FEA members are unique: they are educators spanning three continents; come from many backgrounds; and work hard to educate the children of military families. Meet a few of our amazing members.
With over twenty years in DoDEA schools, Curtis White is a dedicated Education Support Professional (ESP) who fights for both his students and fellow ESPs.
Brian Morton, a DoDEA student-turned-educator, was inspired to teach by his DoDEA educator parents Karen and Alan:
“My parents taught me to have empathy for others and to find a life path that will help people grow. In high school, I realized that I wanted to be an educator and help diverse students grow and reach their full potential.
“I really connect with the students because, as a former DoDEA student, I can empathize with their situations. I work tirelessly to make education fun, applicable to the real world, and push my students toward taking ownership of their learning. I look at each student as a family member and take their growth seriously.”
Judy Lam has seen and done a lot during her 60 years in education, including the past 49 in DoDEA schools, but this summer the School Counselor at SHAPE American Elementary School in Belgium will try something new: retirement.
“Understanding the challenges military-connected students face, such as moving and parents being away, definitely informs and impacts my teaching style.”
Rachel Guilfoyle, a 5th grade teacher at Daegu Elementary School in South Korea, was recently named the 2022 DoDEA Teacher of the Year. Guilfoyle, who was a student in the DoDEA system herself, was recognized for her ability to create a welcoming and growth-focused learning environment.
She is also a FEA member and spoke with FEA staff about how a DoDEA teacher inspired her to become an educator, how her colleagues came together during the pandemic, advice for new educators, and more.
As a teacher of grades 3-5 at the smallest school in all of DoDEA, Eversman teaches multiple subjects to students of multiple ages in the same class. Rising to this daily challenge, she uses her years of teaching experience to craft engaging lessons for each student of her multi-age classes.
Educator and FEA member Jami LeFebre looks for any opportunity to make lessons more interactive and memorable for her students. Whether she has her students interview veterans or build bird feeders to observe nature, LeFebre is able to create engaging lessons that inspire a passion for learning.
“As a ‘Foot Solider’ of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March, I have always tried to use my voice to fight for others, whether pursuing better working conditions, the acceptance of cultural differences, mutual respect, or human and civil rights issues. Today, being retired from my life as an educator, I look back with pride on my years in the classroom and as a member of FEA.”
“I am a math teacher and head football/baseball coach at Matthew C. Perry High School in Japan and have been a FEA member for 17 years.
“My membership experience with FEA has been a good one and I am very appreciative of the work of FEA leadership. My local union representative was extremely helpful in resolving an issue with RAT travel expenses due to COVID-19 guidelines. They were able to help me navigate the process, which I could have never done on my own.
“I appreciate the support and security FEA provides to us as teachers in a federal program.”
“I am a Kindergarten Assistant at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and have worked with DODEA since October 1989. I find working with students very rewarding. Knowing that I can help educate young minds every day has inspired me to obtain my degree in Elementary Education to better serve students in the military community.
“My FEA membership experience has been exceptional. My association representatives are always willing to assist me when needed and have kept me well informed with issues concerning FEA, events, and benefits. I enjoy the newsletters and benefits updates as well.”
“During my career I taught kindergarten through grade 4 at DoDEA elementary schools in Germany and Fort Bragg. Being a member of FEA has been a great plus for me, during both my career and retirement. It’s an organization that cares for and supports its members whenever the need arises. I’ve always believed being a member gave me a voice in helping our teachers achieve what they do best: teach.
The association represents the interests of all DoDEA educators and has fought to protect their many benefits, such as Living Quarters Allowance (LQA), moving costs, RAT travel, the right for educators’ children to attend DoDDS schools, and more. I was able to attend more than 25 NEA Representative Assemblies where we made a positive impact on education. Being a lifetime member has and is a privilege for me: I still receive NEA member benefits, have my voice heard, and can connect with other retired members around the world.”
“Currently, I am the FRS for Stuttgart Elementary School. I am proud to say that I have been an FEA member for over 20 years.
“Being an FRS has helped strengthen my leadership qualities, increased my desire to serve, and my patience—but most of all, it has given me the push to be the voice and represent those who felt they were voiceless.
“I have seen and been a recipient of the benefits FEA offers. There were times where I saw defeat in teachers due to debt letters or dire work situations, and FEA proved to be a valuable asset by helping to resolve these issues. My experience with FEA is very positive, and I appreciate the work and effort they put in for their members.”
“FEA is our professional organization and the support they lend goes well beyond contract bargaining and grievance-filing! Having taught Secondary ELA for over 20 years in The Netherlands, I’ve seen FEA positively impact relationships not only between faculty and admin, but also among members. When this happens, students and their communities reap the benefits of that synergy! Those are great moments.”
The National Christmas Tree outside the White House has long been surrounded by smaller trees decorated with ornaments created by students from U.S. states and territories. Last December, DoDEA schools finally had their own tree, and its students, with the help of educators, were able to design ornaments celebrating the places around the world they call home.
On November 17, 2021, FEA celebrated Education Support Professionals Day to thank all of our amazing ESPs, who work hard to ensure the children of military families receive great educations. ESPs at Camp Lejeune (left) and Fort Campbell (middle) came together to celebrate. Thank you!
“I recently retired from DoDEA. During my years and as an educator and FEA member, I received very good assistance from Kaiserslautern Middle School Faculty Representative on a variety of issues I faced. Before retiring I had to resolve a lingering issue I submitted to Global Inquiry with regards to my Pay Step being incorrect for several years. As soon as I contacted FEA with this issue, they took immediate action and helped get it resolved it in just a few days. It was a claim that could have taken some years, if ever, to resolve if I was dealing with DoDEA on my own. I am amazed by the support and commitment FEA provides to its members. The work done by FEA is highly appreciated.”
Retired FEA Member
Guam Education Association members collected 212 pairs of new & gently used shoes for the BEHEARTFELT organization’s shoe drive this week, helping children in need on Guam. GEA President Denise Sheedy says, “It was nice to be able to give back to our community.”
We are excited to congratulate Osan Elementary School (OES) in South Korea for achieving 100% FEA membership among its staff. Bill Elliot, the FRS at OES, notes that supportive, helpful, and communicative practices by him and other Osan educators have led to strong membership levels and a great union community:
“I try to stay organized and keep strong lines of communication open with the administration and staff. I also have two outstanding FR’s (Kim & Wanda) in the building and our TEAK (Teachers Education Association Korea) President, Sharon Manuel makes regular stops at our campus. The union members at OES are a cohesive group of professionals who support each other, so when new teachers arrive, they want to be a part of that! Also, when there is a problem, whether it be a disciplinary issue or a pay problem, TEAK/FEA are always there to help! This gives educators peace of mind and lets them know that their union dues are well worth the cost!”
Congratulations union leaders and members at Osan! It is great to hear about members being there for each other, especially during the continued difficult times of this pandemic.
FEA fights for the salary, benefits, and respect you deserve. Become a member today.