NSPRA Front-Runner: Dan Sherman

NSPRA Front-Runners are members identified by the NSPRA Executive Board as emerging leaders who are doing outstanding work for their schools, their chapters and for NSPRA. They have demonstrated professional leadership at the state and national level and/or have been recognized for innovation and excellence through NSPRA award programs or presentations.

Dan Sherman
Dan Sherman

Current Title: Director of Communications, Questar III BOCES, Schodack, N.Y.

Alma Mater: Boston University (bachelors), University at Albany (masters)

My PR Motto: Never underestimate the power of your staff as ambassadors. Help them to help you.

I am inspired by…the reaction of those we help and doing together what may be difficult, if not impossible, to do alone. I am fortunate to work with a great staff that keeps me honest and focused.

Favorite professional fantasy: Presidential speechwriter. My great uncle was a communications officer for Dwight D. Eisenhower during World War II — he received the message that the Germans agreed to surrender.

Current communication tool I use the most is…my ears. I always had excellent hearing though I didn’t really start listening until much later in life!

Communication tool I rarely use anymore is…the fax machine.

Greatest PR Success: working together with a neighboring educational service agency on a regional advocacy campaign resulted in nearly $20 million more in aid for our school districts. This earned NSPRA’s Gold Medallion Award in July 2013.

Greatest Communication Challenge: Finding the time to do everything that’s expected and needed. Our department serves the needs of multiple districts that buy our services in addition to supporting internal/external communications for our organization.

Why Social Media Matters: School Communication in the Digital Age
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A strong communication program supports student success by…promoting a better understanding of the goals, accomplishments and needs of our schools, and how to engage others in conversations and solutions.

My favorite part of my job is…the diversity of projects and people we work with, and our ability to help or influence others. Every day is truly different.

I believe school PR/communications is...essential to the long-term success of our schools and democracy. We need to build better public understanding and support at a time when others are working hard to vilify our staff, schools, programs or policies.

Joining NYSPRA helped me…connect with colleagues regionally and across the state. We have been able to share ideas and knowledge at a time when New York State is implementing a number of changes related to instruction, teacher/principal evaluation and school funding.

I’m an NSPRA member because…it is the leader in school communications. I always enjoy attending the annual conference and seeing what others in the field are doing.

My epitaph: His family asked him to write this, but he ran out of time.