NSPRA Front-Runner: Teri Kranefeld

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.

Teri Kranefeld
Teri Kranefeld

Current title: Manager of Communications, Harford County Public Schools, Bel Air, Md.

Alma Mater: Towson University. Go Tigers!

My PR motto: Get in front of the story. Where there is a void in communication, someone other than you will fill it.

I am inspired by… my children and all of our students. Spending one moment with them brings it all back into perspective; we are here for their success and growth. Nothing less will do. I am also inspired by those with whom I work. My staff, small as it is, also gives me the motivation necessary to be the very best I can be to represent our office and the school system. They are amazing!

Favorite professional fantasy: To become an NFL sideline reporter for ESPN. This fantasy combines my love of the communication profession with my love of football.

Current communication tool I use the most is… social media (Facebook and Twitter) and our website.

Communication tool I rarely use anymore is… a monthly newsletter. The fast-paced nature of life for our community requires us to communicate in real-time, rather than compiling information in a monthly publication.

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Greatest PR success: Moving our office from a strictly public information model of communication into the 21st century as a full-service communications office. We have transformed the role of our office into one that provides communication support to all 54 schools and offices, serves as an advisory role in strategic school system initiatives, and helps to develop relationships in order to build key communicators for our district. Our communication used to be very one-sided. We now engage all stakeholders in a dialogue rather than forcing messages. Active listening has become a skill that is a top priority in our district.

Greatest communication challenge: Community Citizen Reporters. Comments under online articles make rumor control a full-time task. Stakeholders now credit the comments as a primary source of information rather than the article itself.

A strong communication program supports student success by… engaging the community to become partners in the educational process. In order to develop the whole child and prepare them for college and career, it takes the entire community working together to provide every opportunity possible. The strategic communication program should foster and support the relationships required and tell the story of the students, their needs and accomplishments.

My favorite part of my job is… building meaningful relationships with all of our partners in order to make a meaningful contribution to the success of our students.

I believe school PR/communications is... essential to the success of our students and employees. It is the ultimate support profession that typically goes unnoticed but would be sorely missed, if it disappeared.

Joining CHESPRA helped me… build a network of colleagues that are supportive, knowledgeable and always willing to help. In my tenure, I have been through some major tragedies, including the death of our seated superintendent. Without the love and support of my CHESPRA colleagues, I would have never gotten through that loss, both professionally and personally.

I’m an NSPRA member because… I value the support, professional development and fellowship that it provides. I am a better PR professional because of my involvement in the association. Playing an active role has given me the confidence and motivation to triumph, even in the face of adversity.

My epitaph: “Loving mother of two incredible boys who always sought to leave the world a better place and to take less than she gave.”