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CPS School Board creates new district position

September 1, 2018

Columbus Public Schools’ Board of Education during a recently held special meeting approved the creation of a new position consolidating a unique set of district roles.

With a 5-0 unanimous vote – board member Doug Willoughby wasn’t in attendance – the governing body officially gave approval for the job posting of a new CPS Marketing/Foundation director.

“I think that most people think it’s a good idea,” said Candy Becher, vice president of the Board. “We did have one member who thought marketing should be its own position, that it might be too difficult to do both of these. But I think it was explained that there is not the money.”

With Columbus Public Schools Foundation Director Kim Kwapnioski resigning approximately three weeks ago to pursue a job opportunity with Congressman Jeff Fortenberry’s office, the new job calls for management of the district’s tax-deductible donations alongside promoting and sharing the desirable accomplishments and strides being made in classrooms district-wide.

Columbus Public Schools Superintendent Troy Loeffelholz said the job models positions already implemented in public school districts encompassing Grand Island, Millard, Papillion and Ralston.

“The Foundation really is someone who goes out and markets your school district,” Loeffelholz said. “We allude to Kim, who was doing an excellent job marketing our school district by representing the Foundation … The positions I look at as really being intertwined.”

On the marketing side, the hired employee will be responsible for portraying the positive things happening throughout the district by managing social media platforms, generating photo and video packages and promoting the district’s brand: The Discoverer Way.

The brand promotes ideas and concepts like safety, responsibility, respect and integrity – all those different components, the superintendent said.

He spoke about frequently visiting classrooms and hearing about something great a student accomplished, or a classroom benchmark being reached and hearing about it after the fact.

“We will find out about it a couple days later and report on it, maybe getting pictures of kids, or whatever,” he said. “But it would be nice to get that story out there in front of it rather than behind it and really tell our story of what it is. That is what this person will be doing. Being that hub, so to speak.”

Marketing goes hand-in-hand with at least a portion of Foundation responsibilities because networking is an integral part of communicating what Columbus Public Schools accomplishes.

Whoever takes over as CPS Marketing/Foundation director must have the ability to bridge both marketing and Foundation responsibilities into a unified package to best represent the district. When this is accomplished students directly benefit by having a spotlight shine on their good work while also benefiting from dollars that don’t affect the yearly state aid formula.

“We are an equalized school district. Just like Fremont, the Millards and the Papillions, we are landlocked by (assessed) valuation. So anytime we can raise funds to enhance our educational opportunities I think we are just that much further ahead.”

Loeffelholz said he believes the new position will find its balance and enhance the district as a whole. He also said the new marketing position allows teachers’ good work to be showcased without them having to deviate from their core principles.

“You don’t always hear about all the good things,” he said. “As educators, we just aren’t wired to brag about ourselves. So we just need to do a better job of promoting the great things we do.”

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at Sam.Pimper@lee.net.

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