By Joseph Morgan, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsMarch 11, 2010
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. Aca,!" The School Liaison Officer is the primary link between the military family and the local school system. The liaison provides information on education options, school district policies, homeschooling and more.
Here at the Presidio, Dana Bouchillon, who has been employed as the Presidio of MontereyAca,!a,,cs school liaison officer since November, serves in that role.
BouchillonAca,!a,,cs background seems to have prepared her well for her new position. In the years before she and her husband arrived in California they were stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and at Fort Campbell, Ky., and at both locations she worked for the local school systems as a behavioral therapist.
Aca,!A"I really enjoyed doing that type of work but it was emotionally taxingAca,!A? she said recently at her office at Ord Military CommunityAca,!a,,cs General Stilwell Community Center. Aca,!A"As a school liaison I still get to work with children, families and the school system, but in a different capacity.Aca,!A?
Bouchillon, who works for Child, Youth and School Services within the PresidioAca,!a,,cs Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said she got help easing into her newest job from Cindy Rothstein, who was the PresidioAca,!a,,cs school liaison officer for several years and is BouchillonAca,!a,,cs immediate predecessor.
Aca,!A"Cindy did a phenomenal job as the school liaison officer,Aca,!A? Bouchillon said. Aca,!A"Fortunately for me I was able to shadow her for approximately two weeks, and after that she made herself available to answer additional questions I had or to provide guidance. She did a great job forming a partnership between the Presidio of Monterey and Monterey Peninsula School District, which made the transition into this position much easier for me.Aca,!A?
The children of most local military families attend MPUSD schools. Military-connected children comprise about 15 percent of the districtAca,!a,,cs enrollment.
Aca,!A"MPUSD Superintendent Dr. Marilyn Shepherd and her staff are very supportive of military families and committed to making the transition of into the district as easy as possible for military families,Aca,!A? Bouchillon said.
Working with MPUSD and attending two MPUSD school board meetings a month is part of the school liaison officerAca,!a,,cs job, explained Bouchillon, adding that she also works with families that are arriving at the Presidio, soon to arrive, or families that are departing.
Aca,!A"If anyone has any questions about the school system of their new location, they can give me a call and I can assist with that,Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"I can provide helpful transition resources in order to make the move between school systems more successful.Aca,!A?
Another part of the job is working with members of about 80 local military families who opt for home schooling of their children.
Aca,!A"I facilitate monthly home-school meetings at Porter Youth Center,Aca,!A? Bouchillon said. Aca,!A"The purpose of these meetings is to give the families an opportunity network, share ideas, plan activities and establish connections. It is also a great socialization opportunity for the children.Aca,!A?
Aca,!A"I am amazed at the gratitude I get from families for just providing them with basic school information,Aca,!A? Bouchillon said. Aca,!A"Helping families in this capacity is my favorite part and the most rewarding part of this job.Aca,!A?
Bouchillon has a masterAca,!a,,cs degree in social work from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Although she spent childhood years in Flint, Mich., where she was born, Alabama became her adopted home state after her family moved there when she was 9 years old.
At Army installations, CYSS operations support the Army Family Covenant.
Aca,!A"The main goal of the Army Family Covenant is to take care of service members and their families,Aca,!A? Bouchillon said. Aca,!A"I take my role in that very seriously.Aca,!A?
Dana Bouchillon can be reached at her office at 831-242-6904. Additionally, she is available via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.