NSPRA Front-Runner: Tom Scheidel

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. See all past Front-Runners.

Tom Scheidel
Tom Scheidel

Current title: Public & Media Relations Coordinator, Allegan (Mich.) Area Educational Service Agency.

Alma Mater: Central Michigan University.

My PR motto: Be clear. Be concise. Be consistent.

I am inspired by…the special education teachers in our district. Their dedication in working with a very challenging student population puts what we do as PR professionals into perspective.

Favorite professional fantasy: Doing an on-stage presentation in front of several thousand people.

Current communication tool I use the most is…our website. It is the central hub for all our digital communication.

Communication tool I rarely use anymore is…the printed newsletter.

Principals in the Public
Principals in the Public
The research is clear — public engagement is a must for all successful school leaders. Developed by NSPRA Executive Director Richard D. Bagin, APR, Principals in the Public is an easy-to-use guide that will enable principals to become skilled communicators as well as community leaders.

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Greatest PR success: Passing a Headlee override millage in November 2014 which resulted in an additional $2.1 million in funding for the students of Allegan County.

Greatest communication challenge: Breaking down the silos. As a county-wide education agency we deal with a myriad of different programs, staff and community members. It is a challenge to get people (including staff) to see us as one organization instead of individual departments.

A strong communication program supports student success by…making sure the voting public understands the mission of our organization.

My favorite part of my job is…taking a new idea and building a program, presentation, or video from the ground up.

I believe school PR/communications…is essential in this day of educational competition.

Joining MSPRA helped me because…I came from a broadcast production background. School PR was relatively new to me and joining MSPRA allowed me to talk to and learn from people who had been in the industry for a long time.

I’m an NSPRA member because…of the wealth of knowledge and contacts available at the national level.

My epitaph: (I didn’t write this and I don’t know the original author, but it fits me), “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Wow! What a ride!’”