Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow (ACT), a group that advocates for the existence and success of MCAS Cherry Point, Fleet Readiness Center East and its civilian enterprises, recently welcomed Dr. Daniel A. Novey, Superintendent of Carteret County Schools, and Dr. Meghan S. Doyle, Superintendent of Craven County Schools, to an education roundtable discussion. The purpose of the event was to address ways ACT and both school systems can partner to improve transitions and education services to children of military and federal employee families.
ACT President Will Lewis, City of Havelock Mayor, introduced Doyle and Novey to a large group assembled at Havelock City Hall. Present were ACT Board Members, local elected officials, and city and county planners from both Carteret and Craven Counties. Special invited guests were leaders from MCAS Cherry Point, including Commanding Officer Colonel Todd Ferry and Sergeant Major Benjamin Pangborn.
“Quality of education and ease of transition is a huge concern for military families when they transfer to a new base. ACT is eager to help with these issues any way we can,” said Lewis.
Dr. Doyle, who just entered her fourth month on the job, told the group she’s already met briefly with Colonel Ferry, but looks forward to additional meetings to provide continual feedback on the Craven County school system and its relationship with military children. The most current numbers show that 22.6% of the county’s students are connected in some way to MCAS Cherry Point.
The goal of the schools in Carteret County is to provide a superior experience and expanding opportunities for all students according to Dr. Novey. Such an environment, he says, will make military families excited to move to the area.
During the roundtable, which lasted two hours, the group discussed current budget challenges and teacher shortages, but also touted grants that help to fill in the gaps in funding.
A major topic of discussion was the need to increase the number of school counselors available throughout the year, including during the summer when most military families transition. Both Doyle and Novey stressed how important such counselors are, especially to the children of those serving in the military. These students, transferring with their parents from other states and, sometimes, other countries, need specific attention when it comes to reviewing their transcripts and being placed in the most appropriate classes.
Dr. Doyle added, “Military students improve our schools by providing excellent examples of respect, dignity, and unspoken qualities that lift up all students.”
The superintendents, MCAS Cherry Point leaders and ACT members acknowledged that the discussion shed light on areas in need of improvement. They agreed to schedule follow-up meetings to monitor progress in these areas and to ensure the success of all schools in Carteret and Craven County. High-quality, successful schools will help keep MCAS Cherry Point viable and ensure that military families the world over are excited to move to eastern North Carolina.
Submitted by: Shannon LuQuire, TradeIdeas