Climbing the ladder of communication

From a rookie journalist to USD 266’s Director of Communications, Lori Buselt’s career has taken many directions.


Illustration by Carter Smith

Assisting in providing resources to the district such as the Maize Performing Arts and Aquatics Center is one of many opportunities that gives Lori Buselt pride and joy in her job. “If you bring all skill and no heart you’re only going to have half of what you need,” Buselt said.

Seth Harper, Reporter

Lori Buselt remembers her first day at the Wichita Eagle, a keen reporter ready to get out in the field. Her first day, September 11, 2001.

Buselt has come a long way from her crime reporting days at the local Wichita Eagle and now works as USD 266’s Director of Communications, working to keep the district connected and informed.

She’s taken advantage of many opportunities to gain the necessary job experience, which has helped her climb to the position she holds today.

Buselt, a 1997 Maize High alumni, started her journey in communications and journalism back at Maize High School with an internship at The Wichita Eagle. In her position at the Eagle, she shadowed journalists and then moved to a full writer position.

“I started working for The Wichita Eagle when I was a senior at Maize High School,” Buselt said. “After graduation, I went to Kansas University and worked for their student newspaper and did news internships in four different states.”

These internships were the foundation for Buselt’s career, however, internships didn’t just help Buselt. Madison McCalla, the Multimedia Communications Specialist for USD 266, knows the importance of internships and shadowing opportunities in the furthering of education prior to entering the workforce.

“Consider internship opportunities from the start to gain the hands-on knowledge that is valuable when you enter the workforce,” McCalla said. “Also don’t be afraid to reach out to people already in the same field to pick their brains over coffee. They always say it’s who you know, not what you know, and I firmly believe that is the truth.”

Whether it’s the Director of Communications or Multimedia Communications Specialist, working for the second biggest school district in the Wichita area means no day is the same. For this reason, Buselt was drawn to the world of journalism and communications and soon expanded her media skills to the education field.

This job is not monotonous at all, which was actually something that drew me to news too, you’re not going to get bored at a job like that

— Lori Buselt

McCall, who works beside Buselt daily, also finds the workdays to be extremely fulfilling and enjoys the creative freedom Buselt gives her within the position.

“Communication is a big umbrella of different skills and tasks that make the job exciting, fun, and never dull. I enjoy the variety this job offers and I work with a great boss who allows me to continue exploring different fields,” said McCalla.

Although Buselt’s work days do not rinse and repeat, she still has responsibilities and obligations to attend to as well as requirements to meet and tasks to be completed. This includes photo shoots for staff earning recognition, working with local media when something happens in the district, and even using her skills from the Eagle to update district websites and newsletters.

Lori Buselt sits at her office table while being interviewed for a feature story over communication in the USD266 district.
Sitting in her office Lori Buselt, Director of Communications for USD 266, explains her role in the community and the impact she has made for students, parents, and staff in our district. Buselt was a varsity runner in track, and sang in the choir, graduating in 1997 from Maize High.

“We do keep hours here, typically you’ll find me working to some capacity during the Monday through Friday workday, but my job may be very different every day,” Buselt said. “There is always something going on. Yesterday, for example, I helped a student who was being interviewed by KSN for a news story, and then later that afternoon I took photos of employees becoming CPR certified.”

As the Director of Communications for USD 266, she facilitates the communication process with families, students, and staff within our district. Similar to any job, challenges will arise. For Buselt, this oftentimes occurs when there is a tragedy in our district. 

“Unfortunately, during my ten years here there have been students who have died or it might be a teacher who’s trying to figure out how to tell their class they have cancer and won’t be continuing teaching that year,” Buselt said.

Although these challenges are tragic and often affect her, Buselt continues to provide excellent opportunities for students and staff within our district through her communications role.

“Just grab on to opportunities, I don’t know if covering Division I sports was something I wanted to do as a career, but I wasn’t going to say no to the opportunity,” Buselt said. “So even if something seems to veer slightly off your specific career path, if it advances your experience, say yes,” said Buselt.