LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens has named Allison Gardner Martin as the district’s Chief of Communications and Community Relations, effective Jan. 14, 2016.

That's according to a news release from JCPS. 

The cabinet-level position is responsible for media relations, community relations, the district’s website and social media management and has an annual salary of $130,792. 

Martin has been chief of staff and communications director for Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway since January 2008. Prior to that, she served as deputy communications director for Mayor Jerry Abramson for three years, as a general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor at WLKY television in Louisville, and as a news anchor and reporter at WBKO television in Bowling Green.

While at the Mayor’s office, she assisted in creating the Kindergarten Countdown program and the Mayor’s Top Apple awards to promote the Every 1 Reads initiative.

“Martin is a passionate supporter of public education and a highly experienced communicator who has great familiarity with JCPS, both as a parent and through her work overseeing education communications for the Mayor’s office,” said Hargens. “She is dedicated to reinforcing JCPS’ strong foundation of trust and productive relationships with parents, teachers, partners, volunteers and other members of the community.”

Martin earned a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University.

Interim JCPS spokesperson Bonnie Hackbarth will continue serving JCPS until Martin is on board in January, Hargens said.

“Bonnie Hackbarth very quickly became a fully committed and highly valued member of the JCPS team, we regard her as a tremendous asset, and we are grateful for her outstanding public service here,” Hargens said.

“Her integrity is beyond question and she has invigorated our communications program and laid strong background for moving forward.”

Martin says she is very excited about the opportunity to help promote JCPS.

"I have always been a public schools advocate," she told WDRB in an interview Wednesday. "I come from a family of educators and my two children attend JCPS."

Martin says she has seen "first hand how education can change someone's life."

"There is magic taking place every day in JCPS," she said. "People have become too focused on isolated incidents when every day, the vast majority of students are going to school and doing the right thing."

Martin says she looks forward to working with the media and the community to "tell the stories of the principals and teachers who are changing lives every day."

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