Ypsilanti schools' Emma Jackson to become PR director at WISD as longtime employee retires after 25 years
Ypsilanti schools’ public relations director is leaving to fill the same position at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, after a longtime employee retires.
Emma Jackson, who has been with Ypsilanti Public Schools for about seven years, will have her last day on June 8. Gerri Allen, the WISD’s current PR director, is retiring at the end of June.
Allen has worked for the WISD since 1987. For the 2010-11 school year, the last year Allen was full-time, her salary was $102,700, according to school officials.
If approved, Jackson will be hired at an annual salary of $89,520.60, school officials said. She currently makes $63,240 at Ypsilanti.
Jackson said while there are a number of similarities between her current role at YPS and the role she will fill at the WISD, it will be on more of a “global” scale.
“Instead of one district, the focus is broader,” she said. “There will be an emphasis placed on what is going on at the state level and informing districts of its impact. I also will be promoting a variety of programs that touch most of the districts in the county.
"I am looking forward to this natural progression in my career," she added.
Ypsilanti Superintendent Dedrick Martin described Jackson’s departure as “a huge loss" for the district and "a great gain for the WISD.”
He said Ypsilanti will not be filling Jackson’s position because of the district's current financial situation. As a result, the WISD and Ann Arbor Public Schools will be the only public school systems to have public relations directors next year.
“Because of her, people have an elevated expectation of communication and response time that doesn’t typically happen in a district our size,” he said. “We are going to try to split up her responsibilities as much as possible.
“(Jackson) did a lot to help us elevate the image and the brand of an Ypsilanti public education through some very difficult years for us — both financially and academically," Martin continued. " At a time when we would like to explore consolidation (with Willow Run) it is going to be a challenge for us, as we try to downsize and communicate the best we can It is clearly going to be a big loss.”
Jackson said it was a privilege to serve Ypsilanti Public Schools, and she intends to continue to work closely with both Ypsilanti and Willow Run throughout the potential consolidation.
“There are many dedicated, genuine and caring people in Ypsilanti and I will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to work along side of them and to tell their story,” she said.
The WISD has played a key role in facilitating merger discussions from the beginning, and Jackson anticipates that will continue and that she will be aiding communication efforts around the possible merger in the near future.