The Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe recently named the top teachers for each of its five districts.

They will join with other worldwide winners at the 2005 Department of Defense Education Activity Teacher of the Year Forum later this month.

“Selection for this honor was based on the significant role that each of these educators has played in the lives of the students who have been in their classes,” said DODDS-Europe Director Diana Ohman. “(They are) outstanding educators who are a credit to their districts, DODDS Europe and the teaching profession.”

Irene Dugdale Lee of DODDS Pacific’s Seoul American High School in South Korea was named as the overall 2005 DODEA Teacher of the Year. Before moving to Seoul in 1983, Lee had taught elementary school in Stuttgart, Germany.

The DODDS Europe winners were:

Elizabeth Denise Click,Bavaria District

Click is a kindergarten teacher at Würzburg (Germany) Elementary School.

During her 15-year teaching career, she has taught a variety of subjects to students in kindergarten through eighth grade at schools in Misawa, Japan; Virginia; North Carolina; and, for the past two years, in Würzburg.

Keeping pupils active — both physically and mentally — helps kindergartners prepare to become good students, she said.

“They’re actively engaged in their activities — engaged in projects and different types of activities with lots of higher-level thinking skills,” she said. “This is how children learn best — hands on objects and engaged, rather than sitting and listening to the teacher.”

Click holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Radford University in Virginia, a master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Virginia, and an educational specialist degree in administration from East Carolina University.

She also served as the principal of Youngsville (N.C.) Elementary School, which was named an “exemplary school” during her tenure because of the increase in pupil test scores and the following year was named a “school of distinction.”

Karen Corey,Heidelberg District

Corey has taught for 14 years, most recently as a seventh-grade math teacher at Wiesbaden (Germany) Middle School.

She says that her hands-on approach, with pupils using computers or even modeling clay in the classroom, gives them a more practical understanding of math, and even makes learning fun.

“If you make it fun and get them hooked, then the rest comes easy,” she said.

For the past 13 years, Corey has taught kindergarten, first, third, sixth, seventh and eighth grades. She taught at the Domestic Dependent Elementary Secondary School in Fort Rucker, Ala., before coming to Wiesbaden three years ago.

Corey holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and secondary mathematics from the State University of New York at Fredonia and a master’s degree in special education from SUNY at Geneseo.

Sandra Ramon-Jenet,Kaiserslautern District

Ramon-Jenet teaches a special education class at Vogelweh (Germany) Elementary School. Her selection as district teacher of the year, she believes, comes not only from her work educating special-needs pupils, but that of educating everyone else about her pupils.

“I think the role I play is as an advocate for children with special needs,” she said, “teaching and advocating to people in the community about people with disabilities.”

Educating all young children about the disabilities, she said, makes it easier for adults to understand, and accept, special needs children.

“That’s the driving force: teaching children,” she said.

Through this understanding, all children find “they are more alike than they are different,” she said.

Ramon-Jenet has taught at Vogelweh since 1997 and has been a teacher for 15 years.

Nancy Woolson,Mediterranean District

Woolson teaches language arts, Advanced Placement English literature, honors world history/literature at Naples (Italy) High School. She has been a DODDS teacher for 15 years, almost all of them in Bahrain, and has been in Naples for two years.

Woolson has taught children from first grade through college, mainly in English, drama, writing skills, and advanced placement and honors classes.

“I think there’s something to be said about having a passion [to] go above and beyond,” she said.

Woolson said that to her, success in a school isn’t just measured by good student grades.

“It’s demonstrated in many ways, especially in caring for the needs of the students — not just the English student, but as the whole person,” she said.

She believes that caring for other teachers, too, makes the school a success.

“I like seeing teachers try new things and like to be there to support them,” Woolson said. “My greatest joy and passion is seeing others succeed and excel.”

Greg Holladay,Isles District

Holladay is a social studies teacher for eighth-graders at Alfred Thayer Mahan High School in Keflavik, Iceland.

“I consider it my job to make social studies a class the students want to come to,” he said. “I’m excited about being here and teaching. I make it a lot of fun in class and the students feed off that.”

While teaching his pupils about the U.S. Constitution, Holladay said that he has the students create their own school and write its constitution.

With this year’s presidential elections, he said, his pupils were better able to understand how the process works.

“Especially the part about the electoral college,” he said. “The kids were more interested in how it works.”

In addition to teaching, Holladay is active in the community youth athletic association and Cub Scouts.

Holladay has been a teacher for 13 years, the last four in Iceland.

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