DoDEA Announces 2018 Elementary and Secondary Principals of the Year

DoDEA Announces 2018 Elementary and Secondary Principals of the Year

by Jade Fulce

ALEXANDRIA, VA — April 16, 2018 — The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) proudly announces that Ms. Penelope Miller-Smith, the Kaiserslautern Elementary School principal in Germany, as the 2018 DoDEA Elementary Principal of the Year and Dr. Thomas Whittle, Antilles High School principal in Puerto Rico, as the 2018 DoDEA Secondary Principal of the Year.

DoDEA’s Director, Thomas Brady praised Ms. Miller-Smith and Dr. Whittle for their steady commitment to student achievement for military-connected children and enhancing leadership capacity in others.

“Ms. Miller-Smith is passionate about inspiring and motivating others to make a difference in the lives of her students and her staff,” said Mr. Brady. “She is a dedicated educator who listens and supports all stakeholders and is visible in classrooms and the community. She ensures everyone feels welcome at the school. Ms. Miller-Smith also personally understands the challenges faced by military families living over-seas as a military wife. She has experienced multiple deployments and prolonged periods of separation from her husband and can relate to the military families she serves.”

Ms. Miller-Smith has over eight years of classroom teaching experience and seventeen years of experience as an administrator. She received a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and post-graduate degrees in Elementary Education, Special Education and English as a Second Language from California State University, Long Beach. In 2000, she returned to the university and earned two Master's degree in Educational Leadership and Evaluation Measurement and Research along with post-graduate certification in Special Education Administration from Western Michigan University. She is currently completing an Educational Specialist degree leading to a doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Mr. Brady went on to recognize Dr. Whittle, a lifelong learner. “Dr. Whittle’s commitment to engaging and meeting students, parents, and staff where they are helps increase engagement with the school by using collaborative and interactive tools,” said Mr. Brady. “He has redesigned Antilles High School program of studies to make it easier for individuals to understand and has increased academic achievement. Dr. Whittle also focuses on giving individuals opportunities to lead by example to build leadership capacity.”

Prior to entering education field, Dr. Whittle served in the U.S. Army and retired with more than 26 years as sergeant major. Dr. Whittle earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and Management from the University of Maryland and a Master's Degree in Education and a certification in Administration and Supervision from Virginia State University. He also has a Master's Degree in Divinity from Virginia Union University and a Doctorate in Education and Administration from Virginia State. The DoDEA Principal of the Year Programs recognizes outstanding school principals, who have succeeded in leading high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession. Each Region Elementary and Secondary Principal of the Year is selected by a regional panel using specified criteria to review Region Principal of the Year applications. Five principals were named either Region Elementary or Secondary Principal of the Year for 2018. Each Region Principal of the Year is invited to apply for the DoDEA Principal of the Year programs.

Along with the public recognition and the award, Ms. Miller-Smith will compete in the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ National Distinguished Principal of the Year Program, which is designed to recognize excellence among both elementary and middle school principals. Dr. Whittle will compete in the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ National Principal of the Year program, which recognizes outstanding middle level and high school principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.

A complete listing of this year’s recipients is listed on the next page. Additional information about DoDEA’s Principals of the Year Program, may be found on our web site.

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-aged children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, Western Asia, the Middle East, Cuba, the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Educational Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.

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