Chief of Communications and Community Engagement | Rocklin Unified School District
What does a typical day look like?
After grabbing a cup of coffee each morning, I scan the local and national headlines to forecast and anticipate trends that are impacting schools locally or regionally so I can be proactive in any possible situation that may arise. I provide counsel to my Superintendent and Cabinet colleagues on how to effectively reach target audiences to deliver the best educational outcomes. I utilize multiple communication tools throughout each day to reach the largest audience possible. There is no typical workday when it comes to school PR. Crises are always in dormant mode until they’re not. And it’s prudent to always be prepared to lead in those situations to provide the best service for colleagues, schools, students, and families.
What do you like most about what you do?
I left TV News nearly 12 years ago, but I never stopped telling stories. There are thousands of story ideas an arms-reach away. The best part of my role is highlighting students’ “ah-ha!” moments, how teachers are delivering educational excellence each day, and how Rocklin Unified continues to provide services and resources to best serve students in and out of the classroom. Aside from this, the equity and inclusivity work that I am committed to is the most important and fulfilling work. When parents directly reach out to me regarding an unfortunate incident that their child experienced at school, it is important to help connect them to the correct persons to assist in the matter. However, when families of minority students prefer to work with me to assist them about the concern, it’s crucial to hear them compassionately and to do a warm hand-off (and to follow up throughout the process) to reiterate the priority our district has in ensuring each student (and family) feels safe and welcome at school. Talking about “equity and inclusivity work” is common but walking the talk and delivering the results is something I am committed to doing each day for all students.
What do you find most challenging?
The most challenging aspects of what I do are also the ones that I learn most from. In the current socio-political climate, there are times that are challenging to sit through certain very-polarizing school board meetings (during the height of the pandemic and post-pandemic). However, any contentious meetings are opportunities for successful communication professionals to lead to help steer the tone into a positive direction.
How long have you been in the profession and what was your path to school PR?
I’ve been in school PR for seven years. Previously, I was in Tech PR in San Francisco writing press releases and news pitches about microcontrollers, LaserJet printers, and computers. My professional communication career began as a TV reporter in southern West Virginia. I obtained my Bachelor’s of Arts degree in TV/Radio from San Francisco State University and will receive my Master’s of Science degree in Strategic Communications from Purdue University in May 2023.
What advice do you have for new PR professionals?
There will be naysayers throughout your whole career. They will try to bring you down, but be brave. Retain your authenticity. Be you. Value your team and the stakeholders you serve. Be curious. In your day-to-day functioning, remember to keep an open mind, be kind and appreciate different perspectives.
The Rocklin Unified School District ensures each student becomes a well-rounded individual who thrives intellectually and develops unique strengths to pursue and achieve personal ambitions while contributing to a dynamic world. Rocklin Unified serves nearly 12,000 students and their families each year.