NSPRA Presidents Award

The NSPRA Presidents Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Association. It is given to recognize a (living) individual NSPRA member for outstanding professionalism and integrity throughout a career as an educational public relations practitioner and for contributing to the advancement of educational public relations. In addition, it recognizes the member’s active involvement and leadership at a national level as well as substantive professional contributions to NSPRA.

Eligible nominees must:

  • Hold a professional membership in NSPRA.
  • Be a member of their state chapter (unless nominee’s state has no chapter).
  • Hold (or have held during their career) a full-time educational PR position (with a district, school, educational agency or association) for a minimum of 10 years.

Nominations for the Presidents Award may be submitted by: 

  • Current NSPRA chapter presidents,
  • Any past NSPRA Executive Board member who is not serving on the current selection committee and
  • Past recipients of the award.

 Nominations for the 2021 NSPRA Presidents Award have closed.  

Sandra Cokeley, APR

2020 NSPRA Presidents Award Recipient:
Sandra Cokeley, APR

President/Owner, Cokeley Communications
CEO and Founder, SCoPE School Surveys

The National School Public Relations Association is honoring Sandra Cokeley, APR, with its highest member honor: the Presidents Award. The award recognizes an NSPRA member for outstanding professionalism and integrity throughout a career as an educational PR practitioner. Honorees are chosen for contributing to the advancement of educational PR, for active involvement and leadership at the national level, and for their substantive professional contributions to NSPRA. 

The Epitome of Professionalism

Cokeley has served as a highly skilled and experienced PR professional in the public and private sectors for more than 30 years.

In 2015, she launched SCoPE School surveys to help school districts uncover what is and is not working in their school communication programs through standardized surveys for staff, parents and community members. Those surveys are aligned with NSPRA’s Rubrics of Practice and Suggested Measures, which she helped develop in its first edition.

She is also the president and owner of Cokeley Communications, which provides consulting services for school districts, higher education institutions, non-profit organizations, private corporations and professional organizations.

Prior to her consultancy work, she served as the director of community relations and quality for the Pearl River School District in New York.

"Sandy has always been the epitome of professionalism throughout her career, serving as a role model for colleagues and members," said Karen Kleinz, APR, the 2018 Presidents Award winner and past NSPRA associate director.

A Leader in Professional Development

In addition to her professional career, Cokeley has helped numerous NSPRA members, chapters and the association over the years.

She presents regularly at chapter and national meetings, serves on accreditation panels and counsels fellow members through communication challenges. She maintains an active membership and advisory role in her local New Jersey chapter, and previously, she held various offices including that of president while a longtime member of the New York School Public Relations Association. She served as NSPRA president in 2008-09, and she has also authored numerous articles and worked as a consultant communication auditor for the national association.

"As an APR, Sandy has championed the use of research and evaluation through data analysis and strategic planning. She has done this through her own work, both in schools and in her role with SCoPE Surveys, but also by leading professional development sessions for her school PR colleagues. Through her work, Sandy has helped to define our role as practitioners and demonstrated the value of our profession," said NYSPRA President Adrienne Leon, APR.

Helps Colleagues Set Higher Goals

Cokeley’s educational PR work has earned many chapter and national awards.

She also helped the Pearl River School District earn a Malcom Baldridge National Quality Award in 2001 and later authored the book Malcom and Me: How to Use the Baldridge Process to Improve Your School. Her experience led her to become a Baldridge senior examiner/alumni examiner assessing quality award applicants for 11 years. She served as a keynote speaker and presenter on the Malcom Baldridge National Quality Program across the United States and globally from 2002-2012. 

NSPRA member and past president Frank Kwan, APR, experienced Cokeley’s leadership first-hand during his service on the NSPRA Executive Board. “Sandy brought high quality expectations from her experience with the Baldridge Award and helped colleagues set higher goals for themselves and their districts. She advocated a strong focus on data driven decision making and the research that supports communication strategies,” said Kwan.

NSPRA leaders are proud to recognize Sandra Cokeley, APR, as the 2020 Presidents Award winner.

View a list of previous award recipients.