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Sterling Payne

Sterling Payne
FLETA Board Chair, Deputy Executive Director, Training Centers Division
Transportation Security Administration

Sterling Payne is the Acting Director of the Training Centers Division within the Transportation Security Administration’s Office of Training and Development. Payne is responsible for training operations at the TSA Academy in Glynco, Georgia; the TSA Training Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey; and the TSA Canine Training Center in San Antonio, Texas. Prior to being named Acting Director, Payne served as the Deputy Division Director for the Training Centers Division.

Payne, who joined TSA in 2007, previously served as the Deputy Federal Security Director (DFSD) at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) where she was responsible for the day-to-day operation of the sixth busiest Category X airport in the United States. She was selected for this position in May 2014. Payne has also served as the Deputy Assistant Administrator (DAA) for TSA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA). A position she was appointed to in 2008. As the DAA for OPA, Payne oversaw the daily operations of TSA’s media relations, employee communications and social media strategy, as well as checkpoint signage and content on Under her leadership, OPA built its first television studio – TSA-TV - which produced the weekly "TSA News" broadcast. Prior to being named DAA, Payne was the Media Relations Manager for TSA OPA, where she oversaw the regional TSA spokespeople.

Before beginning her TSA career, Payne served as the Senior Public Relations Manager with the City of Atlanta at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) – the world’s busiest airport.

Payne made the move from "hack" to "flack" in 2001, first as the head of Public Relations for the Birmingham City School System in Birmingham, AL, and then with the DeKalb County School System in Decatur, GA.

From 1993-2001, Payne worked as a commercial television news reporter and manager with local stations throughout the south. First in Columbus, GA with WRBL, then in Huntsville, AL with WAAY-TV and she finished out her broadcast career at WVTM in Birmingham, AL.