01/26/05 — Air Force officer has praise for Wayne County schools

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Air Force officer has praise for Wayne County schools

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 26, 2005 2:12 PM

Col. Leonard Coleman, commander of the 4th Mission Support Group at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, applauded the Wayne County school system's efforts to accommodate military families during a tour of two schools on Tuesday.

"Anytime you talk to a military family and they get a reassignment, the first thing they ask about is the schools," he said during a tour of Greenwood Middle School and Meadow Lane Elementary School. "You have made Seymour Johnson a desirable assignment."

The two schools attribute nearly half of their enrollments to the children of military families.

Other officials who were part of the tour were Stewart Cox, Coleman's deputy commander; Nancy Mayo, the liaison officer between the base and the schools; schools Superintendent Steve Taylor and school board members Lehman Smith, Pete Gurley, Rick Pridgen and Shirley Sims.

"As community leaders, we have to work together to make our schools the best that they can be," said Meadow Lane Principal Celia James. She called the tour and breakfast a chance to salute the school board and the base.

"We have wonderful families to work with, wonderful support from the base," she said.

Such closeness makes a difference in the educational process, said Larry Dean, principal at Greenwood.

"We do appreciate what the base does for us," he said. "Parents there are very supportive indeed. They help us in so many ways, with end-of-grade tests, as proctors, working with landscaping in front of the school."

Dean said his staff is very proud of its diverse population and the opportunity to show off what the school has to offer.

Coleman thanked the educators for the partnership they have developed with the military families.

"It's a pleasure to have you taking care of our children," he said. "We give you our children from some of the youngest ages and the impressions they get last a lifetime.

He noted the schools' sensitivity to family situations such as when a parent is deployed or having to move in the middle of the school year.

"We appreciate the security you give our kids," he said. "They move around a lot and get to see a lot of different environments.

"We have total confidence in the education that you provide and the job that you do."