DODEA Okinawa welcomes new Bechtel Elementary and Lester Middle School principals

DODEA Okinawa welcomes new Bechtel Elementary and Lester Middle School principals

by DODEA Okinawa District

Lester Middle School

OKINAWA, Japan — Department of Defense Education Activity Okinawa District Superintendent Michael Thompson is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Susan Paul as the new Lester Middle School Principal beginning in August 2014.

A Florida native, Susan graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Library Science degree. She earned her Ed.D from Argosy University in 2010. She began her teaching career in 1986 at Cocoa Beach High School in Florida. Her first assignment in DoDEA was Sigonella, Italy in 1988 where she was the Information Media Specialist and coached the girls’ volleyball and track teams.

In 1992, Susan moved with her active duty military spouse to Okinawa and worked at the DoDEA Pacific Area Office as an Instructional Systems Specialist. She continued to advance her education, while making numerous moves with her Marine Corps spouse to California, Virginia and Missouri. When her husband deployed to Iraq, she returned to DoDEA. Since then, Susan’s assignments have taken her to Kadena Middle School in Okinawa, Joan K. Mendel in Yokota, and back to Okinawa at Amelia Earhart Intermediate School, Zukeran Elementary School and Kadena High School.

Susan has worked as an elementary school and middle school classroom teacher and served as a Library/Media Specialist in elementary, middle and high school. Most recently, she served as Assistant Principal at Kadena High School where she focused on improving the educational environment by supporting the needs of students, educators and families serving in the military community.

Susan’s 23 years as a military wife and her 28 years of educational experience provide an awareness of the needs of the military family and the military child, reinforcing her passion that all students deserve exceptional learning experiences. She believes in providing lifelong learning opportunities that go beyond the classroom. Susan embraces change while continuing to focus on ensuring the learning environment is a positive experience for students. Two of her three children have graduated from DoDEA schools and currently attend college. One is a senior at Kadena High School.

Susan is a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum (ASCD).

Bechtel Elementary School

OKINAWA, Japan — Department of Defense Education Activity Okinawa District Superintendent Michael Thompson is pleased to announce the selection of Mr. Scott Tefft as the new Bechtel Elementary School Principal beginning in August 2014.

Scott is thrilled to have the privilege of being the next principal at Bechtel Elementary School. His career in education began in 1993. He taught elementary school and coached elementary athletics for eight years, and has served as an administrator for the last 13 years. The coming school year will be his 10th year as an elementary school principal.

In 2010, Scott was named Madera County, California Principal of the Year and the Association of California School Administrators Principal of the Year. He loved being a military child and enjoyed the adventures that came with it. His father was a pilot for most of his military career and retired after 24 years of faithful service. Scott understands the unique challenges of military life – the uncertainty, the constant change, transitions, and so much more.

Scott comes to Okinawa from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he served as a DoDEA principal after leaving California. He felt there was no higher calling in education than to serve the families that sacrificially serve us each day and secure our freedoms. “I feel like the luckiest guy alive each day I step foot on a DoDEA campus,” he said.

Scott is extremely excited about the days ahead at Bechtel Elementary School. “We have a wonderful opportunity before us at Bechtel to set a positive tone for the school year, to perpetuate meaningful traditions, to create a supportive, effective, nurturing environment, to maximize each child’s potential, and so much more,” he said. “In the least, my hope is to serve teachers and staff with an incredible amount of enthusiasm, sweat, and tears, if needed; and I plan on loving kids and their parents with all my heart. I have an open door policy, I will be visible and accessible regularly, I will engage in positive, clear, proactive
communication, and I am looking forward to working with Team Bechtel to ensure it remains a very special place for students, parents, and staff. What a gift and blessing it is for me to serve the remarkable staff and families of Bechtel!”

Scott is married to his wife of 27 years and has three teenaged children. He thoroughly enjoys spending time with his family, surfing, running 5K races, reading a good book, and hacking his way through a round of golf.

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