The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence Instructor of the year, Sgt. Maj. Dietrek Louis (center) and NCOLCoE Educator of the Year, Dr. Barbara Yancy-Tooks stand at attention while Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers, the commandant of the NCOLCoE presents their awards, Dec. 6. | Photo by Danielle ODonnell
FORT BLISS, Texas—The results of the panel are in, the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence names both the educator and instructor of the year.
The Educator of the Year and Instructor of the Year were recognized for their exceptional dedication, knowledge, and skills to the educational mission of the NCOLCoE during the Distinguished Service and Recognition ceremony, Dec. 6. at the Cooper Lecture Center.
Dr. Barbara Yancy-Tooks, an assistant professor of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy received recognition as the NCOLCoE EOY.
“It is truly humbling and an honor to be named the NCOLCoE Educator of the Year,” she said.
Joining Dr. Tooks on stage, Sgt. Maj Dietrick Louis, the NCOLCoE Instructor of the Year, who is working towards his doctorate in education and a USASMA fellow from the third cohort.
“Winning this award demonstrates the superb competencies of all the educators in the Department of Professional Studies,” he said. “It feels great. I have learned a lot from the leadership and my fellow instructors.”
Command Sgt. Maj. David Lee, the director of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy praises the new EOY and IOY as stewards of the profession.
“SGM Louis and Dr. Yancy-Tooks are phenomenal instructors,” Lee said. “Within USASMA we have a world class faculty, however, for this competition they rose above their peers.”
The NCOLCoE EOY and IOY competitions build tenacity and sustained readiness through training programs, empowered leaders and mission support.
“All competitors displayed the acumen of dedicated professionals that we have come to see and the students enjoy every day,” he said.
The winners went a step above their competitors by volunteering, practicing, and maintaining a presence in their individual classrooms.
“It was a pleasure to see them in action first hand, and without a doubt their selection as winners in both categories was verified by the tough panel we assembled,” Lee said.
Each of the winners have different learning styles that provides the Sergeants Major Course students with the same outcome.
“I believe in positive learning outcomes,” Tooks said. “There are three areas for helping students re-direct attention to their own learning. Done through using interpersonal communication competence to help in building a growth mindset, providing opportunities to practice decision-making, and using critical analysis.”
Tooks added, “I am positive that reflection on learning preferences and habits helps determine a depth of understanding.”
Louis explains his teaching style inside the educational environment.
“Every semester is unique; my role as an instructor is to assist every student regardless of their learning styles,” he said. “I believe it’s my duty to adjust my teaching style to accommodate the uniqueness of each semester and the individual student. In the adult learning environment, the teacher must understand that we are learners as well.”
Tooks and Louis also inspire others with a common purpose and commitment to achieving the Army Vision.
“I challenge students to think critically when given the opportunity to make suggestions for improvement,” Tooks said. “They tell me what they learned and would like to learn.
She continued, “I make learning relevant and place emphasis on gaining knowledge as a part of their life long journey.”
Louis added, “an instructor must establish a safe and trusting environment, be prepared, and understand that facilitation sometimes leads to instructing, and most importantly adds relevance to the curriculum.”
Taking personal responsibility and accountability with their high standards, the awardees provided some words of advice for their counterparts for the next competition.
“Embrace the Experiential Learning Model and help students achieve successful outcomes,” Tooks said. “Compete with the person you were yesterday, and always strive to give back.”
“Preparing every day to be better educators, will most likely give you an advantage over the instructor who prepares a week before the board,” Louis added.
Command Sgt. Maj. Lee commended the awardees for their ability to inspire and educate the students of the institution.
“They displayed their top notch competence and commitment to our Academy. Job well done,” he exclaimed.
The awardees will move on to compete in the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command IOY and EOY.