NEWS | April 27, 2011

Joint Base Charleston has a new school liaison officer

By Eric Sesit, Joint Base Charleston public affairs

Chris Gerry, a retired U.S. Navy master chief petty officer and a veteran 14-year Lowcountry school teacher, will now use his experience to help ensure Joint Base Charleston Air - Base families get the most out of the area's available education opportunities.

Mr. Gerry joins Cicely McCray, school liaison officer for JB CHS - Weapons Station, in serving as a liaison between the installation commander, military agencies and schools by providing assistance in matters pertaining to student education. They ensure all Navy and Air Force families have access to quality educational opportunities.

"Our primary job is to be a resource for military families, to serve as an advocate for them and help them receive the best education possible while they are stationed at JB CHS," said Mr. Gerry.

The school liaison officers promote and institutionalize systems that improve transitional support for military families by establishing partnerships between the base and local schools. They advocate for the educational needs of military children assigned to JB CHS and develop initiatives that increase awareness of the unique needs of military children and their families.

One recent accomplishment is the new partnership between JB CHS and the Charleston County School system, which extends the application deadlines for military children for specific magnet schools within Charleston County. The Cohort allows children of families who are notified of a permanent change of station after the normal school application deadlines expire, to still apply and attend magnet schools.

"We'll continue to work with the other school districts to ensure our families have access to the education they want for their children," said Mr. Gerry.

-The school liaison officers offer a wide range of services including:
-Supporting families with inbound/outbound transfers
-Providing information on local schools and boundaries
-Assisting with school choice
-Helping families understand the special education process
-Providing information about graduation requirements
-Making military and community agency referrals
-Supporting families with the home-schooling process
-Assisting with post-secondary preparation

The School Liaison office is located at the Airman and Family Readiness, Bldg. 500, and can be reached at 963-4438. The School Liaison Office on JB CHS - WS is located in the Youth Center Annex Bldg. 788B, and can be reached at 764-7869.