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Terri Sobey, 5th grade teacher at Grafenwoehr Elementary, leads her new students through first-day introductions, Aug. 31, 2015. Military schools in Europe are hiring new community superintendents as part of restructuring intended to direct more staff and resources to the schools.

Terri Sobey, 5th grade teacher at Grafenwoehr Elementary, leads her new students through first-day introductions, Aug. 31, 2015. Military schools in Europe are hiring new community superintendents as part of restructuring intended to direct more staff and resources to the schools. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — New community superintendents are to help oversee the military’s schools in Europe as part of an upper management reorganization intended to improve student achievement, the Department of Defense Education Activity said Monday.

Eight community superintendents will be hired to assist the district superintendent while also overseeing schools, DODEA spokesman Will Griffin said.

The new positions were created under a DODEA restructuring plan announced last year that, in Europe, will shrink the number of districts from four to three, beginning with the 2016-17 school year. Instead of Bavaria, Kaiserslautern, Isles and the Mediterranean, DODEA schools in Europe will be grouped under Europe East, Europe West and Europe South.

Assistant superintendent positions at the district level will be eliminated, Griffin said. There will be more community superintendents dispersed geographically under the new system, he said. In Kaiserslautern, for example, there will be two community superintendents, since Kaiserslautern is the largest geographic area with the largest number of schools in Europe, Griffin said.

The community superintendents will provide guidance to staff on school activities and lead professional development among other duties.

The restructuring of staff positions above school-level comes as DODEA continues to roll out new College and Career Ready Standards, a set of curriculum guidelines based on the Common Core state standards for pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students.

The organizational changes “will support school operations across the spectrum, not just with college and career readiness implementation,” Griffin said, getting “resources down closer to school level.”

Other changes include moving specialists who support instruction from headquarters offices out to the school districts, Griffin said.

Four community superintendents have already been hired, DODEA Europe announced last week. Three of them are DODEA school principals in Europe.

Melissa Hayes, the principal at Aviano Elementary School, Italy, will be the community superintendent at Grafenwoehr. Walter Wilhoit, the principal of Rota Elementary School in Rota, Spain, has been selected as the Brussels community superintendent. The two Kaiserslautern community superintendents will be Josh Adams, the principal of Ramstein Middle School, and Jason Ter Horst, a former military linguist and electronic warfare signals analyst, who was a principal, executive director and assistant superintendent in Colorado Springs, Colo.

svan.jennifer@stripes.com

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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.
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