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May 8, 2013

TCAPS hires new spokeswoman

TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Area Public Schools officials hired a new top spokeswoman.

Christine Guitar will start as the district’s chief of communications in June. Guitar, a native of Houghton, currently works with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Guitar said she’s always been passionate about public education, and said the TCAPS job opening gave her a chance to return to her home state.

“It seemed like a great opportunity for me to transfer out of D.C.,” Guitar said.

Guitar went to work for the EPA in 2005. She has served as communications director for the agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance since 2010.

Guitar graduated from University of Michigan with bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and social anthropology in 2003.

“Go Blue,” she said.

She also earned a master’s degree in natural resources and sustainable development from Costa Rica’s University of Peace, and a master’s degree in international affairs from American University in Washington, D.C..

Guitar will start at TCAPS with an annual salary of about $76,000.

“We’re very fortunate to get someone of Ms. Guitar’s caliber,” said Christine Davis, TCAPS executive director of human resources. “She brings a wealth of experience to the district and her communications expertise will be instrumental as we move our strategic plan forward.”

Rae Ann Fiebing, TCAPS communications technology training specialist, has served as interim communications director since Alison Arnold resigned from the post in January.

Arnold’s departure followed two public relations missteps. The first was the printing of campaign material promoting TCAPS’ failed $100-million bond proposal, which the Secretary of State subsequently ruled violated campaign finance laws.

TCAPS also was criticized for a failure to publicize six district officials’ November trip to China for an educational conference and discussions with Chinese school officials about student exchange agreements.

Guitar joins Westwoods Principal Sander Scott as the newest district-wide administrators in TCAPS. Scott is slated to become TCAPS’ chief of schools on July 1.

Scott’s promotion was announced in March as part of an overall effort to improve academic instruction at TCAPS and offer more diverse ways to learn. School principals will directly report to Scott under the district’s new structure.

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