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Quantico school liaison Tammy Smith was named to represent the commonwealth’s military installations on the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. In her office, Smith shows one of the deployment support kits she gives to school counselors for use in their deployment support groups.

Photo by Mike DiCicco

Quantico school liaison named to Virginia military education board

1 Aug 2013 | Mike DiCicco Marine Corps Base Quantico

Gov. Bob McDonnell has announced that the state’s military installations will continue to be represented by a Quantico civilian on a council responsible for minimizing the effects of frequent moves and deployments on military children’s education.

On July 19, the governor’s office announced the latest administration and board appointments, including the appointment of Tammy Smith, one of Quantico’s two school liaisons, to the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The board is four years old, and its only previous representative of military installations was Susan McIntosh, Quantico education services officer.

In accordance with the interstate agreement for which it is named, the board works to alleviate any complications that children of military families may encounter when moving from one school district to another, such as differences in age cutoffs, immunization requirements or graduation requirements.

Mike Coleman, military relations liaison with the Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security for Virginia, said the governor’s office received six viable nominations from installations across the state, which were considered by a selection board.

“Tammy was the one who was selected as best representing what it was we wanted to do,” Coleman said, noting that the board was comfortable that Smith would have the support of all the state’s military installations. “One of the concerns the [Office of the Secretary of Defense] had is that the individual representing all military installations throughout the commonwealth understand that responsibility and not be pushed around by [colonels].”

Smith has been a Quantico school liaison since 2008, except for one year that she worked for the Department of Defense Office of Community Support for Military Families with Special Needs. She said the school liaison job is primarily public relations, meeting with schools on and off base, community partners and the public, and “basically just promoting goodwill for military children and military families.”

With an established network, she said, when families have education-related concerns or issues, “we can quickly and easily help military families address those issues.”

During her time as a liaison for Quantico schools, she helped establish the National Capital Region Joint School Liaison Coalition, which brings together military school liaisons from Washington, D.C., and its suburbs in Virginia and Maryland to determine how to meet the education needs of all military families.

She said one of the biggest issues facing the council in the near future will be adoption of the Common Core State Standards that have been taken on by every state but Virginia and Texas. While Virginia hasn’t adopted the curriculum because the commonwealth has higher standards, she said implementing the core curriculum will bring Virginia’s sequencing of classroom teaching in line with the rest of the country, eliminating some complications for students transferring to and from the state’s schools.

Smith said her job and her new appointment have personal importance to her, as she’s been married to a Marine for 26 years, and both of their children attended Department of Defense schools, graduated in Virginia and went to college in Virginia. “So it’s a personal thing at the Virginia level.”

— Writer:

Marine Corps Base Quantico