NSPRA Announces 2021 Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award Recipient

The National School Public Relations Association is honoring Susan Brott, APR, with one of its most prestigious recognition awards: the Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award. The award recognizes a practicing school public relations professional for outstanding efforts in mentoring colleagues new to school public relations; providing counsel and advice on job success; and assisting colleagues in their professional development by creating or providing programs and activities designed to improve PR skills and knowledge.

Susan Brott, APRBrott currently serves as a senior strategic consultant for CESO Communications, LLC, which provides strategic communications counsel and support for public school districts. Prior to joining CESO in 2020, she spent more than 20 years handling communications for school districts in Minnesota. She has also been an active contributor to her state chapter, Minnesota SPRA (MinnSPRA), and to NSPRA throughout her career.

Over the last two decades, Brott has demonstrated her dedication to mentoring colleagues in the profession in a variety of ways. 

“Susan is a life-long learner whose thoughtful questions and reflective insight constantly push her colleagues to grow. You can’t help but learn something new or think differently about an issue after a conversation with her,” said Chris Tennill, APR, the chief communications officer for Clayton School District in Missouri.

Brott, who is the daughter of public school teachers, frequently serves as a mentor for those who are new to the school public relations profession. For example, she co-facilitated the New Professionals workshop offered prior to the annual National Seminar for six years until 2019. As part of that work, she set up ongoing opportunities for participants to stay connected throughout the year.

“Her warmth and commitment to helping us newbies learn, grow and adjust to a complicated and challenging career was invaluable,” said Christine Paik, the chief communication officer for Poway Unified School District in California. “I suddenly felt like part of a large, extended ‘family’ with built-in support, camaraderie and networking.” 

At the state level, Brott co-facilitated the MinnSPRA Emerging Leaders program, a year-long learning cohort to provide learning for younger leaders who wanted to advance their skills in school communication. 

While working in four school districts over the course of her career, Brott also has supervised younger colleagues in ways that helped them advance their skills and pursue other positions. 

“Susan made my transition into the field seamless and was incredibly forthcoming and patient in introducing me to the field during a time of constant change for our district. The learning experience was invaluable,” said Wesley Drey, a communications coordinator for the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 in Minnesota.

NSPRA leaders are proud to recognize Susan Brott, APR, as the Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award winner. She will be honored at the NSPRA 2021 National Seminar during the General Session on Tuesday, July 13, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Learn more about the Gaskins Award nomination and selection process.