The Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award recognizes a practicing school public relations professional for: outstanding efforts in mentoring colleagues new to school public relations; providing counsel and advice on job success; and assisting colleagues in their professional development by creating or providing programs and activities designed to improve PR skills and knowledge.
2013 Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award Recipient
Bonnie Reidy, chief communications officer
Gaston County Schools, Gastonia, N.C.
Our professional predecessors are important. The greatest are groundbreakers on whose shoulders the next generation stands. They are teachers and role models, and some become icons who represent all that we aspire to be. Bonnie Reidy is one of these icons.
You cannot think of excellent school public relations in North Carolina without thinking of Bonnie – the two are synonymous. Anyone who has ever worked in school communications in North Carolina and the Southeast Region over the last quarter century knows Bonnie, has learned from her, and is using that knowledge to achieve success in their career.
Bonnie has led Gaston County Schools’ communication department for 27 years. Prior to that she served as the district’s Citizenship Education/Events Coordinator and as a middle school teacher, and was recognized as a Gaston County Schools Teacher of the Year. She has been an active member of our North Carolina Chapter, NCSPRA, her entire career, holding every major board position – twice! Over the years she has served on numerous NSPRA committees and task forces, including the Communication Accountability Program (CAP) task force. As Host Chapter Chair for the 2010 Charlotte Seminar, she made sure that Southern Hospitality reigned in unparalleled fashion.
Her leadership, vision and guidance in NCSPRA is legendary, resulting in one of the longest consecutive runs of Blue Ribbon Chapter Awards in NSPRA history. She co-authored NCSPRA’s New Member Orientation Notebook, the “bible” of school communications in North Carolina and a model adopted by other NSPRA chapters.
Bonnie’s influence doesn’t stop at the North Carolina border. One of NSPRA’s most passionate advocates, she has served as a beacon, bellwether, mentor, friend, cheerleader, and lifesaver for colleagues across the country in need of guidance, wisdom and support. Her generosity of spirit and time are unmatched. Bonnie’s superintendent, L. Reeves McGlohon, notes that, “A mentor is defined as a ‘wise and trusted counselor or teacher.’ This definition certainly fits Bonnie Reidy…she is the consummate mentor and is in fact a wise and trusted counselor for many individuals in and out of her own school district!”
Current NSPRA Vice President of Diversity Engagement Stan Alleyne counts Bonnie as one of his most important mentors. He says, “Those of us who were fortunate enough to be mentored by Bonnie have learned how to be generous with our time and talents. We have learned how to give back to NSPRA, an organization that has given so much to us. Most importantly, we’ve learned how to be loyal friends who can depend on one another during tough times.”
Not only were Bonnie and Barry Gaskins close friends and colleagues, Bonnie was one of Barry’s mentors early in his stellar career. They shared a passion for public education and a deep commitment to supporting and mentoring colleagues new to the school public relations profession. Bonnie Reidy epitomizes what it means to be a great mentor, and it is most fitting that we recognize her contributions by honoring her with the 2013 Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award.
Complete List of Previous Award Recipients
Award Criteria and Nomination Form
Information About Barry Gaskins