Daniele Massy, a 1995 Columbian High School graduate, has been awarded the Department of Defense Education Activity's Teacher of the Year.
Massey is an Algebra I teacher at Vilseck High School in Vilseck, Germany. She has been residing in Germany for the past six years with her husband, Major Adrian Massey of the U.S. Army.
Massey also has received the Bavaria District Teacher of the Year award, also in Germany.
Prior to moving, she taught at Fayetteville Technical Community College in Fayetteville, N.C. She also taught at Ypsilanti High School in Michigan.
She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University, where she earned a bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education and Mathematics and continued her education at Central Missouri State University, earning a master of Science in College Student Personnel Administration.
Massey is the daughter of the late Dennis Distel and the step-daughter of Carol (Huss) Distel of Tiffin. Her mother and stepfather are Martha and John Elchert, who live in Farmington, N.M.
Massey has been teaching for 10 years.
"I love all of it. Every day I get a chance to connect with a student, a colleague and parents. It is an amazing journey to experience each day," Massey said.
Massey said she believes in developing and fostering personal connections with students, parents and community members to help students achieve success.
In her classroom, Massey implements a student-centered environment where students use multiple resources, including the Internet, videos and reading to enhance understanding of mathematics.
"I want students to take ownership of their learning," Massey said. "I do not like it when a child gives up on themselves."
Outside of school, Massey dedicates time to volunteering in the community through various events and clubs. Massey and her husband have two daughters, Anaya and Amira, and live in Amberg, Bayern, Germany.
How does she feel about winning such prestigious award?
"Overwhelmed, joyful and honored. I work with such awesome colleagues, students and parents. To go from standing next to them during a welcome-home ceremony, to hugging people during memorials, to interacting with them in my classroom has been a great experience to share with everybody. I couldn't have done it without the support of them, friends and, of course, my family," Massey said.
Massey said she plans to apply to be national teacher of the year, a competition that would put her up against 53 other applicants
from each of the U.S. states and territories.