Last year, Andy Nelson left a public relations dream job with Pabst Theater Group for a far less glamorous and much more challenging position as the Media Manager with Milwaukee Public Schools. Nelson transitioned from a career that allowed him to hang with celebrities and market Milwaukee entertainment to his current position out of a sense of duty and a desire to bring positive change to his community. He has his work cut out for him, but his efforts and the work of so many others is starting to show itself in a school system that’s dealing with student poverty and homelessness, a lack of positive awareness, and segregation.

Nelson came to Milwaukee Record headquarters and talked to host Tyler Maas about his decision to leave his job of 10 years, specific challenges he faces in his new career, great new programs being implemented, and why he feels MPS is a reflection of Milwaukee as a whole. They also talked about the inaugural All-City Arts Festival, which will showcase the talents of more than 8,000 MPS students at the Henry Maier Festival Grounds from March 9-11.

This episode is brought to you by PrideFest—coming to Henry Maier Festival Park June 7-10—and Surly Brewing, a Minnesota-based brewery and the official beer of On The Record. Music used in this episode comes courtesy of Piles (“Blue Glue””) and 16-year-old MPS student Shaddye (“Sincerely Youth”). Subscribe to On The Record via iTunes or Stitcher (for free!).