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APR Testimonials

Universal accreditation is a voluntary certification program for public relations professionals that seeks to improve the practice of public relations. Internationally recognized, Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) integrates timeless communication principles with contemporary strategies and tactics. The process of earning your APR takes your skills to the next level by exposing you to today's cutting-edge strategies and practices, by assessing your skills to identify strengths and opportunities for growth, and by demonstrating your personal and professional commitment to excellence.  Read on for testimonials from accredited NSPRA members to learn about their journeys and how having an APR has impacted their professional lives.

Are you accredited? Tell us how it's made a difference in your career and it may be spotlighted on this webpage and NSPRA social media.

Expand each section to read on for testimonials from accredited NSPRA members to learn about their journeys and how having an APR has impacted their professional lives.

Leslie McCoy, APR 
Director of Communications
Bowling Green (Ky.) Independent Schools

When did earn your APR?  
March 2017

What was your APR Journey?  
After 10 years working in school PR, I was ready for a new challenge. I attended the 2015 NSPRA Conference, including a session about APR. I did not personally know anyone who had earned the APR, and it was only a distinction I had seen through NSPRA. After the conference and research, I met with my Superintendent and we discussed my experiences and developed a growth plan, centered on my goals and earning the APR. I enrolled in the online course, ordered recommended texts, and committed to studying every week. I made flashcards, recorded myself walking through the RPIE steps, and I did the online course to the commitment of a graduate course. As for a new challenge, I also had a baby this calendar year, too. I returned from maternity leave in the fall of 2016 to finalize my panel presentation. I passed the exam a few months later. If I can go through this process, complete with morning [all day] sickness, and a newborn, YOU can do it, too!

How has earning an APR impacted your professional life? 
Earning the APR was the best professional development I have ever personally invested in and committed to doing. It has also led me to become more involved in NSPRA and better utilize the resources available through the organization. Since beginning the process of APR, I was promoted to Director of Communications, including a rank change on the administrative salary scale.

Terry Ryan, APR  
Communications Manager
Northbrook School District 28 , Northbrook, Ill.

When did earn your APR?  
November 2013

What was your APR journey?   
When I became a school public relations professional I immediately knew I found my place. I wanted to earn the APR to get better at the job I wanted to keep until I retire. As soon as I had worked five years in the trade, I began my quest....that lasted three years. I'm here to tell those who at first don't succeed, the process is what brings value and knowledge. When I didn't advance past my first 'readiness review' it was a true slap in the face. But when I dusted myself off and picked myself back up, I encountered an even more challenging situation in which to apply my skills and newly acquired knowledge. The result was two new beautiful elementary schools for underserved children, a board that united for a common good, and a portfolio piece that successfully applied all aspects of RPIE. Like the famous adage, it's not the destination but the journey that counts.

How has earning an APR impacted your professional life?
As we all know, as a communications professional, there are too many things to do and too many directions to run. Using the knowledge I developed by acquiring my APR helps me prioritize and focus my work. APR is more than studying textbooks and having an answer for particular scenarios or situations. It influenced my frame of mind on how I approach new challenges. Having a roadmap to figure out the best course of action is invaluable. The knowledge and tools acquired through studying for accreditation equip you for whatever may happen in this unpredictable world. While many educators may not really understand what an APR is, it is my accreditation training that helps me provide counsel and direction in challenging times.

Cindy Warner, APR 
Public Relations and Community Education Supervisor
Shelby County Schools, Columbiana, Ala.

When did earn your APR?  
November 2015

What was your APR journey?   
Earning my APR was something that I aspired to achieve, not only as a professional goal, but a personal one as well. I have a great amount of respect for other APRs that I know in the profession, especially those I had met through NSPRA.  Some of the best seminar sessions I had attended over the years usually had one thing in common - they were being facilitated by an APR.   I also had tremendous respect for state colleagues who had recently gone through the process and they were wonderful to encourage me and support me through the process. 

My school district also places great value on continuing education, professional development, and leadership training.  I wanted to demonstrate my commitment to my own personal growth as a leader in my district and earning my APR was the best way to accomplish that goal.  Due to the busy nature of my job and personal life, it took me three years to finally achieve this goal. Eventually, I just had to make it a top priority!

How has earning an APR impacted your professional life?
I would say that the APR really does give you instant credibility among your colleagues - not only in the field of Public Relations, but with fellow educators also. It changed the way I do my job. I am now much more strategic in how I go about planning my projects and advising other leaders in my district. Earning my APR has helped me and my district leaders truly understand the importance of developing positive relationships with all stakeholders, consensus building, increasing engagement, being transparent in our operations, and looking for multiple communication channels that support a two-way communication process. It is only through this process that we will build trust with our stakeholders, which is so important in gaining and keeping the public’s support for public education.