Waits looks to spread the word about county schools

Bryan Reynolds | State Journal

Kristen Waits is the Communication and Information Coordinator for Franklin County Schools. The position was created by the district after it was decided FCS wouldn’t wouldn’t make a new contract with Armando Arrastia after his contract expired on January 10, said FCS Superintendent Mark Kopp. Arrastia only worked 10 hours a week with FCS and it was decided the district should have a full-time communication coordinator heading into the future, Kopp said.

Kristen Waits, the former Franklin County Schools administrative assistant to the superintendent, has begun a new position — communication and information coordinator — after Armando Arrastia’s contract ended in January.

“It wasn’t because of the person; obviously we love Armando,” FCS Superintendent Mark Kopp said. “It was that we had Armando 10 hours a week as part of the contract. We needed to get something a little more full time, so we created the position because we just wanted a position of 40 hours a week, 240 days a year.”

Waits said her job is to attend every school event she can and to showcase all of the good FCS has to offer and what the district is doing for the community. The media tend to latch onto negative stories about school districts and her job is to inform the community of the good stuff the district does, she said.

She also has opportunities to plan district events like the new Collins Lane Elementary School open house.

Of the change in communications strategy for FCS, Arrastia told The State Journal: “Things change in every organization. Organizations need change over time and Mr. Kopp took a look at what he thought the district needed and I think he made a decision he thought was best for the district. I think Kristen will do a good job.”

Waits graduated from Western Hills High School in 2003 and has been working for FCS since attending college. She first attended the University of Kentucky and graduated from Midway University with a business degree.

Her first full-time job with the district was as a receptionist while attending college. She ended up moving on to accounts payable and for the past four years she’s been the administrative assistant before starting the communications position, she said.

“Before I started full time I actually worked part-time at The Early Learning Village for the after-school program,” Waits said. “When I got the job here full time, one of the things I missed most was the kids and seeing what the kids are doing. So, being out in the schools and seeing what’s going on really piqued my interest.”

Waits used to share an office with Kopp, but now she has her own office, which she doesn’t get to see much. FCS administrators want her to spend time in each school at least once a week to cover events at the schools, she said.

She has activated an Instagram social media account for photo and video sharing since she started the position last month.

“I felt like Instagram would maybe catch more attention from our students because I feel like that’s geared toward a younger crowd,” Waits said. “I felt like that was needed.”

Because she is still learning about the communications position, Waits doesn’t have any future plans except to look into improving the FCS website sometime during the summer.

“We need to be able to tell all of our community members and show them the wonderful opportunities in our district,” Kopp said. “Kristen brings a couple of important elements. She has an incredible knowledge of our district. She has a really sharp understanding of the use of social media and how to use it effectively.”

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