35 Under 35 Class of 2020-21: Elizabeth Beadle

Elizabeth Beadle
Middletown (Ohio) City School District
@eliz_beadle @MiddletownOH


Elizabeth is one of 35 professionals, age 35 and under, who makes up the Class of 2020-21. They are emerging leaders who are making a difference in school public relations. 

What does leadership mean to you?
The three words that come to mind when I think of leadership are  as follows: Inspiring. Trust. Accessibility.

What was the most fulfilling professional moment you have experienced?
To date, my most fulfilling professional moment was the first Middie XL: Excellence Live showcase and symposium. In Middletown City Schools, we decided to forgo the multiple page Quality Profile document and put on a “living” Quality Profile. One night a year, we invited the community to see, hear, and experience #MiddieRising. The first year of MiddieXL, we packed the arena with 2,000 people, debuted our #MiddieRising Movie, and then invited everyone to go into the Middle and High School campus and visit interactive displays and booths from each of our 10 schools. It was an amazing experience.

What are the most challenging and/or rewarding part about working in school PR?
Working in School PR is so rewarding. I love that I get to invite the community inside our schools through storytelling. It is my hope that families in Middletown, whether in the school district or not, have heard of #MiddieRising and have formed their own definition for our hashtag. I suppose that’s my challenge: cultivating our #MiddieRising brand and shaping our narrative to be a positive one for the entire city. Seriously, what a fun challenge to have!

How have NSPRA and your state chapter guided you along the way?
More than anything, my group of school PR professionals in southwest Ohio guides me and uplifts me. Most of us are members of OHSPRA and NSPRA, but to have that very local connection is key. We meet monthly (in-person and now virtual), talk weekly via group text or our Facebook Group page, and cheer one another along daily. Whenever I have a question or need to float an idea by someone, I know I can rely on someone in School PR.

What’s your favorite work app and personal app?
Canva! I’m sure I’m not alone in this favorite app. My degree is in English and Public Relations, not graphic design. We all know it is so important to have eye-catching and on-brand graphics and documents for presentations, website, and social media. What used to be such a struggle for me , I can now easily create a simple graphic or a standard look for my content. The School PR community is so giving and many of us even share our designs to help one another out.

What book has inspired you professionally?
I read mostly for pleasure, but when I started working for Middletown City Schools three years ago I knew I needed to read “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance, a Middletown High School graduate. Reading about Vance’s childhood memories and learning more about the history of Middletown was eye-opening. My background is different from many of our students, so to represent our community accurately, I need to understand what is happening inside the homes of our students. On a small scale, “Hillbilly Elegy” afforded me that access.

What is a recent communications/media campaign you enjoyed – either one of your own or one you saw nationally?
Last year, we did a docu-series called Ride Along. We followed Superintendent Marlon Styles around the district and filmed him talking to people: parents, teachers, students, business owners, and the community. The four-part series was an intimate look at what goes into the superintendent’s role and how open communication is vital to the success of a district. We’ve been using professional video for three years now and the response has been tremendous. We choose a theme each year and then give everyone a chance to tell their own #MiddieRising story.

What emerging trends in school public relations get you excited?
I wouldn’t call this an emerging trend, but I think school PR is finally getting some recognition. I’m collaborating with other districts more than ever, following trends across the country, and despite the pandemic stress I’m having more fun in my job. I’ve learned I enjoy crisis communications, especially when I have a strong network of OHSPRA and NSPRA pros to lean on.