School liaison advocates for military kids

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Deanna Muir
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

Between moving schools and adjusting to new environments, military children can face an array of challenges as a dependent. The 23rd Force Support Squadron’s school liaison is available for just that – to ease families’ transitions to new installations.

The mission of the school liaison program is to provide outreach advocacy and partnership initiatives, generating real-time solutions for military-connected students in grades pre-K-12, as they face global educational challenges due to the frequent moves that come with being a military family.

The school liaison position aims to alleviate anxieties that may arise, by providing parents with a point of contact and a helping hand to bridge the gap between students and educators.

“I'm here to support our military families with school-aged children to ensure the path they're on for their education continues when they conduct a permanent change of station to Moody, and as they move away,” said Darren Hill, 23rd Force Support Squadron school liaison.

The school liaison provides parents with information on local education options, such as homeschool, private, public and charter schools. The liaison also helps navigate school-related challenges and connects families to resources and information on the Georgia Military Family Act – recognizing the need for family time surrounding a deployment.

Hill ensures inbound families are equipped with a welcome packet full of school-related information and extends his guidance and expertise to outbound families by connecting the family to their next school liaison as they prepare to leave Moody AFB.

“Arriving after an application deadline, Mr. Hill worked with the superintendent and advocated for my family and situation – saving me from physical and financial stress,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Shelby Jones, 23rd Logistics Readiness Squadron personal property and passenger travel section chief.

In order to better assist Moody’s military families, Hill has developed an executive level relationship with the local school systems by meeting with school superintendents quarterly and inviting them to the installation to gain insight on the mission.

Doing this allows schools to better understand the needs of military children and how educators can better support Team Moody families, Hill explained.

While Hill has implemented many initiatives, one he has seen great benefit from is placement of specialized counselors into school systems with a high military population.

“One of my greatest achievements is getting military family life counselors into some of our public schools,” Hill says. “They’re there to bridge the gap between the local community and our military families, but also to address the specific needs our military families have and support those children at the schools every day to meet those unique needs.”

For parents like Jones, having a school liaison provides reassurance and a peace of mind knowing there is a designated individual committed to taking care of military kids and the unique circumstances they may experience, she said.

As a retired 25-year Air Force veteran, Hill is happy to get the opportunity to build community relationships to make life better for our military families, he expressed.

“No matter what you're going through, I can get you connected to the right person who can get you the answer and get the situation resolved,” Hill said. “We're here to serve our military members as they're educating their school-aged children.”

For any school-related questions, contact the school liaison at 229-257-4380.