Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 11, 2013

TCAPS to audit marketing


TRAVERSE CITY — A Houston-based public relations consultant will evaluate Traverse City Area Public Schools' marketing and communications department next month.

Terry Abbott, chairman of Drive West Communications, is scheduled to audit the district's Marketing, Communications and Volunteer Services Department on Feb. 4-5, TCAPS Superintendent Stephen Cousins said.

"He will do an analysis of the communications structure and how it aligns with TCAPS' strategic plan," Cousins said.

Abbott declined comment.

Cousins announced plans to review the department following the resignation of the department's former director, Alison Arnold.

Arnold, who made about $84,700 annually, left her position Jan. 4, citing a desire to complete her doctoral degree and dissertation from Central Michigan University.

The district will not pay for Abbott's services, Cousins said.

Instead, Quinn and Associates, an Old Mission-based leadership development corporation, arranged for Abbott to help TCAPS.

Tim Quinn said his corporation wanted to help the district and knows Abbott performs well.

"I know this person," Quinn said. "I have used him on a number of occasions in support of school districts working to improve their communications. He is outstanding."

Quinn, a former president of Northwestern Michigan College, said he does not know if Abbott will charge for his services, but either way TCAPS will not pay a cent.

"I told Dr. Cousins our corporation would handle it," Quinn said.

Changes to the department, if any, will follow Abbott's review, Cousins said. Marketing, communications and volunteer services employees report directly to Cousins until then.