By Pvt. Jamal WalkerAugust 18, 2009
RED CLOUD GARRISON, South Korea - Keeping Warrior Country the assignment of choice is easier to explain to Soldiers arriving in Area I now that Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation has added Marie Johnson to the staff as school liaison officer.
Johnson's main focus is to answer any questions Soldiers, Civilians and their Family members might have about the local schools within different areas of South Korea. One of the important roles Johnson will perform is to help families transition and integrate into local schools. Johnson assists Families upon arrival, and continues to assist them throughout their stay on the peninsula. She also will advise the commander on educational issues.
"It is fantastic that we have a representative because I get numerous questions about Area I," said Susan Rowe, Installation Management Command Korea school transition specialist. "With the appointment of Johnson, Area I will have someone to help them and answer their questions."
Johnson was put to work immediately as she attended a Family Readiness Group meeting, answering questions about the schools in the local area, and discussing some of the plans she has for Warrior Country in the future.
"Soldiers with school-age children are well aware of the many challenges related to permanent change of station," Johnson said. "Moving regularly also can create concerns about whether earned credit will be accepted, and if standards for exceptional performance match up."
School liaisons assigned to duty stations stateside find themselves answering questions on accreditation status, class sizes, tuition fees and other subjects. Warrior Country, however, is a new environment for Johnson, and the new Families to the area have many questions about schools in Area I because the closest Department of Defense School is located in Yongsan garrison.
Johnson plans on helping by gathering as much information as she can about these schools and more about the non-DOD schools like international schools, correspondence courses, or virtual learning environments, by attending orientations to spread the word about her new office, and how she will help Families new to Area I.
Another area Johnson will tend to is home schooling. Johnson is working on helping parents by showing them how to create a stable location where their children can study and work on educational tasks given to them by their parents. In homes where no such space is available, Johnson is working on designing a place.
"I have been in Korea for five years and everyone here has made me feel very welcome," Johnson said.