Power of partnerships: Holloman, Goodfellow schools see results, set standard

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Partnerships.

This was the central theme at the Association of Defense Communities Installation Innovation Forum 2021 and it was the idea that brought together representatives from numerous military installations, communities, states and industry for three days from Nov. 1 to 3.

The forum, now in its ninth year, featured more than two dozen panels focusing on the unique partnerships that have propelled various programs on military installations to new heights. 

The panelists included subject matter experts like Laurieann Goodier and Theresa Goodwin, the school liaisons for Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, and Goodfellow AFB, Texas, respectively, who were invited to speak about some recent successes they’ve helped secure for military children and the partnerships that made it all possible.

Illustrating the power of the partnership and collaboration with the New Mexico governor and the city of Alamogordo, Goodier highlighted the $34 million elementary school which is currently under construction at Holloman AFB. Goodier stated the project would not have been possible without the focused and unified efforts of base leaders, the Alamogordo Public School System and the support of civic leaders.

“Our schools were in terrible condition; they were falling down,” Goodier said. “Building that partnership capacity was integral. We really had to lean on and leverage our community connections. This is a great win for our students and our families.”

Holloman is also the first military installation to host Project SEARCH in New Mexico, a program which aims to help high school students with developmental disabilities transition into the work force. The initiative was a joint endeavor launched in February and has already seen tremendous success.

Across state lines at Goodfellow AFB, Goodwin has brought the base and San Angelo community together to stand up a STARBASE Goodfellow which addressed a rising need and want for a greater emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

“We have a perimeter around our base but I feel like that really hasn’t been the case,” Goodwin said. “We have such an integrated and growing tremendous partnership with our community and because of that we’ve really been able to move mountains in the education realm.”

Goodwin is, as described by the San Angelo Independent School District superintendent, Dr. Carl Dethloff, “the great connector” between on and off base communities. With her help, the base and school district launched STARBASE Goodfellow in September 2017. Since its inception STARBASE Goodfellow has introduced subjects like physics, data analysis, engineering design, fluid mechanics and aerodynamics to more than 6,000 students. 

The importance and value of partnerships is the underlying theme and key to success for both Holloman and Goodfellow, and not just in terms of quality of education for military children; it is directly linked to the mission readiness.

Sharing his perspective as a wing leader, an active duty Airman and father was Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Temple, 49th Wing command chief.

“There are three things Airmen care about when they get orders, and that’s medical, housing and, if you have kids, schools. The Air Force and the Department of Defense do a good job taking care of medical and housing, but the issue of schools is what we as command teams can help influence,” Temple said. “I’ve lived in communities that may have been a little bit above my pay range specifically because of the schools in the area.”

Temple’s experience is not unique and emphasizes the different stressors Airmen and their families become vulnerable to when education resources are limited.

“We knew we had to get after that education piece to help our families and to help our Airmen execute their mission,” Temple said. “We had to do that through partnerships.”

Goodier and Goodwin are the linchpin of those critical partnerships and they, along with Air Force school liaisons across the globe, are driving results.

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