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GAFB, community solidifies shared educational enhancement

U.S. Air Force Col Andres Nazario, 17th Training Wing commander, President of Howard College Dr. Cheryl Sparks, Superintendent of San Angelo Independent School District Dr. Carl Dethloff, Interim President of Angelo State University Mrs. Angie Wright, and Col. Thomas Coakley, 17th Training Group commander, attend a video conference to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, which establishes a Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 11, 2020. With health and safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the virtual signing of the MOU officially solidified several years of previous partnerships and cooperation between the 17th TRG, ASU, Howard College and SAISD. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Abbey Rieves)

Col. Andres Nazario, 17th Training Wing commander; Dr. Cheryl Sparks, Howard College president; Dr. Carl Dethloff, San Angelo Independent School District superintendent; Mrs. Angie Wright, Angelo State University interim president; and Col. Thomas Coakley, 17th Training Group commander, attend a video conference to sign a memorandum of understanding which establishes a Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 11, 2020. With health and safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the virtual signing of the MOU officially solidified several years of previous partnerships and cooperation between the 17th TRG, ASU, Howard College and SAISD. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Abbey Rieves)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) --

Following the directive of the National Defense Strategy, Goodfellow AFB is the first Air Force base to virtually sign a memorandum of understanding with its local community to establish a Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence June 11.

“This is the first time that individuals of the Air Force and local community have come together for the exclusive purpose of establishing a shared center for faculty development and enhancement of student engagement,” said Col. Andres Nazario, 17th Training Wing commander.

This MOU solidified a joint partnership between the 17th Training Group, Angelo State University, Howard College and San Angelo Independent School District, which enables professional development seminars and workshops to be hosted at available involved parties’ facilities.

With health and safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the signing took place via video-conference.

The city and base have more than 40 agreements in place that combine resources to reduce costs while retaining capabilities critical to their missions.

“One of our ongoing strategic approaches and narratives that we recognize on this base, is that there's no Goodfellow (AFB) without San Angelo,” Nazario said. “It is projects and initiatives like this, which actually make this a reality.”

Building from years of previous partnerships, ASU, Howard College, SAISD and Goodfellow AFB’s relationship has continued to strengthen over the years.

“We all have had a long history of working together,” said Dr. Cheryl Sparks, Howard College president. “This signing is just a combination of all those years. It’s always been about furthering opportunities for the students, the community and we are pleased to be a part of this exciting day.”

The 2018 National Defense Strategy directs for professional development, and the new agreement between Goodfellow AFB and San Angelo demonstrates just that.

“This signing actually directed time to our National Defense Strategy and our base mission,” Nazario said. “We are in the business of training, developing and inspiring the future force, and this MOU goes directly to that.”

Goodfellow AFB’s joint-force mission to develop professionals on behalf of the Department of Defense can’t be done without partnerships.

“This agreement opens opportunities for increased faculty professional development, peer mentoring and collaboration,” said Stephanie Grunze-Swanson, Air Force Community Partnership specialist. “It is a shared effort to meet each organization’s desire to develop passionate, dedicated instructors and faculty who create and develop the best instruction possible so as to enable students to succeed, develop and foster a passion for learning and development.”

Falling under Air Education and Training Command, Goodfellow AFB builds a more ready, resilient and rapidly innovative force by modernizing learning techniques.

“This agreement supports a shift away from the military paradigm of training,” Grunze-Swanson said. “It integrates modern methodologies through enabling access to shared resources in networks, synergy and diversity of thought.”

Though hopes to procure a physical and permanent location are in the near future, the significance of the building goes much deeper by allowing the partners to share existing space with one another.

“It’s more than a physical space, it’s a multilevel collaboration to build lifelong learners,” Nazario said. “It’s a key component to how we are approaching development at Goodfellow AFB. This is a great win for us here, a great win for our community and a great win for the Air Force.”

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