Eileen Houston-Stewart joined the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) as Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing in February 2010.A native of Liberty, Mo. - a suburb of Kansas City - Houston-Stewart earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Public Relations from William Jewell College. She has spent the past 30 years working in television broadcasting, public education, non-profits and municipal government.
Houston-Stewart began her career in 1980 as a television anchor and reporter in St. Joseph, Mo. After a three-year stint at the station, she left the broadcasting industry to serve as the Director of Communications for the United Way of Greater St. Joseph.
In 1985, Houston-Stewart returned to broadcasting and worked the next eight years as an anchor and reporter at WIBW-TV 13 in Topeka, Kan., and WLWT-TV 5 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
During her time in Cincinnati, Houston-Stewart became the first full-time television reporter solely dedicated to covering educational issues in urban, suburban, and rural school districts in the greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky region. It soon became clear to her that urban school districts needed help publicizing the great stories happening in classroom settings across the district.
In 1993, Houston-Stewart became the Assistant Director of Media Relations for the 50,000-student Cincinnati Public School District. During her tenure she was instrumental in launching the “Back-to-School – Ready to Learn” campaign, an effort that delivered backpacks and school supplies each summer to thousands of needy students. She also helped guide the district and community through a facilities master planning process.
In 2001, Houston-Stewart left Cincinnati for Fort Worth, Texas, where she served as the Director of Communications for the 80,000-student Fort Worth Independent School District. Houston-Stewart guided the district through a difficult time following a three-year FBI investigation that uncovered a $15 million kick-back scheme that eventually sent a district employee and vendor to federal prison.
In 2004, Houston-Stewart became the Chief Communications Officer for the city of Fort Worth, one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Houston-Stewart was tapped by the city manager to lead a committee to develop an employee ethics program. As a result of their work, the program known as Class ACT – Accountability, Character and Trust - became the focus of how city of Fort Worth employees worked with internal and external customers.
In an effort to be closer to family and friends, Houston-Stewart, her husband and daughter made a decision to move back to her hometown of Liberty. Prior to coming to the KCPS, Houston-Stewart was the Assistant to the Superintendent for Communications with the Liberty Public School District.
Houston-Stewart’s philosophy is “To whom much is given, much is required.” Giving back to the community is in her blood. Her parents instilled in her the importance of public service and community involvement at an early age. She continues to adhere to that philosophy through her service on the William Jewell College Board of Trustees, the Liberty Hospital Foundation Board, National School Public Relations Association, and Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority.