Joe M. Cothron

Joe M. Cothron

Hall of Fame Class of 2003

Joe M. Cothron is a distinguished leader in the Department of Defense Voluntary Education Program and has served as a Director of Education in Korea since 1977. With 35 years of Federal Service, his council is sought by Headquarters Department of the Army and military commanders at all levels of command on topics ranging from Dependent's' Schools to Status of Forces Agreement. 

Mr. Cothron began his career as a grade school teacher and continued with a 40-year career assisting service members in a 

variety of capacities: service school instructor, curriculum specialist at Redstone Arsenal, education services officer in Alaska and education services specialist at Headquarters Department of the Army. As the Director of Education in Korea, he has been the foremost advocate for adult and continuing education for soldiers serving in Korea. Joe Cothron developed and maintained a cadre of military educators in Korea who provide a wide array of educational opportunities in an isolated environment where peace has not been established. At the request of the Republic of Korea government, he conceptualized and implemented an Education Scholarship Program benefiting U.S. Forces Korea soldiers for over eight years. He also initiated a funded Spousal Education Assistance Program through the Army Emergency Relief Program for all military spouses in Korea. 

In recognition of his outstanding service, Joe Cothron was awarded the Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Army's second highest civilian award given by the Secretary of the Army and the 1999 Tilton Davis Military Educator of the Year Award. The Korean Chapter of Kappa Alpha Pi Fraternity named its annual scholarship award in his honor.

Mr. Cothron's outstanding service to the Department of Defense is most evident through the enhanced lives of the civilians and dependents that have benefited from the educational opportunities offered under his leadership.