Sylvia McDaniel has been named the director of Community Relations and Communications for Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS). She will officially start this role on August 10.

Sylvia McDaniel

Sylvia McDaniel, new director of Community Relations and Communications.

McDaniel has more than 20 years of experience in the field of communications and marketing. This experience ranges from working in public affairs and outreach for Oregon’s Department of Energy, public relations and communications for Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, public affairs for KPDX-TV, directing marketing and communications for Downtown Seattle and the internationally-renowned Pike Place Market.

Most recently, McDaniel worked for five years as the marketing manager of Creative and Production Services for the Georgia Department of Transportation. In this position, she managed a team of professionals responsible for web, video, publications, photography and marketing, which included messaging about COVID-19 and other emergencies. She also managed the creative process for several initiatives and projects, including rebranding transit services in rural Georgia and stopping human trafficking in Georgia in cooperation with the Governor’s office.

McDaniel grew up in the Salem-Keizer area and attended Salem-Keizer Public Schools. She is an alum of Richmond Elementary School, Parrish Middle School and graduated from North Salem High School. She says that she is looking forward to working for the district and “going home to be a part of something that is getting better all the time.”

McDaniel says that one of the most important parts of the job will be getting input from many Salem-Keizer stakeholders, especially from students. She believes that dialoguing with the Salem-Keizer community is a crucial part of this position.

“The thing I really liked about Sylvia is that she’s determined and willing to learn,” said Leanette Mabinton, a senior at McKay High School and one of the students who participated in the student panel involved in the hiring process. “Sylvia is all about diversity. She will bring good change in the school district and community.”

McDaniel’s ability to communicate and relate to lots of different groups of people is one of the most beneficial assets she will be bringing to this position, she says.

McDaniel was the lead candidate across all panels involved in the hiring process, including the panels of students and community members. Her hiring was officially announced at the Salem-Keizer School Board meeting on the evening of July 21.

“Sylvia will be an exceptional leader for Salem-Keizer Public Schools and for our community,” said Superintendent Christy Perry. “She has a wealth of experience in public communications and community engagement. In addition, she has a passion and perspective for racial equity that comes at a critical crossroads for our district and our community.”

McDaniel has a bachelor’s degree in business and communications from Concordia University and a Master of Fine Arts from Lindenwood University. McDaniel also studied business and marketing abroad at the University of East London while serving in an unofficial ambassador role for Rotary International.