NSPRA Front-Runner: Jennifer Harris, APR

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.

Jennifer Harris, APR
Jennifer Harris, APR

Current title: Director of Communications, Arlington (Va.) Public Schools

Alma Mater: Cornell University (Go Big Red!)

My PR motto: It is never wrong to do what is right.

I am inspired by...our students’ success and the wonderful team of people throughout our school division who ensure that many choices and opportunities are available to all students who walk through our doors each day.

Favorite professional fantasy: That everything would be executed in accordance with the written communications plan.

Current communication tool I use the most...is social media. In our district, we have mastered Twitter and the use of hashtags. I’m currently obsessed with Instagram stories and podcasts. I would love to see these platforms continue to grow.

Communication tool I never use anymore is...a printed news release distributed by a fax machine. I have fond memories of beginning my career in that era of media relations.

Greatest PR success: I’m very proud of the work our department has led with our PR liaison network in schools. Our group shares consistent, positive, and engaging social media communications that welcome the community into our schools every day. The positive effect we have on others is the most important currency we have.

Greatest communication challenge: Engaging the diverse voices in our community and making sure they all feel heard, acknowledged, and included in our communications.

Multilingual Welcome Poster
Multilingual Welcome Poster
Few words have the power of "Welcome," and this ready-to-frame 16"x21" poster is sure to make students, community members and staff feel right at home. Reflect the diversity of your school community, as all ages and backgrounds welcome viewers in 25 different languages.
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A strong communication program supports student success by...sharing their stories. There’s no better way to connect with our community than through telling a story, because people will always remember how it made them feel and that is what truly inspires their engagement and support.

My favorite part of my job is...mentoring others in their personal and professional development. Our team’s capacity to serve is only as great as the individual growth of each person within it.

I believe school PR/communications is...an evolving challenge. Every day presents an opportunity for me to learn something new, and to pass it along to others. You touch eternity daily because never know where your influence ends.

Joining CHESPRA helped me...connect with fabulous school communicators who welcomed me into this profession in 2014, and have supported me every step of the way.

I’m an NSPRA member because...I love to learn, network, and collaborate with others. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel when you can simply redesign it to fit your needs. Some of our greatest successes have come from the strategies and tools that NSPRA members have shared with me.

My epitaph: We can be perfect and admired or real and loved. She chose the latter.