Meet R-IV’s new communications director: Jenny James Hayward
Tue, 08/15/2023 - 2:51pm admin
The Willow Springs R-IV School District has a communications director for the first time. To help introduce Mrs. Jenny James Hayward to the community, Howell County News asked the following questions.
1. What is your official title, and how would you describe your role in the school district?
My official title is the Director of Communications for the Willow Springs School District, and my role is to plan and conduct the district's public relations/marketing strategy. I will be helping all the functions of the school district to convey timely and important information to the community.
2. Where are you from, and do you have any local family?
I grew up in Kearney, Missouri, but Willow always felt like home to me as my family roots in the area go back seven generations to the earliest of settlers on the North Fork River, to include the Topaz Mill, and early developers of the town of Willow Springs. I am the daughter of Mark James who graduated in the class of ‘74. My uncles are Charlie James (class of 68) and Doug James (class of 65) and my aunt is Judy James (class of 61). My grandfather was Herb James and grandmother was "Dode" James, who both graduated in 1939 and lived off 76 Highway on the James Farm, where I grew up visiting. My great-grandfather was Jesse James, the founder of James Chevrolet, which was then operated by my great-uncle, Lyle James. My grandma James' side of the family was the Austins and Sass's, to include Christian (my great-great-grandad) and Frank Sass (my great-great-uncle) who built several of the old brick buildings on Main Street and ran businesses in downtown Willow to include the first bank in Willow and the Star Theater.
My current family in the Willow area include Matt and Jimalee James and their daughters Megan and Lindsey, David James and his son Robert, Katie James Montgomery, Pat Stuart and several others who I have not had the privilege to meet yet.
My brother, Austin James, is a state trooper in Webster County. My dad and stepmother, Jan Rippee James, live at Lake of the Ozarks. My mother, Debra James, still resides in Kearney.
3. Tell us a little about yourself.
I have been in the communications/marketing/broadcast industry for over five years where I spent a lot of my time working for professional sports teams and collegiate teams. When I'm not watching sports, you can find me on a hiking trail, in a kayak on the river with my husband, snuggling on the couch with my dogs, or at the lake with my family. I am passionate about my faith, the Ozarks, and working hard to be the best that I can be.
4. What is the first big project you're hoping to accomplish in this new role?
A couple of the first big projects I am looking to accomplish are highlighting and promoting the exciting new programs/facilities that are coming to the school district. The school district has recently acquired the old MoDot buildings and is turning them into a career and technical education (CTE) facility that will house several programs including Bear Media, carpentry, aviation, agriculture, criminal justice and more.
5. What can parents and students expect to see change now? What will largely stay the same?
The community can expect to see more consistent and timely information coming from the school district. There will also be an increase in promotion of our school district by recognizing the great achievements of our staff/students and highlighting the programs/services that our school district has to offer. The messaging channels will stay the same (social media, website, app, text, email, phone call), but we will be exploring new options such as newsletters and mailed materials to make sure we are reaching everyone in the community. The community can also expect collaboration, as I believe that building relationships and networking with others is essential.
6. Which part of your job are you most excited about at this moment?
I would say I am most excited about covering and promoting various events and activities. I will not be doing the same thing every single day, and that is really exciting to me. I am grateful to be in a role where I will use all of my God-given skills and talents. I am also very excited to partner and work with members of the community and local businesses.
7. Is it appropriate for parents or students to contact you directly? What's the best way to contact you?
Of course, as a liaison between the school and community, I'm open to feedback from the community. I need to know what the community expects and prefers for communication from the district. I also believe communication is a two-way street and it is very important that the public knows they can contact me. The best way to contact me would be by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.