Department of Defense Education Activity educators and staff held an energized back-to-school rally for teachers at Kessler Elementary School, July 29, on Fort Stewart.

Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Garrison Commander, Col. Bryan Logan, the 3rd Infantry Division rock band, color guard and ascot, Rocky, joined educators from Diamond, Murray and Kessler elementary to celebrate the upcoming school year.

The band opened the event with lively music, which stoked the room's energy and enthusiasm, with songs including Born to be Wild, Walking on Sunshine and Beat it, among others.

Amidst the music Logan and Rocky took the stage to say thanks to returning teachers, and good luck to new DoDEA staff members.
"You are the front-line in the war against ignorance," Logan said. Adding, without teachers, there would be no doctors, lawyers and other professionals. He said a good education opens the gateway for people to purse their dreams.

He encouraged educators to continue their quest for excellence; to challenge themselves and never stop pushing others to learn; and to face each day with a smile.

DoDEA's South Carolina/Fort Stewart community superintendent, Kathleen Reiss, was also on-hand to congratulate the district for an outstanding previous year and to wish the educators and staff, another great year.

"I'm very excited to see the start of a new school year," Reiss said before the event kicked off. "I always look forward to everyone coming back from the break."

She said last year, district schools exceeded many national standards including the AdvancED Index of Education Quality, with the national average being around 280 and the local district rating 355.

Reiss applauded the efforts of students and educators, specifically in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades and Algebra classes, whose score ranged between six and eight points higher than the national average.
She said the 2018 progress was excellent and looked forward to educators building on to those advancements.

Reiss also noted she only had the opportunity to see the start of the school year, noting she planned on retiring in August. She said in her 44 years of service, she has never missed a school-opening.

Reiss said she appreciated the support of the parents and hoped they would continue to be involved with their children's learning and volunteering at the schools.

Contact the installation school liaison office, 767-6533, or visit online at https://home.army.mil/stewart/index.php/my-fort/newcomers-1/school for local school information.