2017-08-04 / Front Page

TEACHER FIELD TRIP

Educators’ tour sheds light on Fort Gordon
BY LAURA LEVERING
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

Renae Enlow, center, preparing for her first year as principal of Byrd Elementary School, in Graniteville, S.C., gets acquainted with military-style marksmanship during a July 27 session at an indoor firing range at Fort Gordon, with computer-simulated firing and targets. Helping is Staff Sgt. Sedrick Poole, 733rd Military Police Criminal Investigation Division. Firing at left is Sandra Anderson, with Evans Elementary School, Evans, Ga. PHOTO BY BILL BENGTSON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Renae Enlow, center, preparing for her first year as principal of Byrd Elementary School, in Graniteville, S.C., gets acquainted with military-style marksmanship during a July 27 session at an indoor firing range at Fort Gordon, with computer-simulated firing and targets. Helping is Staff Sgt. Sedrick Poole, 733rd Military Police Criminal Investigation Division. Firing at left is Sandra Anderson, with Evans Elementary School, Evans, Ga. PHOTO BY BILL BENGTSON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE More than 70 educators from the Georgia South Carolina region received an insider’s look at the installation last week.

Fort Gordon’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted a “Tour for Teachers” July 27. The half-day event began at Gordon Conference and Catering Center with breakfast and an overview of Fort Gordon. This is the second year Fort Gordon has hosted the event.

The main objective of the Tour for Teachers is to familiarize local educators with the installation and its tenant unit missions. The tour also provides educators with information on what it takes to operate Fort Gordon, future plans for the installation, and how the installation and community can work together to achieve success.


Tim Blackston, right, a medical-clinical training manager based at Fort Gordon, explains to a group of visiting teachers the workings of a smart mannequin, designed to help with training in emergency medicine – including help for canines, in this case. 
PHOTO BY BILL BENGTSON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Tim Blackston, right, a medical-clinical training manager based at Fort Gordon, explains to a group of visiting teachers the workings of a smart mannequin, designed to help with training in emergency medicine – including help for canines, in this case. PHOTO BY BILL BENGTSON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Col. Todd Turner, Fort Gordon Garrison commander and Melissa Barrickman, Fort Gordon school liaison officer, welcomed guests and provided informative presentations. Turner spoke about several points including the installation’s shift of focus from signal to intelligence and cyber. It’s a change that is having a tremendous economic impact on the community as the region progresses toward becoming the cyber hub for the nation beginning with a $60 million Cyber and Innovation Training Facility in Augusta that will include 85 agencies within.

“Think about the collaboration that’s going to happen between those 85 agencies – state, federal and local … academic and industry partners downtown,” Turner said. “And then think about having the National Security Agency, the schoolhouse and the operational arms for cyber here.”

Turner touched on several other aspects of the installation and stated the main intent of the presentation was to give educators a fresh perspective of the installation while pointing out an abundance of job prospects here.

“This is not your parents’ sleepy Fort Gordon,” Turner said. “There is a tremendous opportunity going on here and we need your help. We can’t do this transformation without partnering with the community.”

Barrickman shared a more personal presentation that centered on military students. A military spouse, former elementary school teacher and mother of two, Barrickman knows firsthand the challenges associated with being in the military.

Illustrating one of the most difficult challenges military children endure – a permanent change of station – Barrickman periodically instructed educators to “pack up their stuff,” move to another table and sit next to someone they didn’t know. Military children often experience six to nine moves during their school career. Each move means having to make new friends, adjust to a new schedule, a new climate or culture, new instructional methods, and often times new school requirements. Barrickman encouraged educators to take time to get to know their military students and leverage their experiences by having them share about their journey.

“The most successful children are the ones who feel connected to wherever they are, and the quicker that can happen, the better off everybody is,” Barrickman said.

Following presentations, educators loaded onto buses for a windshield tour with three stops that included a visit to a field hospital, a military canine working dog demonstration, use of the Engagement Skills Trainer and a Warfighter Information Network-Tactical demonstration.

Courtney Berry, a guidance counselor at Baker Place and Grovetown Elementary schools in Grovetown, Georgia, said she plans to take back what she learned and share it with other staff.

“We have a large population of military children and this was a chance to see some of the challenges that they have every day and kind of see what their parents do just to give me a way to be able to help them more as a counselor,” Berry said.

For Chad Buchanan, a physical education teacher at Westmont Elementary in Martinez, Georgia, the tour was an eye-opener.

“I think the biggest thing for me is to have more empathy,” Buchanan said. “I think a lot faculty members understand that, but I think that’s always something we can get better at.”

The main thing Barrickman hopes participants took away from their experience was that in spite of their unique challenges, military students are just children.

“We want you to treat them just like you treat all the children in the classroom and know that they have unique skills, they have unique challenges, but when the day is done, they’re just children,” Barrickman said.

Return to top