The Montclair School District will hire a Director of Communications and Community Engagement

With a $188 million referendum question slated for the November ballot and after months of complaints from families, staff and the teachers’ union about lack of communication, the Montclair School District is looking to improve its messaging and outreach. community.

On August 8, the district released a job posting for an executive director of communications and community engagement — to be filled “as soon as possible”.

The director will develop and guide “a communications program whose strategies and initiatives support district operational and learning goals and communicate district achievements,” according to the listing.

The individual will serve “as a liaison between the school district and parents, students, staff, community members, supporters, and public and private organizations.”

The duties of the director are divided into three categories: leadership, public relations and community involvement.

The director will oversee the communications program by setting annual goals, “managing communications within the district and between the district and the community to tell the story of district accomplishments and opportunities,” and improving “the accountability of district to the public by being a trustworthy actor”. source of information, keeping lines of communication open and building relationships that support students.

The individual will “maintain effective relations with the public” by managing all media relations, “including the production and distribution of press releases, press conferences, proactive engagement of all media, including prompt response to press requests for comment and public information requests.” In addition, he or she will “support and assist” the school board, Superintendent of Schools Jonathan Ponds, and district leaders by “facilitating communications between the council, the administration, the district community and the media”.

During the 2021-22 school year, the Montclair Local has been instructed to send all inquiries regarding district matters directly to Ponds.

Finally, the Director will “support and build on parent, family and caregiver outreach programs” by integrating community outreach into communication programs, and creating and implementing “practices and initiatives to outreach that align with, are informed by, and support the work of the PTA Council and other school and community organizations. »

Successful candidates will have “at least 7-10 years of experience as a public information officer, including experience in media relations, public relations and publishing operations, including development and electronic distribution,” the listing reads.

The individual will report to Ponds. The list does not include a salary scale.

In June, The leadership of the Montclair Education Association called on the district for lack of communication – not responding to emails regarding budget and its impact, providing unclear instructions for policies and coronavirus informing teachers of an optional policy remotely during the winter holidays, just days before its implementation.

“To those who tried to pull me back, to those who knew how it would turn out, to those who saw the foreshadowing and impending doom that I chose to ignore, I step forward and admit that I was wrong,” union president Cathy Kondreck said. said at the June 1 meeting.

Parents and community members have consistently spoken out about inadequate communication during the 2021-22 school year. They questioned frequent schedule revisions, including a change to the first day of school, 83 staff non-renewals announced in Maya week after Ponds said 26 teachers and an undisclosed number of paraprofessionals would not be renewed, and District Implemented COVID-19 Mitigation Measures.

In July, the neighborhood too posted a job offer for a public relations consultantto assist Ponds “in the preparation and dissemination of information about the district and its accomplishments to the council, the media and the public”.

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