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Press Release
Sarah Loughlin, Communications Specialist
National School Public Relations Association
301-519-1221 I



Annual award recognizes association members for outstanding professionalism and integrity throughout a career as an educational public relations practitioner and for contributing to the advancement of educational PR.

Rick Kaufman, APR

ROCKVILLE, MD.(May 8, 2023) – The National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) is pleased to announce Rick Kaufman, APR, executive director of community relations and emergency management at Bloomington (Minn.) Public Schools, as the recipient of the 2023 NSPRA Presidents Award.

The Presidents Award is the highest honor bestowed on an individual by NSPRA. Each year, the award recognizes a living association member for outstanding professionalism and integrity throughout a career as an educational public relations practitioner and for contributing to the advancement of educational PR. In addition, the award also recognizes the recipient’s active involvement and leadership at a national level as well as substantive professional contributions to NSPRA. 

“Rick is a true trailblazer in school public relations,” said NSPRA President Catherine Kedjidjian, APR. “It is an honor to recognize his dedication to our profession and to the association. His work, leadership and unwavering commitment to excellence truly embodies the spirit of the Presidents Award.”

Kaufman is a nationally respected consultant and trainer on emergency management and crisis communications. In 1996, Kaufman developed the first full-scale active shooter drill in a school setting while employed at Sheboygan (Wisc.) Area School District. Three years later, tragedy unfolded at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., during the deadliest mass school shooting to date, where Kaufman was serving as the executive director of public engagement and communications for Jefferson County Public Schools. Among the first to arrive on scene, Kaufman provided emergency triage and rescue operations before assuming co-leadership of the Columbine Crisis Response Team; Many of the decisions, messages and processes developed and executed by Kaufman and his team have become part of the foundation of how schools respond to crisis events.

Over the course of his 30 years in school communications, Kaufman has been recognized with a myriad of awards and distinctions, including the NSPRA’s Learning and Liberty Legacy Leaders Recognition and the Public Relations Society of America’s inaugural Public Relations Professional of the Year honor in 2000. He is a five-time recipient of NSPRA’s Gold Medallion award, the association’s top award program recognizing superior educational public relations programs and campaigns grounded in strategic communication best practices, and the author of The Complete Crisis Communication Management Manual for Schools. Kaufman previously served as president of both NSPRA and the Wisconsin School Public Relations Association, a chapter of NSPRA.

“Rick’s decades-long commitment to elevating the field of school communication and emergency management has been invaluable to NSPRA, our members and countless communities across the country,” said NSPRA Executive Director Barbara M. Hunter, APR. “The expertise he’s shared over the years with colleagues nationwide through workshop presentations, publications and articles will have an ever-lasting and immeasurable impact.”

Kaufman will be honored at the NSPRA 2023 National Seminar during the General Session on Monday, July 17, in St. Louis, Mo.  

Visit Presidents-Award to learn more about this award. 


As the leader in school communication, NSPRA serves more than 2,700 members, who work primarily as communication directors in public school districts and education organizations throughout the United States and Canada. NSPRA provides high quality professional development programming through on-demand learning, an annual National Seminar, webinars, online forums and resources. For more information, visit NSPRA’s website at

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