DoDEA Celebrates 70th Anniversary

DoDEA Celebrates 70th Anniversary

by DoDEA

ALEXANDRIA, VA — September 1, 2016 — The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) celebrates its 70th anniversary of our overseas operation during the 2016-2017 School Year, continuing the tradition of excellence in education that began on October 14, 1946.

Shortly after the end of World War II and the arrival of military families overseas, schools for the children of American service members opened at 43 locations in Germany, Austria and Japan with 116 teachers and 1,297 students. From these humble beginnings with classrooms sometimes in Quonset huts or factory buildings, the Dependents School Service grew into an organization supporting an estimated 160,000 students in 300 schools around the world.

Dr. Beth Stephens, former director for one of DoDEA’s predecessor agencies in the mid-80s, once said, “At no time in history has any other nation educated 150,000 of its children in 20 countries around the world and made it possible for them to understand and experience the culture of their host nations while maintaining their identity with and patriotism for their own country.”

As the Cold War came to a close, U.S. military forces abroad began to draw down as did the schools and communities supporting families stationed overseas and all the schools serving military-connected students, in the U.S. and abroad, came under the umbrella of a new parent agency, DoDEA, in 1992.

Today’s DoDEA operates 168 schools in eight districts across 11 countries, seven U.S. states and two U.S. territories for more than 73,000 students. Our current footprint is configured to provide 21st-century instructional facilities and a world class education in the areas where our country’s service members and their families are located and we maintain the organizational flexibility required to adapt to the evolving needs of the military services we support.

Although the logos and organizational names have changed over the years, DoDEA's core mission remains the same: To educate, engage and empower each student to succeed in a dynamic world. The DoDEA vision, to be among the world’s leaders in education, enriching the lives of military connected students and the communities in which they live, remains constant.

Current Director Tom Brady, all of whose children have attended DoDEA schools, remarked on the seventh decade of military-connected schools. “I am honored to be part of this organization – a model college and career ready school system that serves the children of those who serve our great Nation. Students are the heart of everything we do in DoDEA and I am so proud of the dedicated educators and staff on our team that strive each day to build upon the legacy of excellence and commitment established so long ago.”

Throughout School Year 2016-2017, DoDEA will feature videos, a timeline, and other products celebrating its 70-year history and tradition. Look for these products on the main DoDEA homepage,, and on local DoDEA district and school web pages.

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-age children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to 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 Agencies throughout the United States that serve children of military families.

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