Awards

Saginaw ISD's Jeffrey Collier is 2021 Superintendent Communicator of the Year

Congratulations to MSPRA’s 2021 Superintendent Communicator of the Year Saginaw Intermediate School District (ISD) Superintendent Jeffrey Collier. He received the award—one of MSPRA’s highest honors—for his communication excellence.

It was clear to our panel of judges that Superintendent Collier:

  • understands the value of a year-round, ongoing communication program,
  • invests in communication tools,
  • strategically works with the district’s communication professional,
  • practices communication management techniques,
  • and demonstrates excellent personal communication skills such as ethics, honesty, openness and active listening.

According to his nominators, upon joining Saginaw ISD in July 2020, he began with school branding and collaborative storytelling as his priorities. Since then, he has revolutionized the way Saginaw ISD communicates. Within a year of his arrival, the ISD launched a new website, mobile app, communication platform, and modified brand design, colors, and logos.

An ambassador for education, he is a true advocate for building and implementing robust, dynamic communication platforms that allow all staff to actively participate in sharing the district’s positive stories. Not only has he empowered the ISD staff to communicate through the district’s platform, but he has also opened the ISD’s communication resources to Saginaw County’s twelve local school districts and community organizations.

Through building strong relationships and collaborations, he has centered Saginaw ISD as the primary resource for all educational communication throughout the county.

Congratulations to Superintendent Collier and the entire Saginaw ISD team!

Each year a superintendent is honored for communication leadership. To learn more, check out the Awards Application Page.

Karen Heath is 2021 Outstanding School Communicator of the Year

Berrien Regional Educational Service Agency’s (Berrien RESA) Communications Supervisor Karen Heath is the Michigan School Public Relations Association’s (MSPRA) 2021 Gerri Allen Outstanding School Communicator of the Year. The award recognizes a practicing school communicator for outstanding leadership in school public relations and communication.

Karen received the surprise honor during Berrien RESA’s February 14, 2022 Board of Education meeting. Upon accepting the award, Karen said she was shocked, surprised, humbled and grateful. “Thank you for the honor of my career. Being named a recipient of the Gerri Allen School Communicator of the Year Award means so much to me.” She added that being a school communicator means “I have the privilege to do meaningful work that supports students. Being an MSPRA-affiliated school communicator means that I have the honor of doing this work alongside the most incredible people I know. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for this special recognition.”

In presenting the award, MSPRA Board Member Gail Fox said, “It was clear to MSPRA’s expert panel of judges that Karen:

  • Understands the value of a year-round, ongoing communications program;
  • Practices communication management techniques;
  • Exhibits excellent personal communication skills such as ethics, honesty, openness, and active listening; and
  • Demonstrates outstanding leadership in school communication and public relations through involvement in local, state, and national activities that support, promote, and grow the profession."

According to her nominators, Karen has worked tirelessly and strategically to improve district internal and external communication. Through her collaboration and partnership efforts, she has centered Berrien RESA as the primary resource for all educational communication throughout the county.

Outside of her organization, Karen is an active communication professional at the state level, serving as an MSPRA board member for 8 years, including time as President. She has also been recognized nationally, named as one of four National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) Front-Runner in 2019. She has also been selected to present multiple times at NSPRA’s National Seminar and has authored numerous articles for state and national publications.

Karen’s award and accomplishments will be celebrated at MSPRA’s Annual Conference in March.

To learn more about the award, see the Awards Application Page.

Gold Medallion Award Winners

MSPRA’s Gold Medallion Award recognizes outstanding programs or projects that advance education through responsible communication.  The entries are judged on the clarity of concept, good writing, and evidence of using the four-step Public Relations process known as RPIE:  Research, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation. The following four programs exceeded the judge’s criteria for Gold Medallion recognition.

Oakland Schools’ Educationally Speaking Podcast

The goal was to position the district as a thought leader and advocate on key issues in the education community, strengthening Oakland’s reputation and public understanding of the services provided to the community. The podcast was featured in both MSPRA and the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) newsletters, as well as in the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) magazine, and has earned thousands of total plays since October 2019.

Congratulations to Oakland Schools!

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Waterford School District’s Virtual Orientations Program. The goal was to provide transitional orientations for students and their families in an engaging and interactive way virtually, since Waterford was unable to host the traditional in-person events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this challenge, Waterford surpassed its attendance goal for all three virtual orientations and was positively received by families.

Congratulations to the Waterford School District Communication Team!

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Ingham ISD’s 2020 Headlee Special Education Restoration Millage Information Campaign. The goal was to help restore Ingham’s full special education millage through planned communication with its stakeholders and communities. If the ballot issue was approved, the funds would be divided among districts and used to support students in special education. The information campaign ran from January 6 to March 10, 2020.  It was highly successful, with 72% of voters supporting the March millage restoration ballot request.

Congratulations to the Ingham ISD Communication Team!

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Otsego Public Schools’ Propelling Otsego Forward initiative. The goal was to successfully pass a bond proposal through strategic outreach and communication with key stakeholders. Not only did voters pass the bond proposal, but Otsego succeeded in its campaign despite having to shift its strategies during the peak of the campaign due to the statewide shutdown at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congratulations to the Otsego Public Schools Communication Team!

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We look forward to celebrating these efforts at MSPRA’s Annual Conference in March.

Interested in submitting an entry for the next round of judging? 
See the Awards Application Page for more details.

 

Karen Heath named a 2019-2020 NSPRA Front-Runner

Karen Heath, Supervisor of Communication for Berrien RESA (Regional Educational Service Agency) is a 2019-2020 National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) Front-Runner. Front-Runners are members identified by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) Executive Board as emerging leaders who are doing outstanding work for their schools, their chapters and for NSPRA. The annual distinction is awarded to four association members each year, representing the seven NSPRA regions on a rotating basis. Each Front-Runner receives recognition in an issue of The NSPRA Network, NSPRA's monthly members-only e-newsletter, and a commemorative plaque during the Annual Meeting and Celebration of Achievement that kicks off the NSPRA National Seminar each summer.  Congratulations, Karen!

NSPRA's Learning and Liberty Legacy Leaders

Tom Scheidel, Public Information Coordinator for the Allegan Area Educational Service Agency, Diane Bauman, APR, Director of School/Community Relations for Farmington Public Schools and Micki O’Neil, MBA, Director of Public Relations and Communications for Ingham ISD, have each received the National School Public Relations Association's (NSPRA) Learning and Liberty Legacy Leader Award.  The award recognizes the many contributions of NSPRA members who have had a positive impact on their colleagues’ careers and who work tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of education and improved communication. 

Tom was recognized in 2020 for being a mentor to school public relations professionals in Michigan and nationally. In addition, he hosts regular meetings of school communicators within his educational service agency for professional development and networking. Plus, he served as the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) Mideast Region Vice President from 2016-2019. Tom currently serves on the MSPRA Board as a Member-At-Large.

Diane was honored in 2018 for her public relations’ knowledge and skills as well as for the wise counsel she offers colleagues.  Through her work at Farmington, Plymouth-Canton, and Pontiac schools, and in conjunction with her 23 years of service on the MSPRA Board—which concluded at the end of August—Diane has positively impacted students, schools, and school PR professionals throughout  Michigan. 

Micki was recognized in 2018 for being "a highly-respected public relations professional—valued not only for her public relations knowledge and skills but also for the business perspective she brings to any discussion.”  She has been impacting Michigan students, schools, and school communicators as a valued member of MSPRA and its Board--serving from the fall of 2011 until stepping down in the spring of 2018.

Micki, Diane and Tom have been and continue to be popular presenters at conferences both for MSPRA and other state associations, enthusiastically sharing their public relations knowledge and expertise.

Congratulations, Tom, Diane and Micki for being true Learning and Liberty Legacy Leaders.

2021 Superintendent Communicator of the Year

 Scott Sawyer (left) and Jeffrey Collier (right) with his award
Jeffrey Collier, Superintendent Saginaw ISD, (right) received MSPRA's 2021 Superintendent Communicator of the Year Award. He was nominated by Scott Sawyer, Saginaw ISD's Deputy Superintendent (left) and Kelly Lyvere, Saginaw ISD's Communications Supervisor (not pictured). .

 

 

2021 School Communicator of the Year

Karen Heath shown with her award and Superintendent Eric Hoppstock
Karen Heath, Communications Supervisor for Berrien Regional Educational Service Agency (Berrien RESA) received the 2021 Gerri Allen Outstanding School Communicator of the Year Award. She is shown with her Superintendent Eric Hoppstock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Opportunities

The National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) also offers communication awards.

2019-2020

NSPRA Front-Runner

Karen Heath headshot
Karen Heath

NSPRA's Learning and
Liberty Legacy Leaders

 

Tom Scheidel head shot

Tom Scheidel

 

Diane Bauman, APR

Micki O'Neil, MBA

Communication Contest Award History

PDF Document2014 Award Winners
PDF Document2015 Award Winners
PDF Document2016 Award Winners