News from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA)

The NSPRA Executive Board met on March 8 and 9 at NSPRA Headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.  The Board focused on a number of issues including strategic planning, new programs, and new hires.  Please see below for detailed information.

Strategic Planning: National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) Board members and staff recently participated in a two-day strategic planning workshop to find opportunities to grow and build value for NSPRA membership.

The session was facilitated by past NSPRA President Susan Hardy Brooks. The Board reviewed current survey and other membership data, and considered further information they would like to collect in order to understand the impact of new marketing efforts.  A new marketing plan will be reviewed by the July 2019 Board meeting.


New Programs: NSPRA is offering new professional learning opportunities for members and chapter leaders:

  1. Chapter Challenges Solved: Free, virtual PD for NSPRA Chapter officers. The first session will be March 22 and will discuss transitioning to a new treasurer and sponsor funding. Registration is open until March 20.
  2. All NSPRA chapter officers are invited to participate, and are encouraged to email NSPRA Associate Director Melissa Braham at if they have an idea for or would like to lead a future session.
  3. NSPRA Insight: This new, free, virtual PD for NSPRA members is a professional yet informal roundtable discussion featuring NSPRA members and others. The initial NSPRA Insight web conference is scheduled for May 15. The first show’s topic focus on the onboarding process for welcoming a new superintendent. It will be facilitated by Elise Shelton; Annette Eyman, APR; and Bob Noyed, APR. The recording will be archived and available to members. Look for registration information from NSPRA soon.
  4. Communication Review: NSPRA did a soft launch of this new service, designed for small districts (3,500 students or less) that don’t have a school communications professional on staff. The service includes two SCoPE surveys (one each for staff and parents), three virtual focus groups and two interviews for the superintendent and one other school leader. The final report gives the results of the surveys, gaps found and recommendations to begin implementing a data-driven public relations program.

New Staff: NSPRA welcomed new staff members Jennifer Alexander, Manager of Seminars, Partnerships and Programs; and Rebecca Shaw, Communication Manager. NSPRA now has a six-member staff.


2019 NSPRA Seminar: The Board and staff discussed the progress of Seminar planning, and had a healthy discussion about future Seminars, noting that the Board reviews member feedback when making decisions.

  1. NSPRA Staff is working on finalizing the schedule of sessions for the 2018 NSPRA seminar. The seminar program is online, and will be updated as more information is finalized. Also, the pre-seminar schedule is finalized, as are the keynote speakers Kindra Hall and Michele Norris. Members are encouraged to arrive in time to take advantage of all of the networking and learning opportunities. The Chapter Leader meeting begins at 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 4 and the annual meeting begins at 1:00 p.m. that same day.
  2. The inaugural #K12PR5K run/jog/walk will be held at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, July 14. Participants in this informal run will receive a t-shirt for their $25 donation to the NSPRA Foundation.
  3. The second Equity Diversity Mixer will be held right before the opening reception. After the success of last year’s event, the event is being held in a larger space. It will include a DJ, and all members are invited and encouraged to attend.
  4. The #K12PRChatTweetup will be held Monday.
  5. A new venture this year, made possible by a generous sponsor, is the 35 Under 35 Luncheon.  It will be held on Tuesday, July 16.
  6. NSPRA is working with a new provider to develop a seminar app to help members plan, organize and maximize their seminar experience. 

Barry Gaskins Award Winner: The Board approved the recipient of the award. The winner will be announced in an upcoming NSPRA publication and distributed at the 2019 NSPRA Seminar.


Executive Director Contract: The Board approved an extension of Rich Bagin’s contract to run through March 31, 2022.

Board Member Updates:  The Board approved Dr. David Sovine of the Frederick County (Va.) Schools as the new Vice President at Large - Superintendent of Schools.

The Executive Board Search committee is working to secure eligible candidates to fill the following positions: 

  • President-elect (2019 - 2020)
  • Regional Vice President - Southwest (2019 - 2023)
  • Regional Vice President - Mideast (2019 - 2023)
  • Regional Vice President - Northeast (2019 - 2023)

The deadline for all interested members who meet the eligibility requirements to submit nomination materials is April 1, 2019.

Brand Guide: NSPRA staff worked on developing the NSPRA Brand Guide, which is available online.


Rubrics of Best Practice: The Board discussed the status of the current rubric in development, Bond/Finance Election Plans and Campaigns. Board members also reviewed possible topics for the next critical function area.

Scholarships: The Board discussed updating scholarship applications, creating rubrics, and putting applications online for next year.

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