2018-19 Award Winners

Washtenaw ISD's Dr. Scott Menzel named 2018-19 Superintendent Communicator 

Scott A. Menzel, PhD, Superintendent of Washtenaw ISD, was recently named the 2018-19 Michigan School Public Relations Association (MSPRA) Outstanding Superintendent Communicator of the Year. Dr. Menzel was surprised with the honor at the regular meeting of the WISD Board of Education in August.

In presenting the award, Gerri Allen, MSPRA’s Executive Director, explained that recipients must be current superintendents who value internal communication within their organization, as well as externally at the local, state and national level. Additionally, they must demonstrate excellent personal communication skills including ethics, honesty, openness and good listening.

MSPRA specifically recognized Dr. Menzel for being “an exceptional electronic and public communicator” who is often requested as a speaker for a variety of education-related topics, particularly regarding equity in education. He is also known as a proponent of progressive and inclusive communication styles, and utilizes a variety of communication platforms to ensure staff and stakeholders have consistent access to the WISD, even beyond standard work hours.

“I am honored to receive this award from MSPRA, which recognizes the importance of transparent communication within education,” said Dr. Menzel. “This award reflects the hard work of the WISD team to ensure we maintain ongoing two-way communication using a variety of tools to ensure equitable access and opportunities in support of public education.”

Congratulations, Dr. Scott Menzel and the WISD team!

Each year a superintendent is honored for his or her communication leadership.  To learn more, check out the application form.

Diane Bauman, APR, Receives 2018 Gerri Allen School Communicator Award 

Diane Bauman, APR, Director of School/Community Relations for Farmington Public Schools (FPS), has been named the "2018 Gerri Allen Outstanding School Communicator" by the Michigan School Public Relations Association (MSPRA).  Bauman received the surprise award, recognizing her communication abilities in planning, practice, leadership and service at the October 2, 2018, Farmington Public Schools’ Board of Education meeting.

In nominating Bauman for the honor, Superintendent George C. Heitsch, wrote:  “...When I became the Farmington superintendent in 2014, I quickly recognized the valuable leadership and expertise Diane provides for all public relations, communications and community issues impacting our District….She is a key member of my Cabinet, and we have come to count on her to ensure that our plans and decisions are communicated to stakeholders clearly, thoroughly, and in a timely fashion.”

In presenting the award, MSPRA President-elect Anne Cron, APR, said.  I am pleased to present Diane with this much-deserved award.  She has not only provided outstanding communication at FPS, her impact has included many years with the Oakland County Schools’ Public Relations Association (OCSPRA), and at the state level with 23 years of service on the MSPRA Board."  

Upon receiving the award, Bauman said, “I am overwhelmed with this honor... I am grateful to work with such incredibly talented and passionate people who strive each day to make the school district and our broader community the best it can be.”

“I am also extremely proud of the work that MSPRA does to support communication professionals working in education and of my FPS School/Community Relations team members who go above and beyond the call of duty each and every day!”

The award annually recognizes a practicing Public Relations professional in a public school, district, educational agency, service center, or intermediate unit. The winner and nominator will be recognized at the annual MSPRA conference. The nomination form and accompanying materials are due each spring.

Gold Medallion Award

Kent ISD's “Strong Schools, Strong Communities” has received the 2018 Michigan School Public Relations Association’s (MSPRA) Gold Medallion Award

MSPRA’s Gold Medallion Award recognizes outstanding programs or projects that advance education through responsible communication.  According to judges, the entry was “a clear winner.”

MSPRA's panel of experts judged the entry on the clarity of concept, good writing and evidence of using the four-step Public Relations process known as RPIE.  These four steps include:

  • Research - Evidence of the need or problem; with stated, measurable project goals.
  • Planning - Identified target audiences, involvement of others in the planning, and variety of communication channels considered and used.
  • Implementation - Timelines for the project, variety of communication techniques used, and quality of written and graphic materials. 
  • Evaluation - Evidence of a planned, objective evaluation that documents accomplishing the stated goals, communication techniques used and changes, if any, that will be made when repeating projects.

Based on that review, judges concluded: “The results of the [Kent ISD] election speak for themselves.”

MSPRA looks forward to celebrating Kent ISD's efforts to advance education through responsible communication at MSPRA’s Annual Conference in March 2019.

NSPRA's Learning and Liberty Legacy Leaders

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 both 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. Their honor was publicly announced, along with one other Learning and Liberty Legacy Leader, at the 2018 NSPRA Annual Seminar in Anaheim, CA.  

Diane was honored 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 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.

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

2018-19 Superintendent Communicator

Dr. Scott Menzel, Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent (center) received the 2018-19 Superintendent of the Year Award from MSPRA Executive Director Gerri Allen (left).  He was nominated by WISD Communication Specialist Emma Jackson (right).

2018-19 School Communicator of the Year

Diane Bauman, APR, Farmington Public Schools, (left) received the 2018 Gerri Allen School Communicator of the Year Award from MSPRA President-elect Anne Cron, APR.

Communication Contest Award History

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

Additional Opportunities

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

NSPRA's Learning and
Liberty Legacy Leaders

Diane Bauman, APR

Micki O'Neil, MBA