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April 18th, 2021

hometown inn articletyler parksNew USD 480 Communications Coordinator Tyler Parks stops for a photo at his desk at the USD 480 Central Office recently. Parks, who hails from Southwest Kansas, said he is excited to be working for the district. L&T photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Discussion had taken place earlier this year among the USD 480 school board about the hiring of a communications coordinator and recently, a hire was made in that position with Tyler Parks. 

As Parks tells it he is no stranger to Southwest Kansas, the education field, or the media field. 

“I'm originally from Elkhart. I went to college at Hays and then worked in Atlanta in film and TV, and then I came back here and worked at Seward County Community College for a year as an instructor,” Parks said. “Then I went back into the business world for a few years and now I'm back here at USD 480 as the communications coordinator. Growing up, I always liked school – never missed a day, always paid attention in class, that sort of thing. I was always a big fan of school and learning and being part of that atmosphere. That led me to my teaching post at SCCC and now here I am, back in education.”

Parks said he has been interested in media since working with some of that after graduating from college. 

“I've been working in media since I graduated from college, and I've done a little bit of everything in that field. I was the news editor of the school newspaper while in college,” Parks said. “I was also a sports writer for that paper, and then I got into broadcast stuff. This gives me the ability to do multiple tasks like taking photos and working with video and also getting back into writing.”

That interest, Parks said, sparked him into putting his name forward for the USD 480 communications coordinator position. 

“I'd heard about the position and pretty much immediately jumped at the opportunity to move back to this area and do what I enjoy doing, which is working in media,” Parks said. “After I heard about the position, I put my name up for consideration and then I had the interview with Dr. Carter and Mrs. Hickert and a few other of the administrators at the end of 2020. Then it was earlier this year when they reached out to me about accepting the position, and I officially started March 1. I was excited to come home to Southwest Kansas, this is where I'm from. I'm excited to be in a school district setting again, and I'm excited to be in the new district office building, that's really cool. I was really excited to come back and work with some people I know and be back in my neck of the woods.”

And there is certainly plenty of work to be done, Parks said. 

“I'd like to incorporate more video projects for the district to put out for the public, and just overall spread more awareness of what's going on throughout the district and in the school buildings,” Parks said. “That will also help us with our overall USD 480 brand and recruitment as far as getting new teachers and other employees to come here. Right now, we're in the process of ordering some new equipment. I'm also still in the process of getting to know the different school buildings better and the buildings' staffs and what their expectations of me are. I'm also working on what the district's expectations of me are, I'll be meeting with the school board Monday to get a better feel of what they'd like to see so I have a bit of a more defined path. It's a very big district for me, there are a lot of schools to familiarize myself with. Recruitment is also something big, I'm working with some of the administrators to see what are some of the different avenues they use to bring people here.”

With all that work to be done, Parks said it is important to keep parents and the rest of the community updated about the goings-on of the district. 

“Like anything else, it's important to spread the word about what we're doing and being transparent about the work that's going on, and it's great for us to be able to put out that information the way we'd like to so it’s clear,” Parks said. “It's important for us to be in control of the story, so to speak, so USD 480 parents and the rest of the community have the most accurate information possible straight from our mouth. Especially in the world of social media and the Internet, where rumors can spread like crazy, we want to be sure everyone has the actually accurate information and they're not hearing stuff from some random post online that might not be fully accurate.”

Parks added he is excited about being the district’s inaugural communications coordinator. 

“This is a new position, so it's a clean slate and I'll be doing a lot of learning about what this job will entail,” Parks said. “Working with all these new people has been great, I'm excited to keep working with them. Building something like this from the ground up is very exciting and helping build the USD 480 brand more and creating more awareness about what's going on around here. I've had the opportunity in my life to be part of building things from the ground up and making them my own, so I'm very excited to be doing that again. It's a little nerve-wracking, but it's also nice not having someone else's work hanging over me and I can start this afresh and build it the way the school board and the USD 480 administration see fit.”

Overall, Parks said, he is excited to be the newest member of the USD 480 administration family. 

“I'd like to thank the USD 480 school board and administration, Dr. Carter and Mrs. Hickert for the opportunity, and I hope we can work together and build an awareness of the USD 480 brand everyone can be proud of,” Parks said.

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