NSPRA National Seminar: Pre-Seminar Workshops

Attend a pre-Seminar workshop to maximize your professional learning opportunities during the NSPRA 2020 National Seminar! Half-day, full-day and two-day workshops are available on topics of interest to both new and seasoned school public relations professionals. These in-depth, information-packed, hands-on workshops offer extended learning opportunities to early birds who want to make the most of their Seminar experience. Those who register for pre-Seminar workshops and the National Seminar also receive discounted registration rates on pre-Seminar workshops.

Register online now for pre-Seminar workshops or download and submit a paper registration form (PDF). Please note that online registration for a pre-Seminar workshop is processed separately from online registration for the National Seminar.   

One-Day Workshop

Half-Day Workshops

Two-Day Workshops

Cancellation Policy: For pre-Seminar workshops, 25 percent of the workshop fee is nonrefundable for cancellations received by May 15. For cancellations received from May 16 - June 12, 50 percent of the workshop fee is nonrefundable. After June 12, no refunds are available. If a workshop is canceled by NSPRA due to low enrollment, its registrants may enroll in a different, similarly priced workshop of their choosing.


One-Day Workshop Description


Strategic Planning for the One-Person Communications Office

Many NSPRA members fly solo in their school districts. This one-day session will allow practitioners who operate a one-person school PR department to come together and work to develop and improve their strategic communication plans, as well as their knowledge base and skill sets, with guidance from experienced, one-person school PR pros. Participants will have the opportunity to either create a strategic communication plan for their district or to refine the plan they have in place. Working with those who have similar experience, participants will have time to collaborate, organize and write their plan following the four-step strategic planning process. New for 2020: 1.0 and 2.0 learning modules plus group breakout discussions will cover topics based on level of experience and could include tools to help maintain an effective and efficient work flow, crisis communications, social media trends, internal engagement and more. For prior workshop participants or those who already have a plan in place, a 2.0 learning module will be offered to further refine and receive feedback. This session is based on the award-winning work of the Missouri School Public Relations Association (MOSPRA).

When: Saturday, July 11, from 9 AM - 4 PM

Registration Fee: $329 (discount rate if also registering for National Seminar; $379 otherwise)

What to bring: Laptop, your district's strategic plan, and if you have one, your current communication plan for your district

Presenters: Erica Chandler, APR, Jill Filer and Stephanie Smith, APR

Erica Chandler, APR  Jill Filer  Stephanie Smith, APR  

Erica Chandler, APR, is the director of communications for Affton School District, which serves 2,900 students in St. Louis, Missouri. She has been working in school public relations for eight years, with an additional 12 years spent in concert and entertainment PR and marketing. Erica is active in the community and serves as the secretary for the Affton Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves as president-elect of the Missouri School Public Relations Association, and was named an NSPRA Front-Runner in 2019. She has presented at numerous regional, state and national conferences.

Jill Filer is the director of communications and community relations for the Harrisonville School District, which serves 2,500 students in Harrisonville, Missouri. She has 26 years of experience in public education, first as a high school journalism teacher for eight years and then 18 more in her current position. She has served as the president of the Missouri School Public Relations Association, and was the recipient of the MOSPRA Professional of the Year Award in 2013 and the MOSPRA Tina Zubeck Spirit Award in 2015. Jill was named an NSPRA Front-Runner in 2011. She has presented at numerous regional, state and national conferences.

Stephanie Smith, APR, is the director of public relations for the Fort Osage R-1 School District, which serves more than 4,900 students in Independence, Missouri. She has been with Fort Osage for 15 years. Stephanie is very active in the community, including being the past president of the Eastern Independence Rotary and past Buckner Chamber of Commerce President as well as serving on various non-profit committees. She is the past president of the Missouri School Public Relations Association and was named the MOSPRA Professional of the Year in 2016. She has presented as numerous regional, state and national conferences.

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Half-Day Workshop Descriptions


Speechwriting When You Do and Don’t Have Time to Do It

Speechwriting was once done by specialists whose sole jobs were reading, researching and writing speeches. No more. Virtually all communicators today are called upon to write and/or give a speech for themselves or for others – on top of everything else they do. Writing and giving effective speeches, however, still requires specialized skills – writing for the ear and the heart, understanding the speaker and the audience, writing in someone else’s conversational style, utilizing research techniques, fact-checking, anticipating social media, and maximizing the reach and impact of a speech.

In this workshop, you will learn the basics of writing an effective speech, the kinds of speeches you are called upon to write and how each one is different, the critical importance of audience research, and how to extend a speech’s reach. The workshop is designed for communicators with all levels of speechwriting experience, from beginning to advanced, who have many other communications responsibilities. 

When: Sunday, July 12, from 9 AM - Noon

Registration Fee: $190 (discount rate if also registering for National Seminar; $240 otherwise)

What to bring: Laptop

Presenter: Glynn Young, APR​ 

Glenn Young

Glynn Young, APR, is an award-winning speechwriter with four decades of speechwriting experience, including three years as a full-time speechwriter. He’s received nine national awards for speechwriting, including two IABC Gold Quill awards. His speeches (for himself and others) have been reprinted numerous times in Vital Speeches of the Day and other national publications. Two speeches he’s written have been credited with helping change an entire industry’s environmental practices. He also spent a year as director of communications for St. Louis Public Schools, during a major reorganization of the school district, where he handled media relations, employee communications, crisis communications, change communications – and speechwriting. 

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Give the Media What They Want - and Still Get What You Need!

The relationship between school representatives and the media doesn’t have to be adversarial; it can be mutually beneficial. To facilitate that symbiotic relationship, this workshop will help communications professionals understand how news organizations operate, what they are looking for, how to work with reporters, and how we can deliver content that both engages audiences and advances the mission of our schools. This half-day workshop is intended for school communications professionals and administrators who have to deal with the media on a regular basis – or would like to!

When: Sunday, July 12, from 1 - 4 PM

Registration Fee: $190 (discount rate if also registering for National Seminar; $240 otherwise)

What to bring: Laptop

Presenters: Sandy Miller and Matt Deichmann, APR 

  Sandy Miller   Matt Deichmann, APR

Sandy Miller is the Emmy-winning news anchor for the KTVI FOX 2 weekday newscasts at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. In addition to news media, Sandy has spent over 20 years in corporate television working for Anheuser-Busch, Edward Jones and many others. Sandy is a former Miss Missouri and placed 3rd runner-up in the national Miss USA Pageant. In her spare time, she’s married to her co-presenter... 

Matt Deichmann, APR, is the chief communications officer for the Francis Howell School District, which serves more than 17,000 students in St. Charles, Missouri. Matt has also served in the same capacity for Education Plus, the St. Louis-area school district cooperative, and the Wentzville School District. In a previous life, Matt spent 20 years as the Emmy-winning chief photographer at KPLR-TV.

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Two-Day Workshop Descriptions


New Professionals Program

If you have been in public relations for fewer than three years or if you’re new to the field, this is the foundation you need for practicing all facets of school PR. You’ll work with seasoned school PR professionals on effective communications planning, applying the RPIE (research, planning, implementation and evaluation) process, identifying target audiences, framing key messages, developing communication strategies and a variety of other topics. You will also have the opportunity to work in teams to apply the concepts learned. This workshop is fun, fast paced and filled with information that will help you create a solid foundation for a career in school PR. You’ll also begin to build a valuable network of colleagues and connect with NSPRA veterans, who can guide you and support your professional success.

When: Saturday, July 11, from 9 AM - 4:30 PM and Sunday, July 12, from 8:30 AM - Noon

Registration Fee: $349 (discount rate if also registering for National Seminar; $399 otherwise) 

What to bring: Laptop

Presenters: Susan Brott, APR, and Chris Tennill, APR

Susan Brott, APR  Chris Tennill, APR

Susan K. Brott, APR, has worked in public education for the past 24 years. Currently she serves as the director of communications for the South St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools, a racially and socio-economically diverse suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. Before moving to South St. Paul in July 2018, Susan served for six years as the director of communications and community engagement for Edina (Minn.) Public Schools, an affluent, nationally recognized, first-ring Minneapolis suburban school district. Prior to her tenure in Edina, Susan was the chief marketing and communications officer for the West St. Paul-Mendota-Eagan (Minn.) Area Schools where she also oversaw the district’s technology department. Previously she worked in the White Bear Lake (Minn.) Area School District where she worked as its first communications coordinator, managing all aspects of a one-person communications department.

Chris Tennill, APR, serves as the chief communications officer for the School District of Clayton in Clayton, Missouri, where he has been leading district communications efforts for the past 17 years. His commitment to supporting those new to the profession led him to develop an award-winning mentoring program in his home state of Missouri and helped set the stage for his current role facilitating the New Professionals Program. He is a recognized leader in school communications, a past president of the Missouri School Public Relations Association and previously served on the NSPRA Executive Board as South Central Region Vice President. 

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APR Prep: Get Ready for Universal Accreditation

Ready to move ahead as a public relations professional? Then it’s time to become accredited in public relations (APR). This in-depth workshop helps you prepare for the Universal Accreditation examination by providing a solid grounding in the knowledge, skills and abilities tested. Learn what topics are covered and how to plan and prepare for the various components required for completing the testing process. Make a commitment to yourself and begin your professional development journey toward earning your APR.

When: Saturday, July 11, and Sunday, July 12, from 9 AM - 4 PM

Registration Fee: $349 (discount rate if also registering for National Seminar; $399 otherwise) 

What to bring: Laptop

Presenters: Naomi Hunter, APR, and Shawn McKillop, APR

Naomi Hunter, APR  Shawn McKillop, APR

Naomi Hunter, APR, has more than 26 years of experience in strategic communications and public relations in the public, private and non-profit sectors.  She served as director of communications for the Redwood City School District (RCSD) for more than 10 years before launching Naomi Hunter Communications in 2017. She served as president of the Public Relations Society of America, San Francisco Chapter (PRSA-SF) in 2014 and currently serves on the Board of the California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA). She has presented workshops at conferences for NSPRA, CalSPRA, the Association of California School Administrators' Women in School Leadership Conference and the Association of California School Administrators' Classified Educational Leaders Institute.

Shawn McKillop, APR, is the manager of communications and community engagement for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) in Ontario, Canada. He previously served as manager of communications at the Grand Erie District School Board for seven years and as a communications officer at HWDSB for three years. He also has communications experience working in political environments such as the Ontario Legislature in Toronto. He supported communications that was directed by the Premier of Ontario while working with Members of Provincial Parliament and Cabinet Ministers, including the Minister of Labour, the Minister of Community and Social Services, the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues and the Minister of Education. It was in his role as communications advisor to the Minister of Education that he developed a passion for education. 

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