or a teacher in many Department of Defense Schools from Fort Bragg to Seoul, Korea. Her experience in multi-cultural settings helped her to understand the importance of establishing the right teaching environment; structured yet inviting, challenging but non-threatening, and geared to individual needs and cultures. Temple believes a major issue in education today is assessment. "As an advocate for the "whole" child, I would step outside the box and develop an assessment that addresses the "total" child. By assessing in this manner I could further challenge students academically. Out of challenge comes growth."


Betty Brandenburg YundtBetty Brandenburg Yundt
Fort Knox Community Schools

Betty teaches fifth grade at Walker Intermediate School. She holds an M.S. with Distinction from Indiana University SE. Betty never planned to be a teacher but she loved learning and discovered the best place to learn as an adult is in a classroom of youngsters. She believes a teacher must have the imagination of Disney, the technological knowledge of Gates, the diplomacy of Kissinger, the patience of Job and organizational skills that would disorganize Covey. Others have encouraged Betty to pursue an administrative track or a career that pays more than education. She feels, however, that there is nothing "more" than being a teacher.


Marilyn D. CarterMarilyn D. Carter
Fort Stewart and Robins Air Force Base

Marilyn, currently a Language Arts Reading Specialist at Brittin Elementary School, Fort Stewart, Georgia, received her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. Her focus on literacy is evidenced in the organization and the implementation of the Brittin Knight Postal Service and the development of the Brittin Literacy Garden. Marilyn states, "It is my responsibility as an educator to mold my students into well-rounded citizens of tomorrow. It is so rewarding to watch the children grow throughout the school year."



Martha C. SudoMartha C. Sudo
Guam Schools

Martha has taught fifth grade at Andersen Elementary School for the past five of her nine teaching years. She holds a Master of Education in Language and Literacy. Martha is a native of Guam. She grew-up as a military child living at bases both Stateside and abroad. As the chairperson for "The Week of the Classroom Teacher", and in conjunction with the University of Guam, Martha organized an island-wide professional development day open to all teachers on Guam. She believes that teaching and learning go hand-in-hand. Martha states, "I enjoy teaching so much because I learn from my students. Teaching is learning. Learning is teaching. Teaching is more than a profession to me. It's a gift that I need to share."


Nancy Cooper Nancy Cooper
Maxwell Air Force Base Dependent's School

Nancy has taught fifth grade at Maxwell A.F.B. for the last eight years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Troy State University. Undecided about a career choice, Nancy followed her mother's advice and became an elementary school teacher. She had a difficult time envisioning herself in a classroom but, "you always follow your mother's advice", and thirty years later she finds the classroom is where she wants to be. "Teaching grabbed my heart and soul and has never let go." In the community Nancy is known as the "orphan lady". She and her family have raised orphaned fawns, pigs, calves, geese, and many, many birds. Her dream is to one day turn her experiences with animals into children's books. Parents' comments include, "Nancy Cooper is a parent's teacher. She is accessible, encouraging, knowledgeable, and professional."


Rochelle H. Grey Rochelle H. Grey
New York and Virginia DDESS

Rochelle is a media specialist at Quantico Middle-High School in Virginia. She earned a M.A. in Educational Media from James Madison University and an Endorsement in Supervision from the University of Virginia. Rochelle was instrumental in completing the documentation that gained for her school the 2002 National Blue Ribbon for Excellence. "The Blue Ribbon experience has been unequaled in my career." Another rewarding experience was developing media literacy courses. Unable to find suitable curriculum in media for middle school students, Rochelle designed three courses "from nothing more than an idea". A colleague describes the QMS/QHS Media Center as "a welcome center hosted by the lady with the winning smile, the appropriate question, and the big laugh. All schools should be so blessed."


Pamela Anne Satterfield Pamela Anne Satterfield
South Carolina DDESS

Pam teaches Kindergarten at Laurel Bay Primary School in Beaufort, South Carolina. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina with a major in Early Childhood Education. Pam is a strong advocate of character education and a constructivist environment in which to learn. She strives to make every day a "life-enriching experience for children." She provides a risk-free setting where students develop a caring community as they learn to support and help each other. A parent comments, "When it comes to raising children with an appetite for learning, Pam Satterfield has a green thumb."


European Area District

Wilhelmina PearsonWilhelmina Elizabeth Pearson
Bavaria District

Wilhelmina is a teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) at Illesheim Elementary School. She holds a Master of Education in Supervision and Instruction from Trenton State College. The sense of wonderment a child expresses about the world and his/her place in it attracted her to the teaching profession. Wilhelmina believes a good teacher never works in isolation. "Teachers, administrators, specialists, parents, and students must all feel they are integral parts of a team whose goal is student success and achievement." Wilhelmina was instrumental in establishing Student Assistance Teams as well as establishing a big buddy system for at-risk students at her school. A colleague remarks, "Ms. Pearson is always accessible. She has been mentor, colleague, friend, and quintessential teacher. She is, in short, the embodiment of the finest qualities of an educator!"


Daniel James L'EsperanceDaniel James L'Esperance
Heidelberg District

Daniel teaches fourth grade at Mark Twain Elementary School. He holds a Master's Degree in Talented and Gifted from the University of Connecticut. Miss Smith, his ninth grade English teacher, taught Daniel how to write songs and encouraged him to learn to play the guitar and write music. "She helped me feel capable. I never wanted to leave her class." Daniel is still an active guitarist, singer, and songwriter, often incorporating these talents as a teaching method in his classroom. A student believes Mr. L'Esperance should receive an award because "his classroom is fun, you get to do puppet shows, and you write a lot." Daniel is the author of Puppet Teacher, a "how to" book designed to promote the use of puppetry in the classroom.


Mark LoveMark Love
Isles District

Mark is a Reading Recovery teacher and a Language Arts Reading Specialist at Lakenheath Elementary School in England. He earned his M.A. in Education from California Lutheran College. We CARE, a service learning school improvement theme conceived, planned, and implemented under Mark's leadership has been responsible for transforming LES into a nurturing learning community. As part of the structure for We CARE, the school sponsors a school-wide charity, United Kingdom Guide Dogs for the Blind. Scrapbooks of photos and children's writings of their experiences with the guide dogs are proudly displayed. Colleagues remark, "Mark's continual search to improve education has not only had an impact on his practices but on those of the entire school." "You will be hard pressed to find another applicant of Mark's caliber."


Daniel G. NukalaDaniel G. Nukala
Kaiserslautern District

Dan is a teacher of English for tenth through twelfth graders at Ramstein American High School. He holds a B.S. in English from Indiana University. Dan doesn't understand why everyone in the world doesn't want to be a teacher. "I'm talking about how wonderful it is to have a job that is different every single day, that brings a new set of challenges every single class period, that brings you into the lives of a hundred different personalities with a thousand different needs. I'm talking about a job that lets you adopt kids for one hour or one day and then send them home without having to cook for them or clean-up after them." His principal writes, "A pillar of the DoDEA Language Arts curriculum, he is sought after as a consultant and presenter. He is a teacher par excellence, larger than life, but always a key team player."


Melora Lee Cann Melora Lee Cann
Mediterranean District

Mel is currently teaching third grade at Vicenza Elementary School in Italy. She holds a M. A. in Elementary Education from the State University of New York at Oneonta and a Master of Public Administration from Troy State University. She followed the paths of both her parents, choosing a career in education. "I love to give - and what greater gift is there than an education?" Mel was instrumental in establishing the Graduate Institute for Federal Teachers (GIFT), an on-going graduate studies university for which she is an adjunct professor of art education. A grateful parent writes, "Melora Cann is a credit to teachers everywhere. She is one of those teachers whose work and life resonates for a lifetime. My Thomas will never forget her or the Cann-room difference."


Pacific Area District

Naomi Fung Mayer Naomi Fung Mayer
Japan District

Naomi teaches Kindergarten at Matthew C. Perry Elementary School. She has a B.ED. in Elementary Education and Physical Education from the University of Hawaii. Naomi fosters discovery, promotes complex thinking and questioning, and facilitates exploration with her young charges. She believes if learning is not reinforced at home and in the community then it is a quasi education. Naomi is the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in teaching elementary science including a $10,000 grant from Alaska Science and Technology. She has worked in conjunction with the National Science Foundation and the University of California, Berkeley presenting workshops for teachers at the local and national levels. A grateful parent believes, "If one could make a mold for teachers, Ms. Mayer should be the model for such a mold."


Kenneth H. Younkin Kenneth H. Younkin
Korea District

Ken teaches Art at Seoul American Middle School. He holds a Master's Degree with High Honors from Michigan State University. Ken believes art is a profound way of communicating, of sharing experiences and insights with others. "With its diversified media, everyone, with some experimenting, can find his or her niche." Whatever your teaching assignment, Ken feels the need to develop and blend a repertoire of models of teaching is the key to successful instruction. Co-workers see Ken as "the best exemplar of a devoted teacher", "a reliable resource", and "one whose credibility as an educational leader is unparalleled".


Janann D.Stroud Janann D.Stroud
Okinawa District

Jan teaches first grade at Kinser Elementary School on Okinawa. She holds a M.A. in Reading/Technology from the University of Georgia. Jan promotes Early Childhood Education (ECE) by serving as the ECE facilitator at her school. As such, she has organized and led study groups on developmentally appropriate practices. She also has served on the Kindergarten Task Force, the Okinawa District Early Childhood Advisory Council, and is currently the First Grade Team Leader for her school. "If you would accept nominations for teacher of the decade, she would be my choice." writes a parent volunteer. "My son had the privilege of having Mrs. Stroud as his kindergarten teacher. I saw him soar with enthusiasm and excitement for learning. My prayers were answered when she looped to the first grade with her entire class."