NSPRA Front-Runners

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.The annual distinction recognizes four members, each from a different NSPRA region.

Each Front-Runner receives recognition in an issue of e-Network, NSPRA's monthly member-only e-newsletter, as well as a commemorative plaque during the NSPRA Celebration of Achievement and Annual Meeting, which is held during the Seminar each summer.

2017-2018 Front-Runners

This month's featured Front-Runner:

Shawn McKillop, APR

Shawn McKillop, APR
Shawn McKillop, APR

Current title: Manager of Communications and Community Engagement, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, Hamilton, Ontario

Alma Mater: Wilfrid Laurier University (Go Hawks!)

My PR motto: Everyone wants to be heard. Everyone wants to feel supported. Everyone has a story to tell.

I am inspired by...the relationships made in the work we do. Every part of communications impacts others and makes connections with staff, students, parents and community members.

Favorite professional fantasy: That all requests and plans line up perfectly with strategic planning and there will never be an issue or interruption to implementing those plans.

Current communication tool I use the most is...Twitter: @shawnmckillop #shawnstruck #shawnslodge #shawnsbowls #schoolpr #k12prchat #ewanmckillop (my son) #princeewanisland, #futureschoolpr @HWDSB (my district) #HWDSBReimagined #HWDSBproud

Communication tool I rarely use anymore is...my office phone. Call or text my cell or DM me on Twitter.

Greatest PR success: Implementing the “Be Well Campaign” in Grand Erie District School Board is my greatest PR success to date as it helped students know where to get help and how to be well. The campaign opened the conversation about mental health, gave people a new perspective to think wellness rather than illness and inspired hope and action. The campaign was close to my heart because it contributed to me earning my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and receiving an NSPRA Gold Medallion award.

Greatest communication challenge: Doing the research to truly understand, listen and engage with the various audiences — including diverse communities — who all contribute to public education. I wish I could talk to every single person and ask, “Did you get the information, did it meet your needs and do you feel supported?”

Principals in the Public
Principals in the Public
The research is clear — public engagement is a must for all successful school leaders. Developed by NSPRA Executive Director Richard D. Bagin, APR, Principals in the Public is an easy-to-use guide that will enable principals to become skilled communicators as well as community leaders.

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A strong communication program supports student success by...raising awareness, inspiring action or changing attitudes on important topics that transfer knowledge and opportunities to students to achieve and be well.

My favorite part of my job is...is working with students, sharing student stories and seeing the impact that the communications work has made on them.

I believe school PR/communications is...the light that guides our students home. When we see our work in school public relations as being agents to deliver wellness and to inspire hope, we’re doing our part in heroic work to save lives.

Joining NYSPRA helped me...stay connected on trends and build a network of support.

I’m an NSPRA member because...the professional development, mentorship and support received through NSPRA has enriched my career, opened doors and allowed me to learn and grow. The friendships also mean the world to me. #NSPRALoyal

My epitaph: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

List of All Front-Runners

Click the years to show or hide the Front-Runners for that year. Click the person's name to see the full eNetwork profile (available to NSPRA members only.)

(Note: These profiles reflect responses at the time of selection.
The person may have since changed jobs or districts.)


Shawn McKillop, APR
Manager of Communications and Community Engagement
Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
Hamilton, Ontario

Jennifer Harris, APR
Director of Communications
Arlington (Va.) Public Schools

Lori Perlow
Admissions Officer/Community Liaison
Mercer County Technical Schools
Pennington, N.J.

Becky Bean
Communications Manager
South Carolina School Boards Association
Columbia, S.C.


Danielle Clark, APR
Executive Director of Communications
Poudre School District
Fort Collins, Colo

David Beil
Community Relations Director
Central Kitsap Schools, Silverdale, Washington

Danielle (Dani) Brink
Director of Community Relations
DuPage High School District 88, Addison, Ill.

Kristin Magette, APR
Director of Communications
Eudora (Kan.) Public Schools


Lesley Bruinton, APR
Public Relations Coordinator
Tuscaloosa (Ala.) City Schools

Carla Pereira, APR
Manager of Communications
Peel District School Board, Mississauga, Ontario

Tom Scheidel
Public & Media Relations Coordinator
Allegan (Mich.) Area Educational Service Agency

Tierney Tinnin
Senior Communications and Community Relations Officer
Oklahoma City Public Schools


Curtis Campbell
Director of Communications
Sunnyside (Was.) School District

Jason Gaston, APR
Coordinator of Public and Media Relations
Hoover City (Ala.) Schools

Kala Morrissey
Communication Specialist/Webmaster
Papillion-La Vista School District, Papillion, Neb.

Heidi Vega
Director of Communications
Arizona School Boards Association, Phoenix, Ariz.


Teri Kranefeld
Manager of Communications
Harford County Public Schools, Bel Air, Md.

Zac Rantz
Director of Communications
Nixa (Mo.) Public Schools

Dan Sherman
Director of Communications
Questar III BOCES, Schodack, N.Y.

Kim Yielding
Manager, Communications & Public Relations
District School Board of Niagara, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada


Mychal Frost
Public Information Officer
Clover (S.C.) School District

Carrie Hilger, APR
Director of Communications
West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Area Schools, Mendota Heights, Minn.

Stephen Nichols
Public Information & Community Relations Officer
Folsom Cordova USD, Rancho Cordova, Calif.

Casey White-Zollman
Director of Communication & Print Solutions
InterMountain ESD, Pendleton, Ore.


Tim Bullis
Director of Community Relations
Chesterfield County (Va.) Public Schools

Jill Filer
Director of Communications and Community Relations
Harrisonville (Mo.) School District

Briget McGuiggan, APR
Community Relations Coordinator
Orland School District 135, Orland Park, Ill.

Jessica Scheckton
Program Manager
Capital Region BOCES Communications Service, Albany, N.Y.


Danielle Gittus, APR
Public Relations Specialist
Oakland Schools, Waterford, Mich.

LaTarzja Henry
Executive Director of Communications
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte, N.C.

Trinette Marquis
Director of Communications
Twin Rivers Unified School District

Gracie Valle-Chimal
Community Relations Liaison
Pasco (Wash.) School District