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The NSPRA Learning and Liberty Award reflects the symbolism of The Education Flag of Learning and Liberty. It is given in recognition of outstanding collaborative efforts between schools, business and community, and the home, and to foster respect, understanding and civic cooperation between people of all backgrounds and beliefs. This is a special purpose recognition used to honor individuals deemed to embody the tenets and symbolism of the award and who demonstrate a deep commitment to education and strong support for effective communication and the mission of NSPRA.
Click below to view profiles of the most recent recipients of the Learning & Liberty Award.
NSPRA is proud to honor Linsae Snider, a longtime NSPRA member and Texas SPRA executive director, for her tireless work, energetic spirit and steadfast commitment to the school communications profession in Texas and across the nation.
With more than 29 years of service in public education as a teacher, program coordinator and school district administrator, Snider has brought a wealth of experience to TSPRA’s leadership position where she oversees the day-to-day operations in the state office in Austin. Throughout her tenure as TSPRA executive director, Linsae's support of NSPRA has been unwavering. NSPRA is deeply appreciative of her inclusive approach, which always stood to welcome collaboration and teamwork to support the mission of both TSPRA and the national association.
With this honor, Linsae joins an acclaimed group of honorees including NSPRA past presidents Joe Krumm, Barry Gaskins, and Bob Grossman, as well as other public education leaders including author Jamie Vollmer, former AASA executive director Paul Houston, and former Public Education Network president Wendy Puriefoy.
Joe Krumm was passionate about a lot of things — his family, his community, his music, baseball, red shoes — but public education and serving students and their families certainly ranks near the top of the list. Public education and NSPRA lost a great friend and champion with Joe’s unexpected passing on September 28 at the too-young age of 61.
Joe was the consummate communication pro. He started his communications career as a reporter at the Clackamas County Review in 1984, eventually working his way up to editor/co-publisher. In 1990 he was recruited by the superintendent of North Clackamas School District (a very wise man!) for a government/media relations position. With a new purpose and single-minded dedication, Joe took his one-person shop and grew it into a comprehensive, award-winning program focused on all levels of engagement and social justice in the greater Milwaukie community. In the process, he not only raised the district’s profile and role in the community, Joe himself became an integral community leader.
He brought that same focus and commitment to NSPRA as a member, a Northwest Region Vice President and then as NSPRA President. Joe believed that accountability is paramount to effective communication. There are many who think the connection between student achievement and a comprehensive communication program is difficult to prove, but Joe worked tirelessly to demonstrate tangible connections and helped NSPRA with our benchmarking project to prove otherwise.
He was also very interested in and committed to the science of leadership and helping young NSPRA colleagues grow into leadership roles in their districts, chapters and NSPRA. He was a mentor to many of us over the years, and with his warm and welcoming persona, never failed to expand his circle of friends and colleagues at the Seminar each year.
At the core of much of Joe’s work was his deep commitment to equity and social justice and he was a powerful advocate and voice for those most in need. His influence is woven throughout NSPRA’s communication equity and diversity efforts and his loss is being felt strongly by the Task Force as they carry this important mission forward. As he admonished the team in one memorable call, “We really need to show our colleagues that this work is more than hosting Taco Tuesdays.”
Joe’s passion and commitment to serving students and families and ensuring equity, tolerance and respect for all truly represents the heart of the Learning & Liberty Award. He was a champion for celebrating and honoring diversity in all forms and he worked tirelessly to that end, both at home and in the national arena. We can think of no more fitting tribute that NSPRA can bestow on our talented and beloved colleague, Joe Krumm, APR.
A true friend of public education, Jamie Vollmer was once a harsh critic who is now an articulate champion of America's public schools. A former businessman and attorney, he is committed to strengthening community support for public schools and building professional pride among our nation's educators.
Jamie is a powerful ally in the effort to create schools that provide all students the opportunity to unfold their full potential. He believes that education has a "systems problem, not a people problem" and that we cannot touch the system without touching the culture of the surrounding community. He advocates for substantive reform, but he also insists that public education must be broadly and aggressively supported if America is to remain great. A popular national speaker, he is the author of Schools Cannot Do It Alone: Building Public Support for America's Public Schools, which chronicles his journey from critic to advocate for public education. Jamie Vollmer is a passionate advocate and a true champion of public education and educators, and he truly embodies the spirit of the Learning & Liberty Award.