A newly created position at Columbus Public Schools has just been filled with Nicole Anderson taking over as the CPS Marketing/Foundation Director.

In September, the Columbus Public School Board of Education unanimously voted to create the new consolidated position, merging the responsibilities of managing the district’s tax-deductible donations with promoting the district's accomplishments. According to The Columbus Telegram archives, the reasoning behind the merger was due to budget constraints.

Previously, when the position was just the foundation director, it was most recently held by Kim Kwapnioski from 2016 through last fall. As previously reported, she left to pursue a job opportunity with Congressman Jeff Fortenberry’s office. She also serves as a District 1 representative on the Platte County Board of Supervisors.

Anderson started work on Jan. 3. She said she is excited to meet everyone in the community and get feedback on how to better serve the school district.

“I look forward to hearing the community's positive stories about Columbus Public Schools, ways that they’re interested in getting involved and helping,” Anderson said. “I think knowing those stories will help lead me in a direction of where the foundation can go to better meet the needs of our students.”

Anderson grew up in Columbus and graduated from Columbus High School in 1999. She went on to get her Bachelor's of Science In Psychology at the College of St. Mary. She earned her Masters in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota, with specific focuses in sports psychology and sports management.

Most recently, she worked as the vice president of public relations and marketing at Columbus Physical Therapy, P.C. Superintendent Troy Loeffelholz said it was Anderson’s background in marketing that made her an attractive candidate.

“We’re excited to have Nicole because of her background in the marketing area,” Loeffelholz said. “If you work for the foundation, you’re marketing the school district and if you’re marketing the school district, then you’re also marketing the foundation. I think it just comes hand and hand…I think it’s a good fit for what we’re trying to accomplish.”

The new marketing/foundation director’s main goal is to connect students with alumni. Anderson said she wants to bridge the gap between students and district graduates, providing resources that benefit both parties. 

“The more you can have community members interacting with students, the more we’re going to grow our community,” Anderson said. “It’s all about relationship building.

“ ... You don’t just graduate from Columbus High and walk away and you don’t matter anymore - that’s not the case. We really want to know that alumni aren't bound by graduation date and geographic area. Once you come to Columbus, you’re always an alumni.”

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News-Review.

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