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Melissa L. Klopfer

Melissa L. Klopfer ()

Melissa L. Klopfer

Melissa L. Klopfer ()

Douglas McEnery

Douglas McEnery ()

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — Aviano’s high school and elementary school principals have completed a rare feat by each earning recognition as two of the top educators in the Department of Defense Education Activity.

Melissa Klopfer, principal at Aviano Elementary School, was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Elementary Schools Principals. Doug McEnery, principal at Aviano High School, was feted by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Both had earned recognition as best in DODDS-Europe earlier this year.

“We are fortunate to have two wonderful educators in the same community,” said Thomas Ellinger, who is retiring from his post as superintendent of the Mediterranean District after 45 years with the Department of Defense Dependents Schools system.

Asked if he had ever heard of two principals from the same community being named the best for the system at the same time, Ellinger replied: “Not in my experience.”

Klopfer, who helped open the consolidated school three years ago, gave credit to the teachers, students and parents in the community.

“I think I’m the luckiest person in the world,” she said. “I get to do a job I love and get to serve my country at the same time.”

McEnery, who also spread the credit around, also helped students move into the new facility at Aviano. He’s been the high school principal since 1999.

He’ll be back at the school next year, but will have to do without the help of Susan Page, the school’s assistant principal. Page, who won DODEA honors for top assistant principal last year, will take over principal duties in Stuttgart, Germany, next year.

Nancy Maldonado, principal at Antilles Middle School in Puerto Rico, was named the system’s top middle school principal. McEnery and Klopfer will be honored with winners from each of the 50 states in separate events in Washington D.C. this fall.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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