CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Hamilton County Schools communications director Danielle Clark has accepted a similar position in Colorado.  According to a news release from the Poudre School District in Fort Collins, Colorado, Ms. Clark will report to work on July 18.

She was hired in Hamilton County in 2006 by Superintendent Jim Scales shortly after he took office.  In recent months, as reports have circulated that Dr. Scales might not be allowed to finish out his four year contract, several of his top staffers have either taken other jobs or retired.  In May, the School Board voted to buy out the final year of Dr. Scales' contract, ending his employment with the district later this week.  Six of the nine Board members voted to buy out the contract, and some had told Eyewitness News that if Dr. Scales was "voted out," they would insist some of his top advisers be removed as well.

Deputy Superintendent Rick Smith will lead the school district on an interim basis, and he has not announced any plans on filling the communications director vacancy.  Several School Board members had been openly critical of Ms. Clark's salary ($84,338) and job performance.  Her husband Dennis Clark engaged in a war of words with District 1 School Board member Rhonda Thurman in 2010, leading to an ethics investigation in which Ms. Thurman was later cleared. 

Mr. Clark had referred to Ms. Thurman as "irresponsible and unprofessional" after the Board member charged there were irregularities in the district's magnet school student selection process, which had admitted the Clarks' children into Normal Park Museum Magnet School.  Ms. Thurman had also criticized Ms. Clark for failing to publicize positive events in the school district.

In her position in Colorado, Ms. Clark will replace a retiring director of communications.

Here is a portion of the release from the Poudre School District:

Poudre School District is pleased to announce that Danielle Clark will be the director of communications.  Since 2006, Ms. Clark has served as director of communications for the Hamilton County Department of Education, where she oversees communications for the Chattanooga, Tennessee area school district of nearly 42,000 students, 78 schools, and 6,500 employees.

"We are pleased Ms. Clark has accepted the communications director position with PSD," says Jerry Wilson, Ph.D., Superintendent. "We look forward to putting her dynamic leadership, extensive experience and expertise in school public relations and communications to work benefiting the parents, students, staff and community members of PSD."

From 1999-2006, Ms. Clark served as communications and community relations coordinator for the Temecula Valley Unified School District in California, and prior to that worked as a staff writer for two San Diego area newspapers. She is a member of the National School Public Relations Association and is a past president of the California School Public Relations Association (2006). Ms. Clark holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California. 

"I am excited to join the PSD team and work at an outstanding school district in such a wonderful community," says Danielle. "My family and I look forward to making Fort Collins our home."

A team of district and school staff, parents and community members interviewed a highly qualified group of semifinalists for the position, and recommended finalists for the position.  Cabinet members interviewed finalists and selected Ms. Clark for the position.  Ms. Clark will join Poudre School District July 18.