Story and photo by Greg Mitchell, FLEACT, Yokosuka, Public Affairs
Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Pacific Director, Dr. Linda L. Curtis, recently conducted a DoDEA Town Hall Meeting at the Nile C. Kinnick High School Little Theater, to address questions and concerns from parents with children in each facility, Feb. 3.
As the Director of DoDEA Pacific, Dr. Curtis is responsible for a $375million annual budget and 50 schools located in Guam, Japan, Okinawa, and the Republic of Korea. DoDEA Pacific is composed of more than 23,500 students and a cadre of 3,400 professional educators and support staff committed to providing an exemplary education to military-connected children.
“I am new to the position and I started in September ,” said Dr. Curtis. “I came out tonight to talk to parents and to employees to see how things were going and to stress that our mission is to educate our children. So far, I have visited the three schools [Byrd Elementary, Yokosuka Middle and Kinnick] and I am going to Ikego [Elementary] tomorrow. I am looking forward to that.”
Issues brought to Curtis’ attention by parents in attendance ranged from complications with transferring from one school to another, to the placement of students in specific classes to; the distribution of important information from the school.
Some parents also asked to add a language arts area of study to the categories of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program.
In the wake of recent sequestration and budget cuts, also discussed were the use of transportation to and from school and activities, safety on school campus grounds, middle school sports programs and the reductions of various extra-curricular activities such as sports and the band.
“It needs to be known that we are not eliminating anything; we’re just looking at efficiencies and reducing it,” said Curtis. “Our mission here is to educate our students. If they are not in school, it’s hard to educate them. When someone is playing a tremendous amount of games, not only are the kids that play are affected but also the coach who is also out of the school.”
Dr. Curtis urged those in attendance to voice their concerns by using the proper channels starting with the teachers, counselors and principals of each respective campus, and ensured that all parents’ questions and suggestions will be taken into consideration.
For more information about Dr. Curtis and the mission of DoDEA, please visit the website: http://www.dodea.edu/