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JCPS restructures communications department

JCPS restructures communications department

April 18th, 2018 by Phillip Sitter in Local News

Jefferson City Public Schools (JCPS)

Jefferson City Public Schools is restructuring its communications department, resulting in a related job opening.

The school district's current central office department of the Office of School-Community Relations has Amy Berendzen as the district's director of school-community relations and Mallory McGowin as communications and marketing specialist.

McGowin said Tuesday there used to be a third position in the department — an executive assistant. She said the person who held that position transitioned to serve in a part-time capacity after her retirement in June 2016; she continued to work part time until the second semester of the current school year.

That's when some of the conversation about restructuring started, McGowin said.

"We just want to make sure that we have clear expectations for each of our departments. One area we've looked at is our school and community relations department, with regards to the responsibilities, the titles and so forth," Superintendent Larry Linthacum told the Board of Education at its February meeting.

He said Tuesday the restructuring in the communications department is the latest in a series of such reviews and alterations, including changes in the past year of creating the district's chief of learning position and a districtwide activities director.

He said the restructurings are about asking if the departments are set up the way they need to be to ensure JCPS can become the state's premier school district.

Linthacum emphasized the communications department in particular will have to be more proactive given the anticipated increase in events and activities with the addition of Capital City High School.

Berendzen said Tuesday that her current position of director of school-community relations is being eliminated and will be replaced by the position of director of communications. A second new position — manager of public relations — has been offered to her, she said.

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Linthacum said Berendzen helped create the position of public relations manager and described its responsibilities as leading the district's "difference maker" initiative, duties with the Miller Performing Arts Center, and playing a supporting role with developing social media and the district's website.

Berendzen and McGowin said the title and responsibilities of communications and marketing specialist will remain the same.

Linthacum said April 6 that no contracts or salaries had been finalized.

Berendzen's salary for the current school year is $98,575.

Applications for the director of communications position opened April 2.

The position's responsibilities include serving as the primary media contact for the school district; training senior leaders and principals in communication strategies; supervising and evaluating the communications department; JCPS Foundation and Miller Performing Arts Center staff; development of "brand identity" for the district; and serving as a liaison with joint community-school district programs and partnerships.

The district lists a four-year college degree; 10 or more years of experience in communications, public relations or marketing; five or more years of supervisory experience; and a "specific knowledge of Missouri School Communications" as preferred experience for the new position.

Linthacum said the position of director of communications will remain open until it's filled.