35 Under 35 Class of 2020-21: Andrew Munson

Andrew MunsonAndrew Munson

Community Relations Coordinator
Lenawee Intermediate School District
Adrian, Mich.
Twitter: @VivaLaMunson  @LenaweeISD

 

What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is the ability to effectively communicate a goal and to then engage and energize others to actively work to accomplish it.

What was the most fulfilling professional moment you have experienced?
One of the first major projects I was tasked with in my role was building a new website. This included finding a new vendor, overseeing the design, drastically consolidating and reorganizing content, and focusing on web accessibility. It was so rewarding when the site went live!

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts about working in school PR?
One of the most challenging aspects is constantly managing your priorities and timelines as different departments and projects pull you in new directions. You also have to work hard to be well-versed in every specific area of your district, especially if you come from outside of the education realm. I think it is always most rewarding when you can interact directly with students for a project.

How have NSPRA and your state chapter guided you along the way?
The Michigan School Public Relations Association (MSPRA) has been critical to my success in this role. I truly appreciate the professional learning opportunities, and I’ve developed invaluable relationships across the state. This year, I’ve been a member of MSPRA’s Professional Development Committee and plan on getting even more involved in the future. I’ve made reading the NSPRA Connect Open Forum threads part of my daily routine and have utilized many of NSPRA’s available resources. I look forward to (hopefully) attending my first NSPRA Seminar.

What are your favorite work and personal apps?
Professionally, I have used Blackboard Connect a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adobe Spark is great when I need a quick social media graphic or flyer designed on the fly. Personally, I stream through Apple Music every day. I also use the 1 Second Everyday app to create a video montage of my family at the end of each year. It helps me find the special moments in everyday life.

What book has inspired you professionally?
Honestly, most of the reading I do is to my young children at home. I tend to gravitate more toward podcasts because I can listen during my daily commute.

What is a recent communications/media campaign you enjoyed – either one of your own or one you saw nationally?
I majored in political science, so I am always tuned in to campaign marketing strategies. I was fascinated by the trajectory of Pete Buttigieg from unknown Midwestern mayor to legitimate presidential primary contender, and I think all PR professionals, regardless of political affiliation, can learn from the work done by his communications staff.

What emerging trends in school public relations get you excited?
I am excited by the ever-increasing use of data in both storytelling and PR decision-making. Schools already do a great job of highlighting anecdotal student or program successes and feel-good stories. Weaving in a district’s data-driven impact adds additional perspective for a more compelling total package.