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School Communicator of the Year Award

School Communicator of the Year Award presented in partnership with Finalsite.NSPRA is proud to announce the new School Communicator of the Year Award, in partnership with Finalsite, to honor one outstanding individual from the school public relations profession. The first SCOY award will be given at the 2024 NSPRA Seminar in Seattle.

To be eligible for the National School Communicator of the Year Award, candidates must first be selected by their chapter as its Communicator of the Year. This chapter award may be branded by another name but should reflect the highest award a school communicator can receive. In addition, candidates should be a current member of their chapter, hold a professional membership in NSPRA and plan to continue working in the profession.

This program is designed to recognize the outstanding leadership and contributions of active, front-line school communicators who work full-time in school districts or education service agencies. It is not designed to be a recognition of service at retirement. Current members of the NSPRA executive board are ineligible to receive this award.


Each candidate for the National School Communicator of the Year Award must first be named by their chapter as the Communicator of the Year based on their chapter’s selection criteria. This chapter award may be branded by another name but should reflect the highest award a school communicator can receive.

For the first three award years (2024, 2025 and 2026), chapters may submit a past winner to allow the alignment of the chapter and national award cycle and criteria. By 2027, chapters should submit their current awardee.

Each candidate of the National School Communicator of the Year Award will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Leadership: Demonstrated leadership in successfully meeting the communication needs of their school system or educational service agency. Examples may include leading successful communication campaigns, overcoming an internal communication challenge or creating a robust strategic communication plan.

  • Communication: Demonstrated strength in both personal and organizational communication. Examples may include evidence of persuasion, the power of engagement or influence in decision making.

  • Professionalism: Constant improvement of knowledge and skills, while providing professional development opportunities and mentoring to others. Examples may include achieving accreditation in public relations (APR), participating in NSPRA’s Mentor Match program or serving as a speaker at the chapter or national level.

  • Community Involvement: Active participation in their local community activities and an understanding of regional, national, and international issues. Examples may include volunteering in their local community, organizing a fund-raising event for their community or writing an article that demonstrates broad knowledge of the complexities of public education.

Applications will be available starting on January 3, 2024, for each chapter nominee to complete. The application can be filled out by a chapter leader or the nominee.

Award Benefits:

  • All nominees and finalists will be recognized individually on stage at the NSPRA Seminar during the first General Session. The SCOY awardee will be a surprise announcement and receive a physical award.
  • The four finalists will be asked to provide a panel presentation at that same Seminar.

The winner will receive:

  • National recognition through NSPRA publications, website and social media.
  • Notification of the winner’s local media outlets, superintendent and school board
  • Free registration and travel expenses for the subsequent NSPRA Seminar (expenses include airfare, four nights at the conference hotel and per diem for meals).
  • Listed as a national speaker on the NSPRA website for one year.
  • Represents NSPRA at national events such as serving as an exemplar on the LFA Public Schools Week panel.
  • A $1,000 scholarship donation to their choice of an education foundation or school.


  • A blue-ribbon panel of judges who are NSPRA’s past winners of the Presidents Award, the Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award, Bob Grossman Leadership in School Communications Award and the Communication Technology Award for Superintendents, and the current NSPRA president.


  • April 1: Deadline for all chapter School Communicators of the Year to complete the National School Communicator of the Year application.
  • May 1: Four finalists are selected and announced.
  • June 15: Four finalists submit videos in response to a prompt question related to the school communications profession.
  • July: The National School Communicator of the Year is announced and all chapter winners are honored on stage at the NSPRA Seminar during the first General Session.

Questions? Contact NSPRA Executive Director Barbara M. Hunter, APR, at