35 Under 35 Class of 2020-21: Eva Craner

Eva Craner
Eva Craner 
Twin Falls (Idaho) School District #411
@evacraner @tfsd411



What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership can take on so many forms. I feel like I see true leadership from the administrators I work with every day. They embody a shared leadership style that not only provides opportunities for staff members to be successful but also sets those folks up for success. These people are true leaders as they continually allow those who will be affected by decisions to be involved in the decision-making process and support those who must lead the charge when changes come about.

What was the most fulfilling professional moment you have experienced?
I love being the “behind the scenes” person. It is always so rewarding when I put together a communication campaign with my superintendent’s name on it and then people tell me what a good job he did. This past year we worked through rezoning our elementary school zones. I was happy to do the lion share of the work promoting, organizing and preparing all of the materials. As was expected there were some parents who were unhappy with having their child change schools. One such parent emailed the superintendent to voice her concerns. At the end of the email she made sure to include that while she didn’t agree with the outcome, she appreciated the consistent communications and organization of the overall process. This is the kind of trust-building I like to take part in.

What are the most challenging and/or rewarding parts about working in school PR?
Hands down, hearing my community’s responses, both good and bad, to what my district is doing is the most challenging and rewarding part of working in school PR. Our district office team does a phenomenal job ensuring two-way communication around all big decisions but with any change comes those who are not happy. I enjoy the opportunity to engage with those who are unhappy and talk about the reasons behind decisions and their concerns.

How have NSPRA and your state chapter guided you along the way?
It is rewarding and immensely beneficial to be part of NSPRA and my state chapter. NSPRA provides easy to access resources that assist me with every aspect of my job. The National Seminar is always a morale booster and it provides so many inspirations to get the school year started. I am grateful to have a state chapter that works together so closely. In a state with a small population like Idaho, the 15 or so school PR professionals are in constant contact providing insight into what their districts are doing and how others might benefit from lessons learned. This group has provided me with mentors, confidants, and sounding boards on many occasions.

What are your favorite work and personal apps?
Right now I am head-over-heels for Canva. I like to be a resource for my schools when they don’t have the time to make flyers or other informational campaigns look the way they want them to. Canva allows me to do this with very little effort and has an endless variety of resources and templates. It seems to be the definition of “working smarter not harder.”  
In my personal life, I am an Audible addict. As any School PR professional knows.  the time during the day is limited. I often don’t feel like I have the time or bandwidth to read anymore. However, I have a commute and drive time between schools that I can fill up with great books that are emotionally enriching or for  professional development.

What book has inspired you professionally?
The book  “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie  was required reading in both my undergraduate and graduate programs. I have reread it (actually listened to it on Audible) recently and find myself continually using the strategies it describes on a daily basis.

What is a recent communications/media campaign you enjoyed – either one of your own or one you saw nationally?
There are so many clever campaigns happening right now it is hard to even decide on one. They might seem like a bureaucratic tool, but I love the campaigns that are using flowcharts that all point back to the same choice. We use flowcharts in our district a lot to help people understand how decisions are being made and I love seeing brands play off of this in fun, cheeky ways. Dunkin Donuts has a great example where they ask, “Do you want to try a Dunkin Refresher?” Ultimately, all paths lead to “yes.”

What emerging trends in school public relations get you excited?
I know no one is enjoying the pandemic but it has shone a light on the need for communication between teachers and parents. I love seeing teachers engage with communications in new and innovative ways. The note in the backpack is no longer the standard form of communication. There are so many tools at our disposal and parents are hungry for communications. I’m excited to see teachers take ownership of communication strategies in a more profound way than they have in the past. It is exciting to be a resource for these educators as they work through the many ways they can engage families outside of the classroom.