They included Susan Richardson Williams of SRW & Associates, Cathy Ackermann of Ackermann PR, and Mike Cohen of Cohen Communications Group.
All of them, I’m told, worked for free, which is a good thing, considering taxpayers are already on the hook for a more than $900,000 communications department for the Knox County Schools Systems. (This also isn't the first time the three have met with McIntyre and given him advice by the way.)
The plan, in part, behind McIntyre’s speech, which included a number of references to his family, his parents and grandparents and featured photos on the screen behind him, was to better “humanize” the superintendent.
He often comes across, a number of people told me, as “cold and uncaring” and the goal was to change that. (Note: No one actually said he was cold and uncaring, but rather that’s how he comes across.)
The address, his third since he came to Knoxville via Boston, Mass. In 2008, is technically designed to serve as a report card for the district.
|Ackermann (photo taken from her site)
McIntyre wanted a more personal feel to the address. But, he also wanted some “experts” to view it, especially after his disasterous “happy holiday’s” video in which he reminded everyone about how the school board extended his $223,000-a-year contract another 12 months, and then wished everyone a Merry Christmas. I kid you not. You can findthe video right smack here.
(Now, I don’t fault the superintendent for seeking a second opinion, despite paying a couple of his PR folks more than $90,000 a year each. I just question why he didn’t have them watch that holiday video. Heh.)
Anyhoo, I digress.
Instead, McIntyre should have taken the state of the schools address on the road, much like Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett does when he delivers his annual budget presentation. Burchett goes into the community, meets with smaller crowds and answers questions.
He does this without all the carefully, crafted spin.
Now, I don’t know if it would have helped the superintendent, but it would have certainly been something different for a change.