The Defense Department’s schools on Guam are starting the school year under new leadership, reporting to Okinawa instead of Peachtree, Ga.

The schools now fall under the administration of Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Pacific and DODDS-Pacific Director Nancy C. Bresell, said Jeff Martin, DODDS-Pacific chief of staff.

The transfer was effective July 1.

“There’s really not any major changes whatsoever, except now Dr. Bresell will be the director,” Martin said.

The schools still will be part of Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS), which governs DOD schools in the United States and its territories, but in name only, Martin said.

DODDS is the overseas branch of Department of Defense Education Activity, the umbrella organization overseeing military schools in the United States and overseas.

Geography played a part in the administrative transfer: It makes more sense for DODDS-Pacific officials to support Guam’s military schools than DDDES headquarters in Peachtree, Ga., Martin said. Teachers and administrators from Guam will fly to Tokyo for in-service training and business meetings rather than to the East Coast, which should be a significant cost savings, Martin said.

Military officials at Pacific Command headquarters also supported the move, Martin said.

“We’ve had this in the works for a while,” he said. “PACOM was supportive of keeping the schools like the command is. Now, if there are any school issues, whether it be Guam, Korea, Okinawa or Japan, they have one person to deal with.”

Gail Lucas, director of technology, math and science and public relations for DODEA Guam district, said last week that the transition will be seamless to teachers and students.

“We’ve always followed the DODDS-Pacific curriculum and we’ve always participated in the Far East events, both sports and academics,” she said. “It just makes more sense to be run from an area office that is in our area.”

Administrative functions DODDS-Pacific will pick up are mostly on the business side of the house, Lucas said, including logistics, transportation and the budget.

One change that may follow the organizational transfer — at some point — is a different school calendar. Guam’s students reported back to school Aug. 9.

“We’ve aligned our calendar to the local schools on Guam,” Lucas said. “Now that we’re part of DODDS-Pacific, we may be looking at changes so we start the same time as other schools.”

The first day of school for DODDS-Pacific is Aug. 30.

Guam’s military schools are Guam High School on Nemitz Hill; a K-5 and a middle school for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders on Andersen Air Force Base; and a K-8 school under construction on Commander, Naval Forces Marianas.

Guam DOD schools have a new superintendent, Michael Diekmann, who came to Guam from Fort Campbell, Ky., where he also was superintendent of schools. Diekmann was superintendent of DODDS Japan-area schools from 1999 to 2002.

author picture
Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now