MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
Air University hosted its first K-12 Education Summit Jan. 9, 2019, in order to start a dialogue about enhancing and improving the educational opportunities available to students throughout the River Region.
The event welcomed military, community leaders, leaders from the local public school system, and River Region university representatives to participate in discussions about assisting the advancement of local public school systems.
“Air University and the Montgomery community have a long standing relationship, known for close collaboration and strong support,” said Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, Air University commander and president. “We are members of the River Region community, it is incumbent upon us to do our part as local citizens to foster ideas, discussions and opportunities to improve outcomes for school districts across the area.”
The summit consisted of presentations from superintendents of the public school systems and military leaders about their operations and challenges. Additionally, the summit included question and answer sessions for the superintendents and military leaders, an update on the state of the public education system in Alabama by Dr. Eric Mackey, the state superintendent of education, and focused discussions on strategies to overcome current obstacles.
“The summit in itself is not a panacea designed to solve the current problems or present a strict plan of action,” Cotton said. “It is the beginning of a long journey that will require the engagement of the entire community. We engaged in many fruitful discussions; highlighted bright spots across all school districts and explored different ways we can partner with many organizations around the area to capture the good, collaborating to improve educational opportunities across the region.”
The overall atmosphere from attendees was one of optimism, as the participants gained a greater understanding of how many organizations can interact and support community-based solutions for River Region public school systems.
“Troy University wants to do its part in helping the education system of Montgomery, and would be pleased to hold the next working group meeting. We are happy to do this for our community, which includes the military men and women of Maxwell Air Force Base,” said Ray White, vice chancellor of Troy University. “I think this first summit did a great job of shining a light on some of the problems the education system poses that we need to address.”
Attendees discussed what challenges their organizations can realistically resolve, the next steps to take collectively, and how the River Region partners can work together to solve the prioritized issues. The next gathering of River Region educational leaders will focus on the progress made in tackling the identified challenges, further developing the provided solutions, and laying out a road map for future and sustaining collaboration efforts to improve educational opportunities in the region.
“This is not about hitting home runs, rather it’s about getting the batter on base and hitting singles to bring them home,” Cotton said. “I was excited to see the interest from the leadership of all the regional school systems and higher education. It gives me great hope that we as a community will make a difference.”