Campus News Society & Culture

UGA alumna Susan Morris named DoDEA’s 2010 Teacher of Year

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia education alumna Susan Morris has been recognized as the United States Department of Defense Education Activity’s Teacher of the Year for 2010.

Morris (B.S.Ed. ’90; M.Ed. ’93) teaches social studies and Advancement via Individual Determination to 7th and 8th grade students at Boeblingen Elementary and Middle School in the Heidelberg District of Germany.

DoDEA is a branch of the Department of Defense that provides the educational needs of military children both overseas and in the United States.

“The hardest part of military family life is relating to what our families are going through,” said Morris.”As teachers we have to closely review student behaviors for both abrupt and gradual changes that are related to transitions and deployments.For example, when children are disconnecting, withdrawing or acting out in class it’s often a result of their home life; they’re coping with the separation or reintegration of a parent.”

Prior to her work with the DoDEA, Morris taught social studies and reading for four years at F.B. Leon Gurrero Middle School in the U.S. territory of Guam.She then moved to the Mediterranean island of Malta to teach English and social studies at Verdala International School.

Morris has been a DoDEA teacher for seven years.She began teaching at Kaiserlautern High School when she and her husband, a retired member of the Air Force, were stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz.After their tour ended, they were re-assigned to Stuttgart, Germany, where she taught at Patch American High School.Four years ago, she began teaching at Boeblingen Elementary and Middle School.

“Being a constant in the lives of our military children is the greatest job in education,” said Morris.”DoDEA teachers are able to assist students and their families with their transitional needs and provide a positive, world-class educational experience.I love being a DoDEA teacher and taking care of America’s heroes’ most precious possession-their kids!”

Morris received a bachelor’s in education with a concentration in history, geography, Asian studies and political science and her master’s in education with a concentration in curriculum development and Asian studies.

“The most important thing that I learned at Georgia was taking advantage of opportunities,” said Morris.”From my high school days I knew I wanted some sort of international career and UGA provided several openings to make this dream a reality.As a freshman I participated in the UGA at Oxford program and loved how history became dramatically alive while studying abroad.When I spoke with my advisor about teaching overseas he pointed me to the job fair where I received my first job in Guam.Georgia was tremendously responsive to my requests and I credit my success to UGA’s dedication to meeting the individual needs of its students.”

Morris, along with all of the nation’s Teachers of the Year from the 50 states, territories and DoDEA, were recognized by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony April 29.