FORT BRAGG, N.C. - In February, members of the Fort Bragg school board will recognize a veteran teacher at Murray Elementary School who was named 2011 Teacher of the Year for the North Carolina District of the Department of Defense Education Activity.

"I was one of 14 teachers selected along with 13 other teachers from around the world," said Deborah Hudson Bailey, who teaches third graders at Murray.

There are 17 schools in the DODEA's North Carolina District. The overall 2011 DODEA TOY was Angelica L. Jordan, who teaches in the system's Heidelberg District.

Bailey was nominated in spring 2010, and after her selection, she was joined by the other honorees at the Pentagon to be recognized during a series of programs in December, which included meetings with Army Secretary John McHugh and a tour of the Pentagon, she said.
At the Pentagon, Bailey said she enjoyed meeting other top educators and sharing ideas and experiences with them.

The most memorable part of her visit was a tour of the world's largest office building, which was hit in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, she said.

"The woman taking us around told us that she was eight-and-a-half months pregnant the day of the attack and she had many friends who were killed," she said. "We were all crying."
Bailey said working with military Families is an honor for her, and her own relatives who have served in uniform.

"I especially love teaching in a DoDEA school. I feel like by doing so I'm honoring the service of my father-in-law, my uncles, my nephew and my son-in-law. I'm also honoring the service of the parents of the children in my classrooms," she said.

Bailey said, "I love my job. I've always wanted to be a teacher and I can't imagine doing anything else."

She said she especially appreciates the opportunity to teach third graders, which allows for more one-to-one attention to the students than her experience teaching seventh graders.
When she taught seventh grade, there were more students and they had an "A-B" schedule that put the students in different classes on different days, she said.

"I have the third graders all day, every day," Bailey said. "They really charge me up. They are so eager to learn and open to new ideas."

No matter the grade or age, Bailey said she is grateful for the chance to help children prepare for life. "I just love them all."

Page last updated Fri January 28th, 2011 at 14:48