New school liaison officer bridges gap

USAF photo As Cannon’s new school liaison officer, Laura Serrano will work to facilitate the educational needs of children and provide information to their parents. For information or assistance call her at 784-1528.

By Greg Allen: 27th SOW Public Affairs

784-1528: If you are new here, been here or planning to leave here soon, that’s the number to call to get information and help for your children when it comes to school matters.

When you call that number you will reach Laura Serrano, Cannon’s new school liaison officer. With her arrival base families are already ahead of the education curve for the coming school year.

As Cannon’s first full time school liaison officer, Serrano is busy networking with the community and working with parents and their children to ensure their questions about local schools are answered and educational needs are met.

In her small, almost Spartan-like office at the Airman and Family Readiness Center, Serrano spoke about her job and the importance of providing parents with the relevant information they need.

“Starting October 1, every Air Force base is expected to have a dedicated school liaison officer,” said Serrano. In February 2010 there were 28 Air Force bases with locally funded school liaisons. Beginning in October there will be an additional 54 positions that are centrally funded.

In addition, the Airman and Family Readiness Center staff provides school liaison support to leadership and families.

Serrano arrived here June 28 with her husband, Tech. Sgt. Henry Serrano, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron, and their children. They were previously assigned to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif.

She brings with her not only the experience of being a military spouse and mom, but a background in education with undergraduate work at Arizona State University in Phoenix and a graduate degree from Chapman University.

“I am here to help families, whether it’s a transportation issue or graduation requirement question,” she said. “I encourage parental involvement in their children’s education, whether it’s traditional schooling or homeschooling.”

Serrano said that airmen with school-age children are well aware of the many challenges related to a permanent change of station. In addition to normal house-hunting issues, families with children have concerns about whether credits will be accepted or if the standards for exceptional performance can be met at the new school.

“I want to facilitate a family’s educational needs from before they arrive to Cannon to the time they leave,” she said.

The Air Force School Liaison program was patterned after the success of similar program implemented in the Army to provide knowledgeable civilians who can help airmen make decisions that fit their situation.