Gates Welcomes DoD Teachers of Year to Pentagon
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2008 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates welcomed 15 Department of Defense Education Activity district teachers of the year to the Pentagon today.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates addresses a group of top rated teachers from within the Department of Defense Education Activity in his Pentagon office on Nov. 6, 2008. Each of these teachers was selected as "Teacher of the Year" from their respective school district. DoD photo by R. D. Ward
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“What you do is especially important,” Gates told them after posing for photos with the group. “In addition to being good teachers, you are a source of stability for our military [children].
“The environment that you create for children whose lives are disrupted by their parents’ deployment is really terribly important,” he added.
The group included Dorothy Goff Goulet, DoDEA’s 2009 Teacher of Year, and a 13-year teaching veteran from Louisiana. She said she agrees that DoDEA teachers face a unique situation.
“Military children have special issues, [and] we have to be very sensitive to that,” she said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a student with a parent, or two parents, that are deployed for several months. So, we approach every day with a great amount of sensitivity and a great amount of respect for what they have to go through.”
While being chosen as the Teacher of the Year was thrilling, she said, it’s also humbling.
“It’s an honor, and I’m humbled, really, to represent my colleagues and my students and my school and all the people through the years that have affected me and my decisions and my teachings,” Goulet said. “We’re the sum of our mentors.”
An Air Force spouse, Goulet teaches U.S. history and French at Kaiserslautern Middle School in Kaiserslautern, Germany. She’s taught in DoDEA schools for eight years, including teaching the same two subjects at DoDEA’s Guam High School in Asan, Guam.
Her husband, Air Force Lt. Col. Wayne Goulet, is stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Charles Toth, DoDEA’s assistant associate director, said he’s proud of the activity’s teachers.
“I can’t think of a more noble profession for a person to pursue than that of being a teacher of America’s children,” he said. “Being affiliated with the Department of Defense as an educator magnifies that purpose twofold.”
DoDEA educators not only must be committed to providing military children with a world-class education, but also must pledge to meet all their needs -- social, behavioral or emotional.
“DoD’s teachers do an exceptional job of educating America’s youth,” he said. “I hold what these folks do in very high esteem.”
DoDEA’s “Teacher of the Year” program recognizes and promotes excellence in education. Teachers may be nominated by a peer, administrator, parent, student of community member. The nominees must complete an application packet and submit it to a selection panel at a DoDEA district office, where one applicant is chosen as “District Teacher of the Year.” Those selectees are then considered by a second panel at DoDEA headquarters, which selects the DoDEA Teacher of the Year.
As 2009 DoDEA Teacher of the Year, Goulet will compete for the title of National Teacher of the Year.