Duty Station: Whidbey-Island-NAS
Number of Deployments: 4
Number of PCS's: 3
About the nominee: Professionally speaking, I am an educator. I spent 18 years serving in public schools as a teacher and, eventually, middle and high school principal. I left my last school over 3 years ago and started my own consulting business in order to create the opportunity to support principals and teachers all over the country. After 3 years of consulting privately, I recently took a position with the National Institute for School Leadership where I am heading up the efforts to support principals all over the state of CA in order to improve the education of our kids. Personally speaking, I am the mom of 6 kids – we have a blended family and our kids range in age from 9-26 and are spread out all over with our adult kids in FL and WA, 1 in VA in college, and our 3 youngest with us. To say our life is crazy and hectic is an understatement but we love it! Raising kids in a blended family is challenging, even more so while living this Navy life but we wouldn’t have it any other way. One key characteristic I try to model for all of our kids is a constant sense of responsibility for giving back to your community. Whether you live somewhere for 2 months or 2 years, you CAN make a difference in the world around you. I was nominated for MSOY specifically for committing my "give back" energy to the Family Readiness Group organization(s) on base at NASWI. I started by jumping into lead my squadron's FRG (funny story, when I arrived at NASWI and called to ask our then CMC how I could help, he suggested the FRG to which I said "What's a FRG?"...yeah, we've come a long way!) and then branched out to participate with our Officer Spouses Club and the base Officer Spouses Club. More and more I came to understand that across all lines - enlisted and officer - there is one simple constant - Family. My sense of urgency to support families grew from there until I took the lead for our base FRG organization (NASWI FRGs). Ultimately I knew that my time, my heart, my experience could best be used by serving all families, across all commands, new to veteran, young to old, single Sailors to huge families. My path was set and I haven't looked back.
Hobbies: Reading, hiking, anything that has to do with the beach:)
Interesting Facts: I guess I'm unusual in that I came to this Navy life later in life myself. My husband and I were married just 3 years ago. The benefit to that for me is that I immediately was able to be a resource to other spouses and families - my general life and professional experience prepared me well to be a support.
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? I’ve learned so much as a military spouse, but the most important thing has to be that we are better, more successful, happier when we seek out other military spouses and navigate this crazy life together. Solitude is not your friend in the military world. Reaching out to those around you, in big and small ways, can be the difference between a family that sinks and one that swims.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? One of the most important issues facing military families is having a representative "voice" at the table when it comes to family resources and support. For example, the Family Readiness Group (FRG) model in the Navy world is a nice idea on paper because it provides a potential framework for families to use to build a community in each duty station. That said, it is difficult to put into reality without high-quality, thoughtful, adult-centered training to get it done. I learned very quickly upon my arrival at our first duty station as a married couple, that most spouses who try to get involved with FRGs don't have the experience or training necessary to be successful. These folks have the biggest hearts and are willing to give the time - all that is missing is a framework for them to follow that includes an emphasis on training for basic leadership skills, how to run a board, etc. Likewise, we've demonstrated that with this type of training and ongoing mentorship opportunities, families can flourish and begin to feel like they have a voice in their community.
What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? Simply stated, it is an honor to be in a military family, to know that you are contributing to your spouse's ability to serve his/her country well.
What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? The Military Spouse of the Year title would give me an opportunity to put into practice on a larger scale some of the work we've done at NAS Whidbey. It would be a privilege to work along side spouses in other military branches and from duty stations all around the world to collaborate on groundbreaking ways to build and sustain Family Readiness Groups everywhere.
Reasons for nominating:
Janice is relatively new to navy -- three years married to a naval officer. She is a former high school principal and operates her own corporate consulting and training business. Upon checking into her first and only command, she took an interest in establishing and developing an Family Readiness Group (FRG) for the families in her command. She sought me out for direction. Realizing the talent she has, I immediately put her to work as a Fleet and Family Support Center volunteer to not only build her own FRG, but to train, nurture, and mentor other FRG leaders to be more efficient, confident, and empowered to do the same. In 2016, she was instrumental in increasing the installation's FRG growth by a margin of 43%. She conducted training of new FRG officers during four FRG training courses. She designed and conducted four leadership and conflict resolution workshops for twenty-four participants each session. She also influenced the success of two base-wide children's events. Her efforts, her engaging personality, and the support she shows for her spouse and the hard-working men and women of the Navy and their families are legendary throughout the Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing. Janice Case is a natural choice for Military Spouse of the Year. -- Jim Reynolds, Colleague