Salutes & Awards

January 19, 2013

Instructors honored during luncheon designed specifically to recognize them

Instructor of the Year, Staff Sgt. Sony Merus, addresses the crowd after being named the winner of the honor during the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence’s Staff and Faculty Development Division Instructor Recognition Luncheon on Jan. 10. This was the first time in many years that a banquet was held to specifically honor military intelligence instructors.

The U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence’s Staff and Faculty Development Division, or SFDD, hosted an Instructor Recognition Luncheon on Jan. 10 to celebrate the achievements of its best instructors during the past year. This was a revival, as it has been many years since the last one was held.

“For some reason, we stopped gathering and celebrating together as an instructor community. I thought it was time to bring that back,” said Beth Leeder, SFDD chief.

“Today we are going to honor the best of our instructor cadre and the people who support them,” Leeder said at the luncheon. “Many of you in this room know how far we have come in the past few years in developing our instructor corps.”

Instructors who achieved their Expert Badge in fiscal [year] 12 were the first honorees.

David Jackson and Andrea Brown shared their Course Improvement Projects with attendees through information tables and one-on-one conversations. “The process to achieve the Expert Badge is rigorous,” Jackson said during his remarks. “But the benefit to the instructor and the course are worth it.”

Other instructors who achieved the Expert Badge were Ken Merritt, Dan Sowders and Pete Swolak.

Every year, USAICoE competes in the Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC, Instructor of the Year program, or OIY, and this year is no exception. Honored at the luncheon were Staff Sgt. Mathew Arnold, competing in the noncommissioned officer category, and Tabitha Rogers competing in the civilian category. Both instructors were filmed in late October and that video was submitted to TRADOC for scoring. The announcement of the TRADOC IOY usually comes in March.

Catherine Deinhardt, the civilian deputy course manager for the 35M10 course was honored with a Civilian Service Award presented by Col. Richard Monnard, commander, 111th Military Intelligence Brigade, for her work on the Yearly Exodus Training Initiative, or YETI, project. Deinhardt was the spark that ignited an initiative resulting in more than 150 instructors participating in 22 different classes for professional development, all offered during a historically underused time of the year.

“I may have had the idea, but YETI wouldn’t have happened without the hard work of a lot of other people. I’ll take credit for the idea, but they have to take credit for the rest,” said Deinhardt in her comments.

Leeder introduced each Instructor of the Quarter winner as a prelude to naming the IOY.

The 1st quarter IOQ is Staff Sgt. Samuel Thorington from the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion. When asked what he enjoys about being an instructor, Thorington replied “I like impacting and influencing the students that I teach.”

The 2nd quarter IOQ is Mary Nascimento, a 35T10 instructor in the 305th MI Bn. Nascimento believes that the best thing about being an instructor is that “No one day is ever the same. There are new challenges and adventures every day.”

The 3rd quarter IOQ is Staff Sgt. Sony Merus. What he likes about instructing is “being able to impact the Army as a whole through direct influence of the mid-level leadership of the NCO Corps.” Merus teaches at the NCO Academy on Fort Huachuca.

The final IOQ introduced was Sgt. 1st Class Levi Klingonsmith who referenced his students when describing why he likes instructing. “The best part of being an instructor is the knowledge I have gained from my students.”

After brief remarks by Jerry Proctor, deputy to the commanding general, USAICoE, where Proctor discussed thanking and honoring those who have taught, Leeder announced that Merus captured the FY12 IOY honor. During his remarks, Merus thanked his wife Saskiah who attended with him, his coaches, his leadership and his fellow instructors. He concluded his remarks by saying, “I know now that I have responsibility to coach and mentor those new instructors coming into the academy.”




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