Pasco County Schools has hired Melanie Waxler as its new director of strategic communications.
She replaces Steve Hegarty, the district’s public information officer, who retired from the district’s top communications post on June 20.
In announcing Waxler’s appointment and Hegarty’s departure, Pasco County Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning noted Waxler’s extensive communications background and said he’s excited about the positive impact he believes she will have in the district.
But he also took a few minutes to thank Hegarty, noting that he marveled at Hegarty’s impressive work ethic, his calming influence and his sense of humor.
He noted that Hegarty took over leadership of district communications at the beginning of COVID and played a key role in helping to communicate the district’s response to the pandemic.
Hegarty also was heavily involved in crisis communications, Browning said.
The superintendent said the vast majority of Hegarty’s time was devoted to dealing with crises that occurred in the district, “generally because some kid made a stupid choice and posted something very stupid on social media.”
“They should know better. It disrupts our educational environment,” Browning said.
Browning said he appreciated Hegarty’s sage counsel, noting there were times he wanted to say something, but thought better of it, after talking to Hegarty.
“I always knew that when Steve told me something, I could take it to the bank,” the superintendent said.
Published July 12, 2023