JCPS adds Daniel Kemp to communications staff - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS adds Daniel Kemp to communications staff

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools has hired Daniel Kemp as a communications generalist.

Kemp, who most recently worked for former Attorney General Jack Conway, will help coordinate social media and produce video content for the district's website and cable segments and will also help with media events and inquiries. 

He started his new job Monday and will earn a $75,000 salary, plus benefits.

Kemp, who also worked on Conway's 2015 gubernatorial campaign, was previously a reporter at WLKY in Louisville and WBKO in Bowling Green.

The communications generalist position has been vacant since May 2015 when Mandy Simpson notified JCPS she was leaving effective May 22.

This is the second hire under Allison Martin, who took over as district’s chief of communications and community relations on Jan. 14. Martin was previously the chief of staff and communications director for Conway.

Martin previously announced the hiring of Jennifer Brislin as deputy communications officer for JCPS. Brislin recently served on the communications staff of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.

"We are in the process of reorganizing the communications department so that we can become more effective," Martin told WDRB. "We are looking at all of the needs and addressing them. We are trying to become more proactive, instead of being reactive. It's about providing our schools the response and support that they need."

JCPS had contracted with Guthrie Mayes Public Relations on an interim contract from August through January.

The communications department has been the subject of restructuring and turnover since 2012, when Hargens froze or eliminated 89 central office positions as part of an administrative reorganization. The department has also been plagued with inconsistency over the past three years.

The previous chief communications officer, Helene Kramer, was notified in May that her one-year contract was not being renewed.

Kramer, who was named chief communications and community relations officer last August, was the subject of one district investigation in 2014 centered around making inappropriate comments about another employee. 

In March 2012, Hargens announced the hiring of Jamilah Fraser, a former chief communications officer with the Philadelphia Public School District, to be the district's chief diversity, community relations and communications officer.

However, after questions were raised about Fraser's background and qualifications, Fraser sent a letter to Hargens saying she would not accept the job.

In May 2012, Hargens announced that longtime district spokeswoman Lauren Roberts' position as public information officer was being eliminated. Roberts, who made $129,000, took a $10,000 pay cut and was given a job in the district's human resources department. She was fired two months later.

Christi Lanier-Robinson was hired as communications chief in 2012 and then had her contract not renewed by JCPS in 2014.

It was later revealed in a WDRB investigation that JCPS paid Roberts $200,000 in August 2013 to settle a dispute over how she left the district. As part of that settlement, Roberts' firing was supposed to be changed to a resignation, but school board wasn't made aware of the settlement or change until last fall. 

Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

Copyright 2016 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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