2006 Teachers of the Year

2006 winner, Patricia J. Salerno

Patricia J. Salerno

Mediterranean District

Patricia Salerno teaches fourth grade in the Italian Language Immersion Program at Vicenza Elementary School, Vicenza, Italy. She received her B.S in Elementary Education from Ohio State University, and her Master of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona. Patricia says, "My personal philosophy is ever-changing as I read and observe the methods of other educators and receive feedback from students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. My teaching style is a result of my personality, experiences, sense of responsibility, and possibly a sixth sense that tells me which method will work for a particular student. I have high expectations for all students while they are in my care and after they leave me." Her principal says of her, "All students know the expectations; yet feel a sense of ownership. Students are challenged to stretch their thinking, rather than simply recall information. She uses a theme approach to include all of the curricular areas and extend skills in all areas."





Americas Area District

2006 winner, Deborah Jane NewmanDeborah Jane Newman
Kentucky District

Deborah Newman teaches sixth grade English and Reading at Mahaffey Middle School, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. She received her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies, M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, and Educational Specialist certification from Austin Peay State University. Deborah states, "I believe teaching is an art. It starts with a teacher who cares, a teacher who is committed to teaching, and who makes the daily effort to understand his/her students. This is the foundation of great teaching." Her superintendent says of her, "I have found the breadth and depth of her knowledge of her academic content area, her perceived role as teacher, and the skills and attitudes needed to motivate students to be unsurpassed."


2006 winner, Sherri O. McKendreeSherri O. McKendree
Georgia/Alabama District

Sherri McKendree teaches physical education at Loyd Elementary School, Fort Benning, Georgia. She received her B.S. from Jacksonville State University, her Masters from the University of Alabama, and her Educational Specialist degree from Jacksonville State University. It is Sherri's belief "that learning does not happen in a vacuum, but extends beyond the classroom walls and the scheduled period throughout a lifetime. Outstanding teachers find every opportunity to integrate what they teach into other subject areas and into the real world so knowledge will be meaningful and permanent, not simply isolated and temporary." A fellow educator states, "Sherri's yearly program is a model for all physical education programs because it includes a plethora of activities which are designed to grab students' interests, motivate them to excel physically, and develop a desire for life-long physical fitness."


2006 winner, Susan DeLoachSusan DeLoach
South Carolina/Fort Stewart District

Susan DeLoach teaches second grade at Diamond Elementary School, Ft. Stewart, Georgia. She earned her B.S. in Education and completed post-graduate studies at Georgia Southern University. She writes, "All students excel in some area of education. Students deserve to know that they have something worthwhile to contribute to the classroom society. They deserve the chance to feel good in a classroom where the teacher teaches with a genuine affection for students." Her assistant principal writes, "A particular strength of Mrs. DeLoach is her ability to individualize instruction and provide an appropriate instructional program for every child in her classroom. Children in her classroom know they can learn, know they will learn, and know they are valued."


2006 winner, Nora E. AlmanNora E. Alman
New York/Virginia District

Nora Alman teaches sixth and eighth grade Social Studies at Quantico Middle/High School in Quantico, Virginia. She received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Bowie State University and her Master's in Educational Leadership from George Mason University."My personal philosophy of teaching and learning is that everyone, no matter what his/her present level of intellectual functioning, has the right and the ability to learn. As a teacher it is my job to make sure that my students have the right tools and a safe environment in which to learn." Nora's principal writes, "As a former instructional coach for the Quantico Program for Instructional Effectiveness, Nora proves that every day is an educational event of high energy and effective communication for all of her students. Her enthusiasm is contagious and the respect she shows to all her students is one tool she uses to move them through multiple perspectives of Social Studies curricula."


2006 winner, Debra BryantDebra Bryant
North Carolina District

Debra Bryant teaches physical education at Lejeune High School, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Her B.S. in Health, Physical Education and Recreation was awarded to her from Jamestown College, North Dakota, and her M.A. in Exercise Sports Science from East Carolina University. She states, "Every child is unique and should have the opportunity to learn, to grow, to experiment, to be successful, to have fun and to be creative in a safe environment. I believe that the integration of physical education across the curriculum can complement other academic areas by helping kinesthetic learners participate more fully in the classroom." Her assistant principal writes, "She is an interesting and motivating teacher who sets the tone for her students to excel in learning. She strives to challenge them and incorporate real-life, authentic lessons daily."


2006 winner, Steven LaSalleSteven LaSalle
Puerto Rico District/Cuba

Steven LaSalle teaches seventh and eighth grade Mathematics/Algebra at Antilles Middle School, Ft. Buchanan, Puerto Rico. He received his B.B.A. in Finance from Baruch College, Master of Science in Mathematics Education from Brooklyn College and certification in Integrating Technology and Education in the Classroom (ITEC) from the University of San Diego. In his application Steven writes, "My teaching philosophy is based on three things: showing how mathematics is used in the real world, providing a safe learning environment for all, and teaching students to be problem solvers. My teaching philosophy is designed to share my love of knowledge with students in a non-threatening environment." A fellow teacher writes, "Although he expects students to give their best, he has this unique ability to accommodate the needs of mixed-ability groups. He constantly assesses and uses a variety of strategies to meet the individual needs of his students. Mr. LaSalle promotes student inquiries and facilitates self-discovery."


European Area District

2006 winner, Athanasia LionikisAthanasia Lionikis
Kaiserslautern District

Athanasia Lionikis teaches Family and Consumer Science, Social Studies, Health, and Reading at Kaiserslautern American Middle School in Kaiserslautern, Germany. She received her B.S. in Home Economics from Western Michigan University, and Master of Science in Home Economics from the University of Southern Mississippi. Athanasia believes, "For learning to be meaningful, it must also be connected to daily living or with something with which the child is familiar. Our art is to match our teaching style and approach to the individual nature and needs of all our students." A colleague states, "Athy, an advocate of Middle Level Education, was an instructor for the DoDDS sponsored Middle School Academy. Her commitment to middle school education continues, as she is an active participant in both the European League of Middle Level Educators and the National Middle School Association, where she is recognized for her leadership, enthusiasm and expertise."


2006 winner, Shawn RodmanShawn Rodman
Bavaria District

Shawn Rodman teaches Special Education at Hohenfels Middle/High School in Hohenfels, Germany. He received his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Utah, and his Masters in Special Education from Utah State University. Shawn believes that education is a two way street."Mutual respect is a necessity in the classroom and a must for the overall school environment. When students and/or teachers stop learning from each other, schools stop moving forward." His principal states, "The assistance he provides students in the regular education classroom is seamless; both special education and non-special education students readily seek his help and teachers benefit from the questions he asks and the instruction he models."


2006 winner, Rick BurchamRick Burcham
Heidelberg District

Rick Burcham currently teaches sixth grade math and science at Heidelberg Middle School, Heidelberg, Germany. He received his B.S. and Master of Education in Special Education from Memphis State University and his Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Tennessee State University. Rick believes, "To maximize our ability to help students, we must feel at ease with our personal feelings and beliefs about teaching. Your role, the students' roles, and your involvement with school improvement illuminate your beliefs about teaching." A counselor at his school says, "Rick builds rigor, challenge and meaning into his curriculum; these few techniques shared here are just some of his many magical techniques that capture the imagination of his students as they apply themselves to the rigor."


2006 winner, Alberta ClemmerAlberta Clemmer
Isles District

Alberta Clemmer currently teaches English and Humanities at A.T. Mahan High School, in Keflavik, Iceland. She received her B.A. in English and Humanities from the University of Northern Colorado, and is working toward an M.S. Ph. D. at Portland State University, West Coast University Institute of Global Education. Alberta says, "Teaching is a balancing act, and the paradox is that while it is theater, it must also be complete authenticity. I believe that everyone has something to teach, and that the teacher must be willing to step aside so that the students can find their voice and own the learning process." Her principal believes Alberta's philosophy, as communicated in her course syllabi, says it best. "The classroom should be a climate of challenge, reciprocity of respect and tolerance of differences; it should be a safe place where students can question, share and be individuals."


Pacific Area District

2006 winner, William F. WilderWilliam F. Wilder
Korea District

Bill Wilder teaches Chemistry and Physics at Pusan American School, Pusan, Korea. He earned his B.S. in Biology/Chemistry at Villanova University and Masters in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. He believes that, "All students want to be successful as learners. The teacher is the facilitator who uses his or her skill as an artist of learning to make it possible for the students' wishes to come true." A former student with prior science anxieties writes of her teacher, "Mr. Wilder's classes are among the most well-taught classes I've had the privilege to experience. He can create a comfortable learning environment, fill it with confident students, and teach any material down to the marrow without it ever becoming tiring. Because of Mr. Wilder I am looking into serving my country in the Navy as a nuclear reactor operator. I never would have even considered science in my future if not for him."


2006 winner, Louise ThompsonLouise Thompson
Okinawa District

Louise Thompson teaches in the Sure Start Program at Zukeran Elementary School in Okinawa, Japan. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Frostburg State College and certification in Early Childhood Education from Towson State University. Louise believes, "Teachers have a huge impact on the lives of all of their students. Their actions and words have a lifelong influence on a child, which, in turn, influences entire generations. We are catalysts influencing life choices, and providing ongoing opportunities to our students'by working with children, we shape the future of our nation." A colleague writes of her, "Louise Thompson is the model teacher for a demanding program that focuses on offering a better start for children and their parents. Louise exhibits an extraordinary amount of energy and organizational skills, coupled with unswerving devotion in making this valuable program a success."


2006 winner, Jizela Dutka-ChirichettiJizela Dutka-Chirichetti
Guam District

Jizela Dutka-Chirichetti teaches Japanese Language and Culture at Guam High School, Guam. She received her B.A. from the University of Guam and her Masters of Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. Jizela states, "I believe that everyone must be educated in the knowledge of sciences, humanities, and languages, but everyone also needs to receive an education that will teach altruism and guide each person to become a compassionate, caring, ethical citizen of the world. Teaching is a way of life that connects two important activities: learning and sharing." The Chief of Education from her district states, "Jizela is a highly motivated and enthusiastic teacher with a visionary spirit that views Foreign Language as a global opportunity for students which goes beyond the classroom setting."


2006 winner, Paul BrennanPaul Brennan
Japan District

Paul Brennan teaches Social Studies and Journalism at E.J. King High School in Sasebo, Japan. He received his B.A. from Butler University and Post-Baccalaureate Teaching Accreditation from Arizona Teacher's Institute. He believes, "The most important aspect of the teaching profession is to foster in our students successful strategies to construct deep and personal knowledge of our subjects. Students must be taught to hone their research and inquiry skills, effective techniques in communication, proper utilization of technology, and beneficial collaborative proficiencies." His principal says of Paul, "Students learn about social studies and how social studies fit into our daily lives. As a result, they develop a sense of civic responsibility and pride and of self. Paul understands students and more importantly helps them to understand themselves and their role in society."