Employee guidelines for media inquiries

Communications & Engagement contacts   

Joseph B. Valdez, communications & engagement director
480-472-0224 (office)

Nina C. Allred, communications & engagement supervisor
480-472-0222 (office)

Lise Turner, secretary

Laura Fricke, digital communications specialist

Tania Ritko, district communications specialist

Jonathan Calderon, graphic communications specialist
480-472-0439 (office)

Laurie Struna, media communications specialist
480-308-7548 (office)

When the media call . . .

MPS wants to provide accurate and timely information to media representatives. In general, media inquiries are directed to the district’s communications & engagement director or a superintendent’s designee.

District staff members should use the following guidelines when contacted by a media representative.

Emergency or controversial situations

In emergency or controversial situations, the district’s communications & engagement director will be the spokesperson to the media. The school or department administrator should focus on the needs of the staff and students.

Staff members will direct all media inquiries to the communications & engagement director and provide reporters the director's office number.

During an emergency or controversial situation, media representatives will not be allowed in school or district buildings, or on the property, without permission from the communications & engagement director.

The media is allowed to remain on public property, which includes the sidewalk in front of the school or district building. They may film or photograph children from this area without permission.

When media representatives approach parents and students, particularly before or after school, they may not disrupt the traffic flow by standing near the entrance or exit of the parking lot. Staff should approach the media and ask that they relocate to other areas for safety reasons.

Districtwide or community issues

For a districtwide or community issue, the communications & engagement director will be the spokesperson to the media. Calls should be referred to Communications & Engagement.

As appropriate, the communications & engagement director may ask administrators and/or staff members who are knowledgeable about an issue to talk with reporters.

The communications & engagement director will first contact the site administrator by phone or email to discuss the story. If appropriate, the communications & engagement director and/or the site administrator will ask a staff member to be interviewed by the media for a story.

School or department feature stories

The district encourages schools and departments to share positive news about achievements and activities with Communications & Engagement. Provide information to Heidi Hurst, director, at hkhurst@mpsaz.org.

Teachers and other staff members may contact the media independently, but must obtain permission from their principal, their district director or the communications & engagement director prior to inviting media to the campus or district site. Administrators should discuss this practice with staff members to ensure that everyone is informed.

It is expected that administrators and/or staff members should notify the communications & engagement director if they have spoken with a media representative or had a media representative at their site regarding a feature or informational story.

Although it is preferable to call before the interview or visit, this will not always be possible. Notification may occur by telephone, voicemail message or email. In the absence of the communications & engagement director, contact the appropriate assistant superintendent.

When newspaper stories are published online or in print, television stations may follow up on these articles. It is important that the communications & engagement director be aware of pending stories to further assist the media and the school or department in these matters.

Media on campus

If media representatives visit a school or department, the administrator or designee should ensure that the person(s) being interviewed are well-prepared and knowledgeable about the topic.

If students are involved, the school will check records to ensure that the children have permission to be interviewed and photographed. A student is presumed to have permission unless the parent has signed and submitted an Opt Out request as described in Student Information and Guidelines document.

The school will follow district guidelines regarding visitors on campus: Media representatives are expected to check in at the office, wear a visitor’s badge and be escorted while on district property.