FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Children get more out of school when parents are involved.

That was the sentiment among Fort Jackson community members who gathered Thursday at the C.C. Pinckney Elementary School auditorium for the first school board meeting of the 2010-11 academic year.

New board president, Lt. Col. Bryan Hernandez, introduced himself and the other board members who were elected to the board in May: 1st Sgt. Arthur Burgoyne, vice president ; Michelle Riley, secretary; Sandra Green-Good, member; and 1st Lt. David Rice, member.

Ann Gordon, one of Fort Jackson's two school liaison officers, and Leslie Love, wife of Garrison Commander Col. James Love, serve as advisers and non-voting members of the board.

With the exception of Burgoyne and Gordon, the members are new to this year's board.

Hernandez said he is confident the new board members will do an outstanding job representing Fort Jackson's military families within the Department of Defense Education Activities' school system.

"I know it (will be) a gradual process," Hernandez said. "A lot of us are learning this whole process, but I think we know how to solve problems and make things work, especially when it comes to our kids because we have valued interest just like everybody else.

"We understand the unique differences and challenges we face as military families and the consistent need to ensure our children get the best education out there. Our children sacrifice a great deal with parents in the military, especially in time of war, and we as a collective group need to sacrifice our all to ensure they are the best taught, brightest kids that this nation has to offer."

He said the board members' main roles will be to serve as advocates and points of contact for parents with children at both schools.

"We serve to advise, assist, recommend and discuss issues with the superintendent and principals of these two fine schools," he said.

He asked those who attended Thursday's meeting to recruit other parents to attend future board meetings, which occur the first Thursday of every month.

"I'd like to see the whole auditorium full," he said. "We're here to pass information and to receive information. The more people we have involved, the better we are going to be able to work for you."

Superintendent Samantha Ingram said she looks forward to working with the new school board members.
She also thanked the staff, faculty and administrators for a great school opening.

"A job well done," she said. "I'm excited about what we have ahead of us."

She, Sherry Schneider and Brian Perry - principals of C.C. Pinckney and Pierce Terrace, respectively - gave overviews of the changes and progress made at Fort Jackson's schools during the first two months, including the implementation of a new curriculum; a realignment of staff based on certification, expertise and school goals; common planning among teachers of students in the same grade levels; the addition of an intensive enrichment program; and new methods of communication for parents, teachers and staff.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m., Nov. 4 at the C.C. Pinckney Elementary School auditorium.