35 Under 35 Class of 2020-21: Rachel Frost

Rachel Frost
Rachel Frost 
Region 10 Education Service Center, Richardson, Texas
@RE_Frost44 @Region10ESC



What does leadership mean to you?

To me, leadership means finding and developing the potential in the people I support. Leadership is about listening to other people's ideas and opening the doors for new opportunities. Leadership means accepting and acknowledging when I am wrong, and then growing from it.  I believe great leaders are also great learners - people who are constantly looking for ways to improve their skills, expand their knowledge and consider trying new things.

What was the most fulfilling professional moment you have experienced?

Seeing my name on NSPRA’s 35 Under 35 list with my former colleague has to be one of the most fulfilling professional moments of my career. When I hired Olivia Rice in Terrell (Texas)  ISD, I knew she had serious potential. We were a small department, so we worked closely together on everything. She was so receptive to feedback and was constantly looking for ways to improve our department. As the leader of the department, I tried to pour as much into her as I could,  so that when my time came to leave the district, she could step into the leadership role with ease. The work she has done since I left Terrell ISD is absolutely amazing. I am constantly in awe of the new ideas she comes up with, the way she is marketing the district and her level of commitment not only to the students, but also to the entire community. To be honored alongside Olivia Rice is really special to me.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts about working in school PR?

School PR is not a job you can "turn off." That makes it very challenging. School PR professionals can never truly unplug because they are the person responsible for responding when a crisis occurs. It's hard to be that person all the time. On the flip side, it can be very rewarding to be the trusted advisor to so many people throughout the school district. People know you are someone they can trust, someone who will stand as the voice of reason and someone who is experienced in keeping their cool in the midst of high-stress situations. Personally, I don't think there is anything more rewarding than seeing the excitement on students' faces on the first day of school. I absolutely love it!

How have NSPRA and your state chapter guided you along the way?

NSPRA and TSPRA have provided opportunities for me to connect with so many amazing people. These connections have turned into friendships, mentorships, and in my case, even a marriage . I met my husband, David Hicks, at the TSPRA conference many years ago. I value these relationships that I've formed through these organizations because I know that these are people I can count on when I need them most. I can't tell you how many times I have reached out to a TSPRA or NSPRA friend for guidance, support or to just brainstorm new ideas.

What are your favorite work and personal apps?

My favorite apps for work are Canva and Splice. Personally, my favorite apps are NYT Cooking, Spotify, Instagram, Amazon and Novel Effect.

What book has inspired you professionally?

“Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World” by General Stanley McChrystal, is a book that has inspired me professionally.  It made me really think about my role as a leader, and how I can help break down walls that exist between departments within an organization. I think the examples shared in this book, along with the lessons learned, are especially relevant now as we are all having to work together to adjust to this new normal while also having to be increasingly adaptable.

What is a recent communications/media campaign you enjoyed – either one of your own or one you saw nationally?

I think the New York Times "The Truth is Essential" campaign is really powerful. The videos are masterfully edited and the message is simple and concise.

What emerging trends in school public relations get you excited?

Since COVID, I have had many conversations with my school PR friends about this unique opportunity we have to try something new and/or different. Oftentimes,  we do things over and over again because it's easy, safe  or expected. The pandemic has presented this strange challenge that many have embraced to rethink how and why we do what we do. I don't know that this is necessarily a trend, but it is something that gets me excited about school public relations. I have seen so many school districts coming up with these brilliant ideas for celebrating their graduates, welcoming students back to school (virtually or in person), and keeping not only their schools, but their entire communities connected despite being physically distanced. I think now is absolutely the time to stop doing the things that are comfortable and start trying something new.