Striving for excellence
Daniele Massey, a math teacher at Vilseck High School in Vilseck, Germany, was recently named 2013 DoDEA Teacher of the Year for her innovative efforts in the field of mathematical education.

VILSECK, Germany -- Six years ago military spouse Daniele Massey was hired as a substitute teacher at Vilseck High School. Today, she's changing the face of education.

"It's not just about us anymore, education is global," said Massey, who has been a full-time math teacher at the school for the past four years. "The need for our students to adequately compete in this new global economy has shifted the way they learn and the way we teach."

Massey was recently named the 2013 DoDEA Teacher of the Year for her innovative efforts in the field of mathematical education.

For the past two years, Massey has teamed with fellow algebra teacher Ryan Goodfellow to institute a flipped mastery classroom -- a relatively new way to educate, which "flips" the lesson plans. On their own time, students watch videos of their teacher explaining each lesson, leaving classroom time open for tutoring, one-on-one guidance and peer group exercises.

This progressive method of teaching has not only raised math scores, but also created individual learners and problem solvers, according to Massey.

"My students now find new ways to be resourceful," she said with a proud grin. "Instead of coming to me saying they don't know how to solve a problem, they started to ask other people, they started looking it up, they started utilizing their resources."

In the first year of flipped mastery teaching, exam scores improved by nine percent and the number of failures decreased progressively each quarter. The statics continue to rise, as does Massey's notoriety.

This comes as no surprise to Principal Robert Nicholson.

"Any time I walk into a classroom and see how well the students are participating, it's amazing," said Nicholson. "When you look at the spectrum of schools in the States, they always struggle with math scores. (Massey's) scores show progressive growth and that is what we are looking for."

While the results are undeniable, Massey's personality is also a factor in her effectiveness as an educator. She has an infectious admiration for learning, and it shows.

"I love it. I just love it. I whole heartedly love it," she said about coming to work every day. "I honestly can't imagine doing anything else."

Massey has received numerous accolades in the past few years including the 2013 Bavaria District Teacher of the Year, the 2011 End-of-Year Award for Dedicated Service to the Athletic Program and the End-of-Year Principal's Award for Commitment to Continuous School Improvement for both 2009 and 2010, to name just a few.

Additionally, Massey is a contender for the 2013 National Teacher of the Year, where she will compete against 54 state and territory teachers of the year for the prestigious honor. The winner is expected to be announced in April of next year.

Page last updated Fri November 9th, 2012 at 05:02