Barbara Hunter, APR, to lead NSPRA

The Executive Board of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) is thrilled to announce the hiring of Barbara Hunter, APR, as NSPRA’s next executive director. Hunter (pictured), a long-time NSPRA member and strategic communications leader, will take over the reins of the association from Executive Director Rich Bagin, APR, who is retiring Feb. 28, 2021, after a distinguished 32-year NSPRA career.   

Barbara Hunter, APRBased in Maryland, NSPRA is a professional association of more than 1,900 school communications professionals spanning North America. For more than 75 years the organization has served to build a stronger network of transparent and high-quality communications from local schools to their communities through offering professional development and contributing to the thought leadership on best practices in communications.

“When we embarked on our search, the Executive Board was unified in our desire to find a leader with the public relations expertise, business acumen, internal knowledge of NSPRA and vision to refine and grow the organization far into the future,” said 2019-20 President Kelly Avants, APR. “Not an easy task, we admitted, but one we felt was imperative to seeing NSPRA continue to grow and thrive as an Association focused on building credibility and value for the profession while empowering our members to be their very best.”

After a months-long, nationwide search, Hunter was selected to lead the organization into its future. Barbara Hunter served a total of 14 years as the chief communications officer in two school districts, both in Northern Virginia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and management from Hood College and a master’s degree in public relations management from The American University. In addition, she holds accreditation in public relations (APR) and has served as the NSPRA Mideast Region vice president and as a past president of the Chesapeake chapter of NSPRA.

Hunter previously served as a board team leader, project manager and co-author of NSPRA’s Rubrics of Practice and Suggested Measures, which now serves as the standard for evaluating school communication programs. She has earned dozens of awards and national recognition, including a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America and a Gold Medallion from NSPRA for a community engagement campaign on changing school start times.

"Over the last two decades in my work as a school communications professional, NSPRA has provided me with the support to advance my career, the knowledge to improve my craft and lifelong friendships that have inspired my journey. I am thrilled to be given this opportunity to team with the board, connect with our members and guide NSPRA into the future," Hunter said upon her selection as NSPRA’s next executive director.

For the last five years, Hunter has been the president/CEO of Hunter Communications LLC, based in Alexandria, Virginia. Her experience in large public school systems, as a consultant for NSPRA, a chapter leader and project lead, as well as previous work with the National School Boards Association and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, has uniquely prepared her for the new role. The transition will begin Nov. 16, as Hunter assumes the role of executive director and Rich Bagin, APR, moves into an executive director emeritus role in which he will facilitate the transition and complete special projects for NSPRA until his retirement Feb. 28, 2021.