The NSPRA Presidents Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Association. It is given to recognize a (living) individual NSPRA member for outstanding professionalism and integrity throughout a career as an educational public relations practitioner and for contributing to the advancement of educational public relations. In addition, it recognizes the member’s active involvement and leadership at a national-level as well as substantive professional contributions to NSPRA.
2013 NSPRA Presidents Award Recipient
President, Communication Resources for Schools
A communications veteran with over 35 years of experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors, Tom DeLapp is a passionate advocate for school public relations and an active contributor to the body of knowledge that school communication professionals need in order to be successful practitioners of the craft. His resume is a rich tapestry of advocacy and leadership at both the state and national level.
Along with an extensive grasp of education issues and communication challenges at the national level, Tom has an impressive ability to dial in and focus on specific regions of the country, making him a sought-after strategic advisor and invaluable resource to NSPRA members from coast to coast. As a communication strategist and thought leader, Tom has long been a “go to” expert when a district or NSPRA colleague has a crisis or difficult PR challenge. Whether it is contentious labor negotiations, sticky personnel actions, natural disasters, school shootings and campus crime situations, attendance boundary disputes, environmental issues, bond elections, or just your everyday solid communication planning, he’s the one you want on your speed-dial.
Tom’s “big picture” perspective has helped to advance the profession, along with his success in influencing countless superintendents to create school PR positions, even if it meant losing them as clients. He believes that every school district and educational agency needs a strategic communications professional on staff and is dedicated to convincing school leaders of that need by constantly emphasizing the value of consistent, ongoing, proactive communication. And once a new position is created, Tom is there to mentor and support that colleague so that their success is ensured.
A dynamic and popular presenter, Tom’s workshops and sessions at the NSPRA Seminar, chapter conferences, and other national education conferences are always packed — with people and helpful information, tips and strategies. He has a particular passion for working with and mentoring new school PR professionals, and his warm, inclusive persona draws them in and makes them feel valued and welcome. In 2001, Tom and NSPRA Past President Bob Noyed, APR, took the seed of an idea and grew it into the NSPRA New Professionals Program, which has since helped close to 150 members find their “PR legs” and build successful careers on a sound foundation of theory and practice. In 2006, Tom received the Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award, recognizing his commitment to mentoring and supporting colleagues.
Tom served on the NSPRA Executive Board as Southwest Region Vice President from 1998-2001, and he continues to work tirelessly for NSPRA, serving on committees, as a counselor-on-call, leading Action Labs and PR Power Hours, and wherever else he is needed. An eternal optimist, he doesn’t know the meaning of the word “no,” and is always willing to volunteer, no matter the task. His interest in improving education doesn’t end with school PR. He is now working to help cultivate and ‘grow” education foundations in California and currently serves as a vice president on the Board of Directors of the California Consortium of Education Foundations, helping them to focus on strategic planning, programs and fund development.
Throughout the course of an impressive career, Tom DeLapp has distinguished himself as a tireless professional and champion for public schools and children. He has generously shared his time and expertise and continues to make a positive difference for education, our profession, and NSPRA. We are proud to honor him with the 2013 NSPRA Presidents Award.
Complete list of previous award recipients
Nominations: Only current presidents of duly chartered NSPRA chapters; past NSPRA Executive Board members; and past Presidents Award recipients may submit nominations.
Presidents Award Guidelines and Nomination Form