Humboldt County Office of Education: Communications Manager/Public Information Officer

Notice: In July 2022 HCOE classified job descriptions were re-classified. We are working to get the classifications changed on individual job descriptions. A PDF mapping these changes can be found here. For questions please contact the HCOE Personnel Office at (707) 445-7039.

HCOE Job Description

Communications Manager/Public Information Officer

Position Summary

Under the direction and general supervision of the Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools (Superintendent), provides leadership and direction for public relations and marketing programs, community engagement, media relations, internal and external communications, and corporate and governmental relations on a local, state, and national basis. Serves as public relations counsel to the Superintendent and Leadership staff. Communicates the vision, mission, goals, objectives, results, and challenges to parents, staff, and the community. Assists with coordinating policies and procedures that promote and maintain effective relationships and understanding between the county office, our districts and community. Provides leadership and direction for the effective and efficient day-to-day operations of communications center staff, print shop production, and project management. Coordinates all public relations  and develops local and regional partnerships to support community engagement and student achievement.

Examples of Duties

  • Communicate and represent the county office vision, mission and goals, internally and externally, as designated by the Superintendent.
  • Build and maintain public support for public education and the school system in collaboration with the Superintendent and administration.
  • Develop, direct, and evaluate the county office public relations, marketing, communications, and community engagement strategy; execute effective campaigns/programs on a local, state, and national basis, with major emphasis on employee communications and communications between the county office and the community.
  • Serve as public relations counsel and advisor to the Superintendent.
  • Provide professional public relations counsel and assistance to administration.
  • Identify community issues and concerns, and develop strategies for dealing effectively and proactively with community issues and concerns; interact with diverse stakeholder groups, and represent the Superintendent as needed.
  • Serve as the Superintendent’s representative and liaison to community leaders and groups when directed.
  • Plan and administer countywide functions as designated by the Superintendent.
  • Develop and monitor program’s annual objectives, performance measures, and budgets.
  • Administer and follow up on monthly billing of print shop jobs. Process monthly, quarterly and year end reports.
  • Manage, set priorities and evaluate staff within the communications center.
  • Manage full-scale print shop (assess equipment needs and maintenance, review contracts, and keep track of paper inventory and supplies).
  • Stay up to date on trends and evaluate needs and changes for equipment, pricing structures, and software and printing efficiencies.
  • Develop communication strategies, tactics, and action plans for all major countywide initiatives, and serve as a public relations consultant to districts, key committees and task forces.
  • Work collaboratively with administrators, staff members, and community volunteers in planning/developing public relations programs and strategies for both one-way and two-way communications with diverse constituents.
  • Serve as a liaison between the county office and the media, and serve as the county office public information officer.
  • Develop, coordinate, and monitor the crisis communication plan and implementation.
  • Organize press conferences and the release of news and information to the media and the public.
  • Develop and maintain working relationships with community leaders, organizations, and members of the media.
  • Develop processes and systems for garnering public input, feedback and support on key initiatives and issues.
  • Develop and maintain brand image, positioning, and messaging for the county office.
  • Develop countywide advertising and public relations campaigns and collateral materials to market county office programs.
  • Manage the development and production of county office news and marketing communications, including print and electronic publications, collateral materials, presentations, website content, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, new media productions, advertising, media relations, and television broadcasts for staff and the community.
  • Provide training on variety of topics, including public engagement, marketing, and media.
  • Develop, manage, and set guidelines for use of mass notification systems.
  • Coordinate and develop local and regional partnerships to support community engagement in vital county office initiatives and to improve student achievement.
  • Oversee volunteer initiatives to increase volunteers and resources to HCOE programs and local districts.
  • Keep abreast of innovative trends in curriculum and instructional delivery, students’ success, educational research, school improvement and family and community involvement.
  • Provide appropriate professional development opportunities for staff on communication best practices.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Employment Standards

Knowledge of:

  • Current public education trends, issues, and research.
  • Current technology and best practices in public relations, marketing, communications, community relations, and public affairs.
  • Brown Act, laws related to freedom of press and free access to public information.
  • Communication with diverse stakeholder groups.
  • Correct English usage, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and vocabulary.
  • County office organization, operations, policies, laws and objectives.
  • Interpersonal skills using tact, patience, and courtesy.
  • Effective oral and written communication skills, including public speaking.
  • Principles and practices of management, supervision, training, and budgeting.
  • Evaluation approaches, strategies, and techniques.
  • Community relations and outreach.
  • Crisis management.
  • Leadership messaging.
  • Conflicts of interest and privacy rights.
  • FERPA and campus access rights.

Ability to:

  • Develop and implement comprehensive public relations strategies and activities.
  • Generate print, social, and broadcast media coverage.
  • Translate education objectives into broad terms of public understanding and circulation.
  • Maintain confidentiality of county office information.
  • Prepare and deliver oral presentations.
  • Serve as a spokesperson for the county office.
  • Establish and maintain cooperative and effective working relationships with others.
  • Work independently with little direction.
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
  • Read, interpret, apply, and explain rules, regulations, policies, and procedures.
  • Analyze situations accurately, and adopt an effective course of action.
  • Plan and organize work to meet schedules and timelines.
  • Prepare comprehensive narrative and statistical reports.
  • Supervise and evaluate the performance of assigned staff.
  • Operate a computer and related software and technologies.
  • Meet state and district standards of professional conduct as outlined in Board Policy.

Education and Experience Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, English, public relations, journalism, marketing, or related field.
  • Qualifying experience may be substituted for education on a year-for-year basis.
  • Four years’ experience in public relations and marketing management strategy development, preferably with experience communicating complex/sensitive issues to the public-at-large. Experience in a public education setting is desirable.
  • Must be fingerprinted with a satisfactory DOJ records check.
  • TB testing will be required upon employment.
  • Must have normal vision, corrected or uncorrected.
  • May be required to obtain first aid and CPR certifications within first 6 months of employment.
  • May be required to drive for work. Must have a current CA driver’s license, and proof of insurance.

Physical Abilities

  • Occasional lifting, carrying, pushing and/or pulling;
  • Some climbing and balancing, some stooping, kneeling, crouching; reaching, handling, touching and/or feeling;
  • Manual dexterity to operate a telephone and enter data into a computer;
  • Sit at a desk, conference table, or in meetings of various configurations for extended periods of time;
  • Hear and understand speech at normal room levels and hear and understand speech on the telephone;
  • Speak in audible tones so that others may understand clearly in normal conversations.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. Employees in this position will be required to work indoors in a standard office environment and come in direct contact with district staff and the public.

Range 4

Administration Office

Natalie Carrigan
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent

Press Inquiries

Natalie Carrigan
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent