Bob Wright introduced our speaker this day as Mary Perry, Desert Sands Unified School District’s “Go To Girl”!  He stated that if you needed to get something done or information regarding the DSUSD she was the one he could always count on and would go tosee at the district.
Mary Perry is the public information officer for Desert Sands Unified School District. She joined the district five years ago following her work in both the nonprofit and corporate world. Prior to joining the school district, she was with the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands helping to brand the organization to the world. Here in the desert she has worked with the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, and the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism. Her roots are in Massachusetts where she grew up and was educated. She worked for a number of companies across the United States as her Air Force husband served our country. Her marketing experience includes every form of media, branding, advertising, public relations, and crisis management. At Desert Sands she does them all! 
Mary began her presentation by answering the question, “What does a public information officer do?”  Basically she is the “public face” of the district and her job is to present all of the good stuff that happens at the district and provide an explanation [spin?] for all the bad stuff that happens!  Mary provided us with several Fun/Fast Facts about the district that included: There are approximately 2,700 employees of which approximately half are school teachers that teach approximately 29,000 students at 34 schools of which 62% of graduates will enroll in college; The annual budget for the district is approximately $360,000,000.00; There are 44 different languages spoken (per the Home Language Survey) of which Spanish is the most prevalent; There are 95 school buses; and the ethnic make-up of the students in the school district is 73.8% Hispanic/Latino, 18.2% White, 1.9% Asian, 1.6% Black/African American and 4.5% Other.  In answering a question from one of our members Mary surprised many of us in sharing that there are “gangs” in every school (even the elementary schools) however, it was unusual to have gang related incidents on campus.  Mary patiently answered several questions from the members in attendance and provide a most INFORMATIVE program  Mary really was an excellent speaker and we thank her for the amazing job that she does at the school district!