Schofield leaders, educators strengthen partnership

| October 28, 2016 | 0 Comments
Sally Omalza, principal of Solomon Elementary School, speaks with Maj. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, senior commander, U.S. Army Hawai,i about school partnerships inside the conference room of Leilehua High School during the meet and greet.

Sally Omalza, principal of Solomon Elementary School, speaks with Maj. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, senior commander, U.S. Army Hawaii about school partnerships inside the conference room of Leilehua High School during the meet and greet.

Story and photo by
Christine Cabalo
Staff Writer
WAHIAWA — School was in session for Army leaders and Hawaii educators during the School Partnership Program Meet and Greet at Leilehua High School, here, Oct. 21.
The recurring event gives Hawaii’s school principals, administrators and military liaisons the chance to discuss their outreach partnerships with senior Army leaders.

For more than 10 years, Soldiers have mentored Hawaii students, assisted in their physical fitness programs and provided volunteer support to local schools.

Maj. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, senior commander, U.S. Army Hawaii, addresses Hawaii school principals and Army leaders during the School Partnership Program Meet and Greet, Oct. 21.

Maj. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, senior commander, U.S. Army Hawaii, addresses Hawaii school principals and Army leaders during the School Partnership Program Meet and Greet, Oct. 21.

“The Army is pretty serious about education,” said Maj. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, senior commander for U.S. Army Hawaii. “We’re committed to education, all through our careers, sending back Soldiers to learn, back to their military schools for their jobs. … We are finely tuned to the appreciation of education.”

Partnering
There are 44 schools on Oahu and eight on the Big Island who have formal partnerships with USARHAW units.

Although Hawaii school staff regularly meet with their individual Army partners, the recent event brought all of the key Army and Hawaii Department of Education personnel together at once.

Army and civilian personnel divided into four groups, switching between the smaller groups to meet key leaders outside of their individual school partnerships.

Tom Yamamoto, the vice principal at Iliahi Elementary School, speaks to Maj. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, senior commander, U.S. Army Hawaii, during the School Partnership Program Meet and Greet, Oct. 21.

Tom Yamamoto, the vice principal at Iliahi Elementary School, speaks to Maj. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, senior commander, U.S. Army Hawaii.

The personal setting gave the educators a chance to directly speak to senior Army leaders, including Cavoli, and Col. Stephen Dawson and Command Sgt. Maj. Lisa Piette-Edwards, the commander and command sergeant major of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.

School staff from Wahiawa and the surrounding area, near USAG-HI, could also answer any questions Army leaders had about their schools. The principals represented schools that have as many as 99 percent of students with parents serving in the Army.

Tom Yamamoto, the vice principal at Iliahi Elementary School in Wahiawa, said he appreciated having time to meet the senior Army leaders. While his school is the farthest away from USAG-HI, there are still Soldiers who make an individual effort to regularly volunteer for his students. He said he was glad to have time to talk with the senior Army command.

Strengthening partnerships
“We’re grateful they could come out,” Yamamoto said. “They were really eager to hear directly from the community about what they could be doing for their individual schools and what services they could provide.

“It’s also important for them to know how we are open to provide services to them, too,” Yamamoto explained. “(For example,) our school has an ukulele class available for performances for their events, so it’s not a one-sided relationship.”

Troy Tamara, the principal of Wheeler Elementary School, said the meet and greet helped him put faces to names.

Sgt. Maj. Lisa Piette-Edwards, command sergeant major for U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, speaks with Hawaii school principals and military liaisons during the School Partnership Program Meet and Greet, Oct. 21.

Sgt. Maj. Lisa Piette-Edwards, command sergeant major for U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, speaks with Hawaii school principals and military liaisons during the School Partnership Program Meet and Greet, Oct. 21.

For some of the long-time Hawaii principals, it was their first opportunity to meet Cavoli in person since he took command.

“Listening to the new general allowed us to see his vision for the military and the partners present, so that we can keep continuing this relationship for many years to come,” said Garett Yukumoto, principal, Iliahi Elementary School. “It was a good look forward to how they can help students, but also how we can help them.”

Both Army leaders and Hawaii educators said they are committed to working together to solve common problems. Cavoli pledged his assistance in using formal and informal means to meet student needs.

“I encourage you to fully explore the partnerships you have with your units,” Cavoli said. “Meet with the command senior (non-commissioned officers in charge), and I ask you to explore relationships. The Army is good at rolling up our sleeves to get the job done.”

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Category: Community, Education

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