Ameerah Palacios, APR-35 Under 35

35 Under 35 Class of 2018-19
Ameerah is one of 35 professionals, age 35 and under, who is part of the Class of 2018-19. These 35 individuals are emerging leaders who are making a difference in school public relations.

Ameerah Palacios, APR
Metropolitan Nashville (Tenn.) Public Schools.

What does leadership mean to you? 
Leadership is saying what needs to be said even when it is uncomfortable, engaging people and meeting them where they are during challenging times. 

What was the most fulfilling professional moment you have experienced? 
I organize the career exploration fair for every 9th grader in Metro Schools, which recruits about 160 business and community partners from every industry in Nashville to showcase careers for about 7,000 students representing the district’s neighborhood, charter and magnet schools. I am proud that it’s truly an event for every child regardless of language and ability because I intentionally train every exhibitor to engage with learning activities for our diverse population. We have interpreters on site and special workbooks for students who are still learning English. Students with special needs can find activities that engage them as well. Ensuring equity is more than a buzzword – I make sure the work happens. 

What are the most challenging and/or rewarding part about working in school PR? 
The most challenging aspect of school PR work is making data-informed decisions when research takes time and commitment. The rewarding part of school PR is ensuring we’re really doing what we say to parents, elected and community. When we do, we know we’re doing right by our families and when we don’t live up to our promise, it’s an opportunity to improve our practices. 

What’s your favorite work app and personal app?
 My favorite work application is Canva because it’s easy and fast. My favorite personal app is Google’s Arts and Culture app, which lets me explore museums all over the world. 

What book has inspired you professionally? 
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, because the only thing constant in life is change. 

How has NSPRA and your state chapter guided you along the way? 
I have been fortunate to have enjoyed the programming of chapters from Mo., N.Y., N.J. and now Tenn. From PARCC to branding and state politics, NSPRA has been a thought partner in my work in school public relations as I have led communications for both a small, suburban school district to a large, urban school district.  

What is a recent communications/media campaign you enjoyed – either one of your own or one you saw nationally?
What Our Students Say, a campaign of Academies of Nashville students sharing their story in 30-second video testimonials. When designing school marketing messages, I find student voice is the most credible and persuasive.

What emerging trends in school public relations get you excited? 

  • Augmented reality and virtual reality for experiential learning and school events. 
  • Community engagement for introverts
  • Using technology to have more productive meetings
  • Facebook live for PTO/PTA meetings and principal announcements