NSPRA Announces 2022 Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award Recipient

NSPRA is pleased to announce Jill Filer, director of communications and community relations for Harrisonville (Mo.) Schools, as the recipient of the 2022 Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award. She will be honored at the NSPRA 2022 National Seminar during the General Session on Tuesday, July 19, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Hotel.

The annual award, named for NSPRA past-president Barry Gaskins, APR, 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.

“Jill’s ongoing commitment to mentoring professionals new to school public relations is inspiring,” said NSPRA Executive Director Barbara M. Hunter, APR. “Her guidance and counsel have been invaluable to so many during a time of continued change, and her actions will be felt for years to come.” 

Over the course of her more than 20 years in school communications, Filer’s dedication to school PR, the professional development of colleagues and to serving others has been a hallmark of her career. 

“Jill’s method for mentoring is simple: She makes herself available,” said David Luther, executive director of the Missouri School Public Relations Association (MOSPRA), a chapter of NSPRA. “See a problem? Address it. Find a gap? Fill it. Recognize that a colleague is struggling? Lift them up. That’s what Jill has been doing for the past 20 years.”

Filer spearheaded the creation of MOSPRA’s “Colleague Connections” mentorship program as well as organized sub-regional meetings for the chapter, which provide opportunities for members to come together at nearby locations to share best practices in school communications. Her “ready-to-serve” demeanor has made her a go-to advisor for school PR colleagues across the nation. 

“It’s hard to find those colleagues whom you know you can trust for professional and personal advice,” said Lana Snodgras, director of communications and community relations for the West Plains (Mo.) School District. “Jill listens, then questions, and instead of telling you what to do, helps you determine what is best for the situation.”

Filer previously served as the MOSPRA president in 2010-2011 and was honored as an NSPRA Front-Runner in 2011.

Learn more about the Gaskins Award nomination and selection process.