Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe districts have named their top teachers for the year.

Each of the five DODDS-Europe districts selects its teacher of the year and then those teachers vie to become DODDS-Europe’s teacher of the year, said Harvey Gerry, chief of education for DODDS-Europe. That award is usually announced in October.

"The districts are really kind of the main entity for us, so we celebrate (each of) the districts’ teachers of the year. It really has gained a fair amount of stature within the past 10 years," Gerry said.

In Germany, the teachers of the year are: Gretchen Wall, a preschool teacher for disabled children at Vilseck Elementary in the Bavaria District; Cleo Strazdas, a gifted-education and enrichment-education teacher at Wetzel Elementary School in Baumholder, Kaiserslautern District; and Susan Morris, who teachers seventh- and eighth-grade world geography and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) at Boeblingen Elementary School near Stuttgart, Heidelberg District.

Rounding out the Europe selectees are: Suzanne Sperl, an art teacher at Livorno (Italy) Unit School in the Mediterranean District and Margaret Bruce, who teaches family consumer science for grades six through eight at Lakenheath (England) Middle School, Isles District.

The current teacher of the year for DODDS-Europe is Dorothy Goulet, a French and U.S. history teacher at Kaiserslautern Middle School. She was later named DODEA’s 2009 teacher of the year.

Europe’s teacher of the year not only gains the recognition that comes along with the honor, but is also viewed as a valued resource, Gerry said.

Teachers of the year often are asked to serve on task forces for various education issues, consulted for advice by their district and DODDS-Europe officials or come up with their own creative ideas, he added.

"Dorothy Goulet, she has done some really good things," said Frank O’Gara, DODEA’s chief of communications. "She started a program called Teacher To Teacher where teachers share information, like teaching techniques and ideas."

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