FORT BENNING, Ga. (May 8, 2013) -- For another year, Fort Benning schools took home the top Partners in Education award, with Loyd Elementary School and its PIE partners TIC Federal Credit Union, WRBL and the 2nd Infantry, 58th Infantry Regiment, winning Partnership of the Year.

Winners for Partnership of the Year and Project of the Year were announced April 30 at St. Luke Ministry Center. Christy Cabeza, the Department of Defense Education Activity Georgia and Alabama District superintendent, was a guest speaker.

Cabeza said that the partners were an essential piece of the 'PIE' partnerships. PIE partners are important "because we have to educate the children academically, emotionally and socially."

Five school districts participate in the PIE Program each year: Muscogee County, Fort Benning, Harris County, Chattahoochee County and Talbot County.

Julita Martinez, principal of Loyd Elementary School said, winning was a surprise to her.

"We know that we work hard but you never know. Other schools work hard too," she said. "Our partnership has developed into a Family type of relationship. We depend on each other, we call each other -- we communicate frequently, we meet every month."

Jessica Johnson, marketing manager at TIC, said she was thrilled.

"It was truly a team effort," she said. "A lot of people spent a lot of hours and a lot of their own time and their own creativity to make this possible."

This was the first year the two businesses and battalion were partners together with Loyd. TIC was partnered with Our Lady of Lourdes prior to the school's closing. Phil Scoggins, WRBL News 3 anchor, described it as a "dream year" for the group.

"(The kids) are really the driving forces behind all of this. It's all why we do what we do," he said.

The best things about the partnership, said Lt. Col Jeff Krapo, commander of the 2nd Bn., 58th Inf. Regt., were the children. No matter the activity, he said seeing the children light up and how they look up to the Soldiers is the best part.

"We're really providing something to our military Families," Krapo said.

Loyd and its partners were also a Project of the Year winner. The 203rd Brigade Support Battalion and 11th Engineer Battalion were also part of partnerships that won a Project of the Year award.