SEOUL — A career educator who has worked at schools for U.S. military dependents in Bahrain, Germany, England and Japan will be the principal of Casey Elementary School in South Korea when it opens in August for the 2010-11 school year.

Shelly M. Kennedy — who now works as assistant principal of Nile C. Kinnick High School in Yokosuka, Japan — will be responsible for staffing, outfitting and finalizing preparations for the new pre-K-8 school at Camp Casey in Dongducheon.

Casey Elementary will be the first Department of Defense Education Activity school in Area I, the northernmost section of South Korea. It is expected to open with about 230 students. DODEA officials said another wing of the school is scheduled to open in the summer of 2011, bringing the capacity up to 600.

“I’m just really looking forward to getting there as soon as I can and working with the community,” Kennedy said in a DODEA news release.

DODEA Korea Superintendent Irby Miller said Kennedy was the best choice to run the new school because of “her leadership style, dedication to student academic achievement and impressive focus on continuous school improvement,” according to the release.

Kennedy, who joined DODEA in 2001, became the assistant principal at Kinnick High in 2006.

Casey Elementary is opening as part of the response to U.S. Forces Korea’s plan to increase the number of command-sponsored slots here. There are about 28,500 U.S. troops based in South Korea, and officials say as many as half the troops may eventually be allowed to bring their families.

There are about 4,300 students attending nine DODEA schools in South Korea. Officials have projected that as many as 20,000 students could be going to as many as 22 DODEA schools on the peninsula by 2020.

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