Monday, February 26, 2024

LPOSD welcomes new community relations liaison

Staff Writer | February 7, 2024 1:00 AM

PONDERAY — Lake Pend Oreille School District welcomed a new community relations liaison this week.

Annie Kuster, a resident of Sandpoint and an alumna of Sandpoint High School, is replacing current liaison Kristin Hawkins. Kuster said she is looking forward to helping the district forge good relationships with the community. 

"I'm excited to learn more about all of the schools in the area and highlight the programs and teachers making a difference in the lives of local students,” Kuster said. 

Kuster has a photojournalism degree from the University of Montana, which she was inspired to pursue because of her passion for storytelling, Kuster said. Her professional journey has included diverse roles in various organizations, through which she has developed expertise in communications, social media management, email marketing, photography, and graphic design, LPOSD officials said. 

This liaison position, now in its second year of funding from the Panhandle Alliance for Education, is designed to enhance community ties and communication efforts between the district and stakeholders. The position was created by Dr. Becky Meyer when she became LPOSD Superintendent.

As the community relations liaison, Kuster will be actively involved in community relations events, creating engaging video and photography content, and participating in collaborative events with community partners. Additionally, she will contribute to the production of the district’s newsletter, The Loop, and social media content. 

Hawkins, the district’s first community relations liaison, is stepping away from the workforce for a season to prioritize quality time with her four young children. 

During her time with the district, she brought classroom experience and a master's degree in education to the role. She collaborated with Meyer to increase transparency by implementing systems like the district's first monthly communication, The Loop, and a quarterly stakeholder engagement event, Coffee Klatch, LPOSD officials said. 

 "It has been an absolute honor serving in this capacity, and helping to bridge a gap in communication with our community,” Hawkins said. "I will especially miss my colleagues.”

She also thanked PAFE for allowing this position to be a reality, and for their chosen investment in both her and the role itself. 

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