Brian Adkisson Joins School District as Communications Director
He worked for institutions such as the Saint Louis Art Museum before joining the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District a few weeks ago.
Brian Adkisson sees in the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District what he experienced as a student in Sturgeon, MO: A close-knit community and individualized attention to students.
"It was really like an extended family, in a way," said Adkisson, the district's new director of communications. He grew up in Sturgeon, MO, roughly 20 miles north of Columbia and visits regularly. Thirty-six people comprised his graduating class at a school where students in kindergarten through 12th grade studied in the same building.
Adkisson has been in his role for only a few weeks, but he's already getting to know the district by attending events, meeting with staff and visiting with students.
Educational component underlies work in public relations
He graduated from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University) and worked at a mortgage company for a year before entering public relations. He worked for 10 years at the Saint Louis Art Museum doing community relations, marketing and audience development.
The experience helped him find his niche. The art museum, he said, is part of the fabric of St. Louis, an institution that makes the community better and enriches people's lives. He was struck by the many jobs performed by museum employees working toward a common goal.
"Every day was so exciting, going and working with this diversity of individuals," Adkisson said. The experience allowed him to keep learn and educate others about the museum's activities.
From there, Adkisson went to work for the Louisiana State Museum, headquartered in the French Quarter of New Orleans, before returning to St. Louis three years ago to work for the Arts and Education Council. The group does fundraising and grant-writing that supports roughly 70 arts organizations each year.
"The common theme has been that educational aspect," said Adkisson, describing his career path.
New job involves tracking tax dollars, highlighting successes
Adkisson said MRH is a core part of Maplewood and Richmond Heights. He said his job involves helping community members know where their tax money is going and what successes are happening in the district.
Doing so can help foster a sense of ownership among community stakeholders.
He plans to communicate those messages using the district's new website, Twitter feed, print newsletter and other avenues. People like to customize the info they receive, Adkisson said, and part of his job is to facilitate that process.
Staying active off the clock
Adkisson lives in unincorporated St. Louis County near Affton and Shrewsbury. Outside of work, he is an avid art collector and the owner of two pugs, Sasha and Ivan.
Both names, appropriately, are Russian: He has an interest in Russian history and enjoys going to exhibitions about the subject.
He enjoys going to the theater, symphony and Missouri Botanical Garden, among other cultural and educational institutions in St. Louis.
"It's a great community," Adkisson said.