SLOs: Helping any, every school issue

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Davis Donaldson
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
School liaison officers (SLO) have the job of making sure Airmen and their families have the best experience possible when dealing with their child’s education.

The SLOs have various responsibilities including school transition support, deployment support, home school support, community connections, volunteer opportunities, post-secondary separation and special needs system navigation.

Leslie Flynn, Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi’s SLO, said the primary goal of an SLO is to help with any problem a child might be having with their schooling.

“The school liaison serves as the subject-matter expert for Pre-K through 12th grade school-related issues,” Flynn said. “It is a total force program serving all branches, active-duty, National Guard and reservists, civilians, wounded warriors, Gold Star families and retirees.”

Flynn mentioned an SLO’s job is to provide information to families and in turn it gives assurance and confidence that the child’s academics are the main priority. SLOs can be especially helpful after a Permanent Change of Station move.

According to, the average military child will change schools up to nine times. Flynn says the process can be difficult and has experienced it herself when she was a child.

“Growing up in a military family, having to relocate and change schools frequently, is never easy,” she said. “I know because I did it. I am here to help you; to support and defend.”

After relocation, SLOs also assist the schools in responding to the complexities of relocation. Flynn says they do so by providing families with information about academic options and requirements for their given locality.

When asked the biggest problem Flynn sees families face as an SLO, she replied with it being when families go into a new school system not knowing what to expect.

“If I had to sum it up in one phrase, it would just be ‘the unknown’,” she said. “Local school personnel can be unfamiliar with modern military life, such as the obligations and challenges faced by service members. In turn, base leaders at times can be unfamiliar with the resources that are available.”

To solve the problem, Flynn suggested if a family is relocating, they should contact their new SLO as soon as possible.

“It may sound a bit cliché but know your SLO before you go,” she said. “Military life doesn’t always give us our preferred amount of lead time and reaching out to your SLO as early as possible, will give your family the most options. If you run into some school-related turbulence, remember you don’t have to go at it alone.”

For more information, join the School Liaison Group on the Columbus AFB app or contact Leslie Flynn directly.