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Welcome to the Communications Department! 

Chris Payne
Chris Payne
Chief Communications Officer / Biography


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What we do….

The Communications Department assists Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler and helps with district management and employees in interpreting public attitudes; identifies and helps shape district policies and procedures in the public interest; and helps to provide ways to inform and involve Union’s various audiences in an effort to gain understanding and support for Union Public Schools and the services it provides.

The Communications Department provides a system for fostering open, two-way communications and good relationships between the district and its various internal audiences (students, certified employees, support employees, Board of Education members, administrators, etc.) and external audiences (parents, taxpayers, community organizations, lawmakers, businesses, etc.). In 2016, the Communications Department was recognized with 7 awards from the Oklahoma School Public Relations Association.

Four specialists help the executive director manage the department’s needs:

  • Beverly Thummel, Senior Administrative Assistant for Communications and the Board of Education
  • Cari StuffSenior Administrative Assistant for Communications and the Board of Education
  • Bre Willard, Graphic Designer (Printing)
  • Beth Turner, Video Producer/Communications Specialist
  • Michael Vore, Webmaster/Communications Specialist (News Releases/Photographer)

Publications and Productions 

The Communications Department produces a number of printed and electronic-based products designed to inform patrons about Union Public Schools. The department also oversees the Alumni Center at the High School.

More than 40 publications are printed and include everything from handbooks, course offerings and report cards, to brochures, programs and annual reports.

Major publications produced by the Communications Department include:

Audio/video productions include an annual bond-related video, staff recognition videos and news copverage of the district. 

The Communications Department created a successful 2017 multi-media bond election information campaign. Voters in the Union Public School District overwhelmingly passed both two propositions in the district's $26 Million school bond election, enabling continued construction on the new Ellen Ochoa Elementary, purchase school buses, and address a number of capital needs throughout district.

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