School liaison managers guide academic transitions, overcome hurdles for military kids

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Hannah Bean
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Military kids around the world are going back to school after summer break with many experiencing not only new teachers but new surroundings, new schools and new friends as well.


Following a busy summer permanent-change-of-station season, Department of the Air Force School Liaison Program managers are helping ease the burden for families transitioning from one installation to another.


“School is back in session and I'm very pleased with amount of support we have gotten from leadership and the community for our students,” said Joshua Fly, School Liaison Program manager at Yokota Air Base. “The importance of education cannot be overstated and the school Liaison Program has your back!”


K-12 education is one of the pillars of the Five & Thrive initiative began in 2021 by Sharene Brown, spouse of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force to increase focus and attention on the top five quality of life challenges faced by military families.


“The SLP managers assist with any educational concerns or challenges a family has and helps them navigate the school system and local community,” said Lori Phipps, the Department of the Air Force School Liaison Program manager at the Air Force Services Center. “They have their pulse on pre-kindergarten – 12 grade education in the local community and education services for families, educators and community stakeholders.”


There are more than 90 SLP managers at installations across the DAF with each responsible for all students, including those geographically dispersed but assigned to the installation.


With a focus on the three main objectives – advising command teams and helping drive change in the community; serving as ambassadors and building partnerships; and advocating for the needs of military connected students, the diversity of the program is equal to the diversity of challenges faced by military families.


“Questions or concerns may pop up during the school year and I'm here to help,” Fly said. “Military life can be hard and navigating your child's education even harder, don't do it alone, let me help!”     


SLs are a “strong voice” for military families and they also oversee MIC3 compliance, monitor compliance with public laws mandating education and related services for military populations, and advocate on behalf of military students on various boards, networks and committees at the local and national levels.


For leadership teams at installations, SLs are there to help increase readiness, support retention and sustain the mission with deployment, homeschool and transition support for families. SLs are also up to date on local laws and policies to help families understand school choices and even assist with higher-education options like Junior ROTC, internships and mentoring opportunities.


For more information on the DAF SLP, visit


(Editor’s Note:  School liaisons serve all Department of Defense ID cardholders to include civilians, retirees, Guard and Reserve, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Public Health Service, Foreign National Training Students, employees and eligible family members.)