2018 Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award Winner: Terry Locke

The Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award recognizes a practicing school public relations professional for: outstanding efforts in mentoring colleagues new to school public relations; providing counsel and advice on job success; and assisting colleagues in their professional development by creating or providing programs and activities designed to improve PR skills and knowledge.

Award Criteria and Nomination Form 

2018 Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award Recipient:

Ron Koehler, APRTerry Locke
Director of Community Relations
Chandler (Ariz.) Unified School District

This award includes two key words in its name — “mentor” and “legacy” — which according to his colleagues, automatically conjure up Terry’s image because of the impact he has had on school communication professionals in Arizona and on others across the country as well.

As a school PR veteran, Terry is seen as a go-to mentor to his Arizona School Public Relations (ASPRA) chapter colleagues and is regarded as an expert in all matters related to school PR. He never hesitates to share his expertise and wisdom, whether it’s on the chapter listserv, on the phone, via email or face to face. Even after decades in the profession, you will find him at all ASPRA professional development meetings, either presenting or participating as an attendee. He generously shares his expertise, experiences, materials and time — ask for his help and Terry will be there.

Terry is known as a PR professional that focuses on results. He is the master of school communication and an expert in rezoning, media relations, passing bond and override elections, building community support, and creating overall fun for everyone involved. Terry practices what he preaches leading the communication department of one of the largest school districts in the Valley of the Sun (greater metro Phoenix). He guides his team with a strategic communication plan that includes effective public engagement processes, and he is the leading voice for his district on local and state issues impacting public education.

While Terry’s unassuming leadership style and dry, witty sense of humor have long been appreciated in his home state, his service as NSPRA’s Southwest Region Vice President from 2013-16 shown a spotlight on his many contributions as an NSPRA veteran and expanded the impact he has had on colleagues, from sound strategic counsel to humorous collaborations that make us laugh at some of the challenges we face in school PR and public education.

But it is the testimonials from colleagues that truly highlight why Terry has earned their respect and admiration.

“In the world of school PR, Terry has been a godsend. To me he has been a mentor who has helped me take an exciting journey of self-discovery and development. Among probing questions, mental stretching, words of encouragement, reminders that ‘I’ll be fine,’ the laughs and the wisdom, I come away inspired and energized after each of our conversations. He challenges me to draw upon and develop hidden personal resources and qualities.”

~ Kim Mesquita
ASPRA President &
Administrator of Community Relations
Glendale (Ariz.) Union High School District

“Starting out as a rookie PR professional, Terry was one of the first people to introduce himself and welcome me with open arms to the profession. As the years have gone by, Terry has been someone I can count on for advice, help and guidance with any and all situations; there really isn’t anything Terry has not experienced. Now as I embark on my time as President-elect for ASPRA, Terry serves as role model for what great leadership looks like and someone I strive to emulate.”

~ Emily Waszolek
ASPRA President-elect &
Communications Manager
Creighton School District, Phoenix, Ariz.

“I was a mere month into my new role as communications director when I met Terry. I was facing a national crisis that was clearly going to run longer than one news cycle when someone told me to reach out to Terry for his expert advice. I quickly learned how Terry received the nickname ‘The Godfather of School PR.’ While I thought that I may have just been lucky that day when Terry answered my call, I soon saw that he responded the same way when every other new colleague called for support.”

~ Danielle Airey
Chief Communications Officer
Peoria (Ariz.) Unified School District

The purpose of the Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award is to recognize outstanding efforts in mentoring, inspiring and motivating others. Advocating for public education and mentoring others is not just a job for Terry, it is a way of life. School PR professionals in Arizona and across the nation are stronger thanks to his mentorship and guidance and for this reason we are very proud to recognize Terry Locke as our 2018 Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award recipient.

The 2018 Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award will be presented during the Anaheim Seminar General Session on Tuesday, July 17, 2018.