By Judy Cromartie
School Liaison Officer

Jacksonville Beach Gifted and Talented Magnet school hosted a Coffee Chat for parents on Tuesday, March 4.  The month's topic "Supporting Military Families" provided practical information and resources for teachers and parents.  An important resource for the school is the U.S. Navy's School Liaison Officer (SLO), Judy Cromartie.  A major role of the SLO involves working with a school's counselor and teaching staff to support the social and emotional implications of the transitioning student: deployment and separation, building confidence and resiliency, and supporting children through trauma and loss. 

To help bolster the SLO's role here in Duval County Public Schools, seven Military Family Life Counselors (MFLC's) were hired to work full-time with school counselors at no additional cost to the families or the school district.  This free service is the result of a collaboration with The Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Military Community and Family Policy, Duval County Public Schools, and N.S. Mayport and NAS Jax.  The seven MFLC's assigned to work in area schools include the following:

â¢Ruthanne Wing at Finegan Elementary with school counselor Donna Davis,

â¢Susan Schanen at Mayport Elementary and Jax Beach Elementary with school counselors Melissa Hammond and Carla Forest-Crumley, 

â¢Robyn Ashburn at Mayport Middle with school counselor Adrienne Wakefield,

â¢Cheryl Alvarado at Venetia Elementary and John Stockton Elementary with school counselors Na'toria Campbell and Cheryle Roman, 

â¢Willie Lott at Oceanway Middle and San Mateo Elementary with school counselors Amelia Williams and Duane Monte,

â¢Shelley Rosen at New Berlin Elementary and Sheffield Elementary with school counselors Marisa Negron and Ginger Brown, and 

â¢Kimberly Cruise at Enterprise Learning Academy and Chimney Lakes Elementary with school counselors Ellen Golden and Shelia Handress

The MFLC services are designed to offer extra support to assist with the unique challenges which military families experience.  Military Family Life counselors are licensed clinicians who have demonstrated expertise in working with children.  They can provide short-term non-medical counseling support in a variety of different ways:  individual meetings with children, presentations about life skills issues, skill-building group discussions, and meetings with parents and families at the family's request for additional counseling/coaching support.  While meeting with children, MFLC's always remain in line of sight of a teacher, staff member, or a parent.

The primary focus of the Military & Family Life Counseling Program is prevention, education, and counseling support. The services are provided confidentially and no case records or documentation is kept.  The counselors do not assess or diagnose, and when they encounter more in depth issues/diagnoses, they offer to connect military families with other helping agencies available on the installation or in the community.

Some of the common issues that CYB MFLCs help with include the following:

Stress management and coping skills

Anger management/conflict resolution

Deployment and reintegration issues

Feeling associated with separation and divorce

Grief and loss reactions

Leadership skills

Communication skills

Self-esteem and confidence

All military families at these area schools are given the opportunity to consent for their children to participate in this free service or to opt-out.  For more information about MFLC services at your neighborhood school, you can contact your school to request the direct number for the MFLC on campus.

Judy Cromartie is the School Liaison Officer for NS Mayport.  If you have questions about this article or concerns about an educational issue impacting your child, she can be reached via email at or by phone at (904) 270-6289 X1305 [office] or (904) 993-5860 [cell].  Or you can schedule a meeting with her in her office in Building One.