Front-Runner: Erica Chandler, 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.

Erica Chandler, APR
Erica Chandler, APR

Erica Chandler, APR
Director of Communications
Affton School District

My alma mater is... Southeast Missouri State University (Go SEMO!)

My personal public relations motto is… If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.

I believe school PR/communications is… essential to the success of every school district. The more we can humanize our schools by featuring our people and connecting how programs and achievements directly impact our kids - especially through the voice of our students, teachers and staff - the more we can strengthen our relationships and build goodwill with our stakeholders.

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 school PR/communication program supports student success by… helping ensure all we do is tied to what’s best for kids. Every decision, policy, program and action should have students at its very heart. It’s one of our key responsibilities to help demonstrate why what we’re doing is best for our students - and sometimes that means asking the tough questions or representing the voice of our stakeholders (especially those that may disagree or be negatively impacted) before a program is implemented or a decision is made.

My greatest school PR success was… building Affton School District’s communications program from the ground up. It’s been a sometimes daunting but always rewarding labor of love to take this district from a culture of no communications to one where our community now trusts we will always be as open, honest and transparent as possible.

My greatest school PR challenge was… passing Props I+N, a tax levy and a bond issue, at the same time in November 2016. Seeing our community go ALL IN for Affton during a season of political divisiveness was hugely rewarding.

I am inspired by… hearing student voice. I love how kids can take the most difficult or convoluted topic and make it real, and I’m always inspired when students strive to make a difference in their world.

My favorite part of my job is… telling the Affton story. I love helping others see our district’s mission, vision and core values come to life.

The communication tool I use the most is… any and all that can help streamline and make this job easier! As a one-person school PR shop, communications tools are essential to helping get it all done. My favorites right now are my editorial calendar, K12Social, Canva, Smore, Animoto and Grammarly.

The communication tool I rarely use anymore is… my office phone. Call or text my cell for a quick response!

My favorite professional fantasy is… finding the budget to add someone talented in video and graphic design. Those are my greatest challenges as a one-person department!

Membership in my state chapter SPRA helps me… build a network of support. No matter what I’m facing, I know my MOSPRA Pros are just one message away and will be there with resources, examples, advice or even just a shoulder to lean on.

Membership in NSPRA helps me... extend that network even further - both in person and online. Plus, the professional development, personal learning network and support received through NSPRA has made me a much more effective and successful #schoolpr pro.