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School District’s chief of staff takes on expanded role

Updated Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 | 11:48 a.m.

Clark County Schools chief of staff Kirsten Searer also will take on the role of chief communications officer.

Searer, who was hired by former superintendent Dwight Jones in 2011, will now be the chief of staff and external relations. In her new, expanded role, Searer will work closely with Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky and his cabinet, as well as oversee the district's communications office.

Skorkowsky announced the change in title and responsibilities through a news release today. The news comes nearly a week after Amanda Fulkerson, the district's chief communications officer, announced her plans to resign at the end of this month.

"Our focus is to provide the best education to every student in our district. It's a big job, and in order to do that, we must have a meaningful dialogue with our parents, employees, students and community," Skorkowsky said in a statement. "Searer's experience in journalism, public relationships and community outreach will help us engage in a conversation about how we move forward together to ensure student success."

Prior to joining the School District, Searer was director of public relations and communications for the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Before that, she was a communications director in Nevada with the 2008 Obama campaign. Searer came to Las Vegas in 2004 to work as a political reporter for the Las Vegas Sun.

"I am excited to lead the efforts of the communications office as we help express the vision of our board of trustees and Superintendent Skorkowsky," Searer said in a statement. "Our focus will be to serve the needs of every one of our students, and to have a back-and-forth exchange with our employees, parents and community."

Searer's new position is effective immediately. School District officials did not release a salary figure for Searer's new position, but because she is taking on more responsibilities, it is likely she will be getting a raise.

As the chief communications officer, Fulkerson had a base salary of $136,216. As chief of staff, Searer had a base salary of $120,508, according to the district.

Searer's promotion comes just days after Skorkowsky last week announced a reorganization of his cabinet. Instead of having one deputy superintendent of public instruction, Skorkowsky will have one deputy superintendent and four chiefs who will report to him on academic matters.

Each of the new deputy and chiefs are likely to get raises, but Skorkowsky said the reorganization would be "cost neutral" because of retirements and resignations that would no longer be filled. For example, Searer's former position will be eliminated.

Last week, Skorkowsky, who was appointed to his position by the School Board amid widespread support from employee unions, also pushed for raises for support staff employees. The raises, which will cost the district $2.5 million over the next two years, come after years of budget cutbacks.

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