Aurora Welcomes Clayton Muhammad as Communications Director

Aurora – Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner announced the hiring of Clayton Muhammad as the City of Aurora’s new Director of Communications on Tuesday.  Muhammad, who currently serves as the Director of Community Relations and the District Spokesman of East Aurora School District 131, will transition into the new position later this month.

A lifelong resident of Aurora, Muhammad is a community advocate and seasoned public relations professional whose communications techniques and community relations initiatives have been recognized by the Illinois National School Public Relations Association (INSPRA) with multiple awards of excellence.

“Clayton is a proven leader who cares deeply about Aurora,” said Mayor Tom Weisner.  “With crime down to record low levels, Aurora’s story is radically different today than it was a few years ago.  People are beginning to take a fresh look at our City, and I believe Clayton brings the right combination of experience and enthusiasm to help us position Aurora as a great City in which to live, do business and raise a family.”

The City restructured its Public Information Division as part of the 2013 budget process late last year after the Mayor’s Business Roundtable recommended the development of strategic marketing communications plan as one of the top business priorities for 2013. 

As Director of Communications, Muhammad will oversee day-to-day communications including media relations, public affairs, Aurora Community Television, digital and social media.  He will also spearhead the development of a city-wide marketing communications plan to support economic development, plus handle the coordination, management and implementation of various communication strategies across City departments.

During Muhammad’s tenure at East Aurora School District 131, he instituted a communications plan that resulted in a dramatic increase of print and television media coverage, substantial growth in the school district’s business partnership program, a revised website, a social media campaign that reaches thousands per day, a regular column in the Aurora Beacon News, and stronger internal and external communications of the district’s priorities, programs and positive news. 

With a passion for bringing Aurorans together, Muhammad collaborated with West Aurora School District 129 to establish the Aurora 360 Student Exchange Day, with Communities in Schools to plan programming for the MyTime Citywide After-School Program, and with the Illinois Math and Science Academy to motivate youth in the Aurora Leadership Institute, among many others.

“I am very excited and honored to serve Aurora in this capacity. There is a bevy of great things happening and even more on the horizon. We want to make sure that as many people as possible know about it, from residents in Aurora to people all over America,” Muhammad said.

Muhammad is a frequent keynote speaker and presenter at conferences, citywide programs, colleges and universities, school districts and community events throughout the country.  Last fall, he was a keynote presenter at the Illinois Terrorism Task Force’s Annual Conference where he addressed key strategies in communicating effectively during a crisis.  The same presentation was then brought back to Aurora for local law enforcement officials and educators.

“Aurora is on the cutting edge in so many areas. The more I travel, the more I see just how unique and powerful our community is.  Others are inspired by what is happening here. It’s exciting to be a part of an administration that is having a local, regional and national impact,” Muhammad said.

After graduating from East Aurora High School, Muhammad matriculated to the University of Illinois and then Lewis University as he pursued a career in education.  He began his career in education at Waldo Middle School as a sixth-grade teacher where he taught for three years.  He then transitioned into administration as Vice President of the Quad County Urban League where he supervised the Aurora Middle School Academy and all Urban League programs for four years.  In 2004, he was appointed as District Spokesman of East Aurora School District 131.

“We are very proud of Clayton and the work that he has done for East Aurora Schools for nearly a decade.  His work ethic and commitment speak for themselves.  While his move is a loss for our district, I am personally happy to know that Aurora will gain an advocate for the entire City.  We support him in his new endeavors and look forward to collaborating in the very new future,” said Dr. Jerome Roberts, Superintendent of East Aurora School District 131.

The founder of the nationally-recognized Aurora-based Boys II Men organization, Muhammad has been recognized with more than 60 awards and commendations including being named an Administrator of Excellence by the Illinois National School Public Relations Association, one of the top 35 under 35 Young Leaders of Chicagoland, and a Community Champion by the Compassion Foundation.

Most recently, Muhammad was named the 2012 Kane County Outstanding Citizen of the Year, a 2013 Center of Influence by the U.S. Army, and the 2013 Outstanding African-American by the City of Aurora’s African-American Heritage Advisory Board.