District 225 appoints veteran to new communications position
The District 225 communications depth chart just got deeper.
The Glenbrook High Schools District 225 board on Monday approved the hiring of Carol Smith as executive director of communications and community engagement effective this July 1.
A communications, public relations and marketing professional in private and public environments for nearly 30 years, Smith currently is director of communications and community relations for St. Charles Community Unit School District 303, where she's been since July 2017.
Introducing the hire for the newly created executive director position, District 225 Superintendent Charles Johns said, "communication both internal and external for the district is a key driver for the work that we want to get done as a school district."
It will be well-positioned when Smith arrives with the 2022-23 school year. She'll head a staff that will have not one but two communications managers, Christina Salonikas and the recently hired David Olson.
Receptionist Alice Kus will be part of the communications team, switched out of human resources. Freelance communications consultant Faith Behr also has helped District 225 this school year and in the past.
Smith, the 2020-21 president of the Illinois chapter of the National School Public Relations Association and a vice chair of the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce Industrial Committee, said she connected with Johns in March concerning the position.
"During that meeting it took me about 12 minutes to realize that this is where I wanted to be," she told the board on Monday.
Smith said she "felt welcomed" when meeting with the communications team and in an interview with Johns and District 225 board member Michelle Seguin.
"I'm excited to meet the students, staff members, parents and community members at both high schools as well as representatives from community organizations, because those voices are so important and imperative to the work of the communications department," she said.
Her LinkedIn profile noted Smith is a 1981 graduate of Riverside-Brookfield High School with a bachelor's degree in speech communication from Illinois State University.
Eight years as director of communications for Springfield Public Schools started a career in education that included positions with Township High School District 113 for Deerfield and Highland Park, Woodstock Community Unit District 300 and for Fenton High School in Bensenville.
She's also worked in marketing or communications for private companies, including regional director of communications for Presence Health in Des Plaines, according to her LinkedIn site.
Johns noted that Smith has won 12 communications awards from the National School Public Relations Association.
Her appointment was unanimously approved by a 5-0 vote.
"We want to be a place where our communications are trusted, and they're prompt and they're accurate, and people know this is the place to turn and they know that messages are getting out in a way that continues to support our students and our families and our staff," said District 225 board President Bruce Doughty.
"We have all the confidence in the world that you will help fulfill these roles for us and we're very excited for you to join us in this endeavor."