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Family Matters Blog: DOD Schools Mark Successes

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2012 – The Department of Defense Education Activity’s schools have been on a roll lately with high achievement of both teachers and students. Now that the 2011-12 school year is behind them, students, teachers and parents have much to be proud of.

The latest recognition goes to math teacher Spencer Bean at Baumholder Middle-High School, Germany, who has been chosen to receive the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching here June 27. Read more here.

Bean is the kind of teacher parents hope their children will have in school: high-energy, innovative and focused on individual student success. The motivating force for Bean is that he loves his work.

In his 13 years of teaching, he said, “I’ve rarely ever missed a day of work; I just love it that much.”

Like many high-achieving students, Bean said, he had to be talked into teaching. He was a math major and, already married in college, wanted to earn a good living. He considered going into accounting or some other business area.

Bean had the good fortune of having a mentor who advised him to go into something he was passionate about, and a brother – an Air Force officer based in Germany – who told him that, for teachers, DODEA’s pay, benefits and opportunities for travel are hard to beat.

“With public schools, … it’s a tough thing to do to say you’re going to be a teacher,” Bean said. “You have to be really motivated. DODEA can definitely have the best and brightest because of what they offer financially.”

Defense Department schools have demonstrated success in many ways lately. In April, Angela Wilson, a 7th grade language arts teacher at Vicenza Middle School, Italy, represented DOD schools as one of four finalists in the annual National Teacher of the Year competition here.

In May, Anuk Dayaprema, a seventh-grade student at Vincenza Middle School, represented DOD and State Department schools at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and Dominik Muellerleile, an eighth-grade student at Wiesbaden Middle School, Germany, represented DOD and State Department schools in the 24th annual National Geographic Bee here.

In June, DODEA celebrated its first graduation – of three students – of its Virtual School, a high school that serves students through technology to get required courses they otherwise wouldn’t be able to take. And, graduation ceremonies were broadcast live for schools where there were high numbers of parents deployed. In Europe, the Services paid for the initiative.

There are many reasons to celebrate Defense Department schools. Bean is just the latest example of a school system that does so many things right.

“I’ve never regretted it,” Bean said of his decision to become a Defense Department teacher. “I’ve loved it ever since.” 

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Related Sites:
Family Matters Blog
Department of Defense Education Activity


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