Military & Kittery school bond reaps national honor

Kittery partnership one of five worldwide to be lauded

By Deborah McDermott
September 03, 2014 2:00 AM

Trophy WinnerKITTERY, Maine — The Kittery School Department and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard were among the joint recipients of a prestigious national award honoring them for their work supporting children of military members.

Capt. William Greene, shipyard commander, presented the award given by the Military Child Education Coalition to the Kittery School Committee on Tuesday night.

The local partnership, which also includes the Kittery Rotary Club and the Maine Department of Education, was one of only five military/school coalitions in the world to receive the Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award.

The award, named after Lt. Gen. Pete Taylor, former chairman of the coalition, is given to military/education coalitions near U.S. military facilities.

“Our submission shows our commitment to community and collaboration,” Greene said.

He said the award reflects the school and shipyard partnership in a number of areas. Mitchell Primary School and Shapleigh Middle School have a student-to-student program, matching military children with nonmilitary students to ease transitions. At Traip Academy, the Rotary Interact Club for high school students serves as the liaison organization with military students.

Greene also mentioned a school mentorship program involving Portsmouth Naval Shipyard employees who volunteer, for instance, to work with middle and high school students on robotics projects.

Former school liaison officer Maryann Minard was singled out by both Greene and Superintendent Allyn Hutton for her work during the past two years. Hutton said additional collaborations led by Minard include working to secure a social worker at Mitchell School and garnering a $50,000 grant for an interactive science program at Shapleigh.

“She has grown our working relationship with the shipyard by leaps and bounds,” Hutton said.

Minard, who has started a new position at the University of New Hampshire, said she feels it’s “so important” for the community to remember that 20 percent of the school department’s student population is from a military family.

“It puts everything into perspective,” she said.