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State of the District Address

Angelica, Billy and Kirk interview with the Director of Communication and Marketing to explore
the communicating key messages within the political climate.
E. Political Influence and Governance
1. Exhibit an understanding of school districts as a political system, including
governance models;

Demonstrate the ability to align constituencies in support of priorities and build

coalitions for programmatic and financial support.

Please give us an overview of your job as Director of Communication and Marketing.

Julie Schultz Brown heads up the department of communication and marketing and has twelve
people on her team. Her job is to tell the district's story to students, families, staff and the
community about our purpose and progress. She needs to be aware of anticipating and
"getting out in front" of the collective narrative in order to inform and influence that narrative.
She needs to understand the superintendent, the essence of her beliefs and actions. This
allows her to follow the superintendent's lead in strategic planning and to craft the messages
that capture it.

What was the process you used to craft the key messages at the State of the District
Address in order to build unity and political support from The Board, funders, community
members, and all constituents?
The writing process is bounced back and forth from the superintendent to Julie's interpretation
of it, and back and forth to allow the message to be distilled into its most impactful form. Much
time and practice is also taken to hone the delivery of the message as well to allow the
audience to receive it in a passionate and meaningful way.
When the superintendent shares and listens to the community, she learns so much and so does
the community. Each better understand how they can support the mission for the community
and how they are interdependent with the community. Chief Executive Officer Michelle Walker
has her eye on framing the messages for political support. Everything is thought out with the
idea of how this might be received by the public and what action steps to take to allow for
maximum understanding and support . Attention to the funders, what information they are
receiving and the relationship with them is planned.
Taking many angles to solving a problem, not being bound by a construct of how something has
been done before, this is the key to analyzing a particular issue and communicating it well.

We know when change towards racial equity and reform of the educational environment
happens, there will always be resistance. What resistance do you pay attention to and
how do you use it to refine communication of district priorities?

The things going on at Ramsey is a clear example of that. Its a lot about racism and getting
systems in order and its hard to tell which is which. perception that kids are getting away with
things with no consequences. We ask the community: are there no consequences or ineffective
consequences? In dealing with resistance, how does one recognize that safety is a code for
discomfort with black kids or a lack of understanding in how to meet the needs of black and
brown students? Then we need to work together to expand the collective community's view of
the black students beyond what they currently see and work for solutions with parents, teachers,
principals, etc. The Superintendent will admit the mistakes we've made and still stays engaged
to move the work forward in a better way. She's tries to truly understand the community. The
Superintendent never misses an opportunity. She always knows the goal of her message and
her mission.