Dozier, Therese Knecht

June 17, 1952 –

Immensely popular with her students, she was named South Carolina Teacher of the Year in 1985. Later that same year she received the National Teacher of the Year Award from President Ronald Reagan.

1985 National Teacher of the Year. Dozier was born in Vietnam on June 17, 1952, the daughter of a Vietnamese woman and a former German officer who fled Germany at the close of World War II. Lawrence Knecht, a U.S. Army officer stationed in Vietnam, and his wife adopted Dozier and her brother in 1954. They became the first Vietnamese children to be adopted by an American couple, which required a special act of Congress. Dozier graduated valedictorian from Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda, Florida, in 1970. She entered the University of Florida in 1970 and received a B.A. (summa cum laude) in social studies education in 1974. She completed her M.Ed. at the University of Florida in 1976. Dozier began teaching in Gainesville, Florida, at Lincoln Middle School in 1974 and then transferred to Miami Edison Middle School in 1976.

In 1977 Dozier moved to South Carolina and began teaching at Irmo High School. Immensely popular with her students, she was named South Carolina Teacher of the Year in 1985. Later that same year she received the National Teacher of the Year Award from President Ronald Reagan. She took a hiatus from Irmo High School from 1986 to 1989 to teach social studies at the Singapore American School in Singapore. She later served as an instructor and coordinator of Professional Development Schools at the University of South Carolina from 1991 to 1992. She earned her Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from USC in 1995.

Leaving Irmo High School, Dozier served as senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley from 1993 to 2001. In 2001 she accepted the position of national teacher-in-residence and associate professor in the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.

Miller, Mary Susan. “Teacher of the Year.” Good Housekeeping 200 (May 1985): 102–6.

Sparks, Dennis. “It All Comes Down to the Teacher: National View of Education Brings the Focus to the Person in Front of the Classroom; Inter- view with Terry Dozier.” Journal of Staff Development 21 (fall 2000): 1–4.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Dozier, Therese Knecht
  • Coverage June 17, 1952 –
  • Author
  • Keywords 1985 National Teacher of the Year, Lawrence Knecht, a U.S. Army officer stationed in Vietnam, and his wife adopted Dozier and her brother in 1954, first Vietnamese children to be adopted by an American couple, National Teacher of the Year Award from President Ronald Reagan, served as senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date September 26, 2022
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update July 22, 2022
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