2018 National Seminar — Pre-Seminar Workshops

Pre-Seminar Workshops offer extended learning opportunities. Come early and learn more at these in-depth, information-packed workshops! Click the workshop titles for full descriptions.

Cancellation Policy: 25% of workshop fee nonrefundable for cancellations we receive by May 18. 50% of workshop fee nonrefundable for cancellations we receive from May 19 - June 8. After June 8, no refunds available.

Full-Day Workshops

Half-Day Workshops

Two-Day Workshops

Saturday, July 14, 2018
Full-Day Pre-Seminar Workshops

RACE to a Plan in One Day: A Four-Step Approach to Building a Strategic Communication Plan

Saturday, 9 AM - 4 PM
Fee: $299.00

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In an age of increased scrutiny of public schools, educational professionals must do more to build the case for public education by communicating the strengths, challenges, and decision-making rationale to their respective communities. This session is based on the work the Alabama School Public Relations Association (ALSPRA) which was used to develop the 2016 Gold Medallion-winning submission.

Participants will have the opportunity to create a strategic communication plan to support student success using a student data source.  Whether your challenge is an enrollment issue or the need to motivate others to take a certain action, we will examine root causes using survey work/SWOT analysis, define specific publics, select and develop strategies rather than tactics to support your effort's clearly-defined goal.

Participants should arrive at the session having done some legwork on the issue they would like to address that will comprise the research portion of your plan (Step 1).  The work from Step 2 will take place on site following a presentation of how this all works together. Time will be built into this pre-seminar workshop for participants to collaborate, organize and write their plan. There is great value in having real time to bounce ideas off other professionals and to challenge you to refine your plan. The takeaway will be a stronger understanding of how to build a plan around the Four Step Process and a very strong draft of your plan.

This session is ideal for new practitioners to school public relations, system and/or school leaders without a formal PR background, but who have responsibilities for this function. It is also appropriate for someone who doesn't feel comfortable with crafting a plan.

To register, download, complete and return the registration form, or register online.

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

About Lesley Bruinton, APR: Lesley Bruinton can usually be found brainstorming and selling a big idea, much to the chagrin of those around her who know it will be a lot of work, but a lot of fun! Her ideas come as quickly as her rapid-fire typing skills. Lesley is an Accredited in Public Relations practitioner with more than 15 years experience in television journalism and public relations. Her work has been recognized at the state, regional and national levels.

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Technology Tools Make-n-Take Session

Saturday, 9 AM - 4 PM
Fee: $299.00

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So often, we attend workshops that mention a technology or tool we think would help us out, but rarely have the time to play around with the program enough to put it to work. Invest in yourself and your district’s communication efforts with a day exploring some top technology tools that can save you time and make your district look great. We’ll spend the morning reviewing project management (Slack), design (Canva and Lucidpress), infographics (Piktochart), surveys (Typeform, Google forms and Wyzerr), smartphone video (Kits and Editing Apps) and intranet ideas (Google Sites). In the afternoon, you’ll pick one or more to focus on and tackle a real project for your district or organization - working with templates, personalized attention and the ideas of your peers working on similar projects. Get that back-burner idea implemented before another year starts.

To register, download, complete and return the registration form, or register online.

Trinette Marquis, APR
Partner and Chief Communicator
School PR Pro
Sacramento, Calif.

About Trinette Marquis, APR: With more than 20 years experience in communications, marketing, and public relations, Trinette Marquis-Hobbs, APR,  is passionate about working with public schools and improving school community relationships. Early in her career, she worked with Fortune 500 companies, statewide nonprofits and internet start-ups but realized something was missing. Inspired by her father’s positive experience as a custodian, Trinette brought her business talents to the schools where she grew up and eventually started her own business to help districts throughout the country. Her work has been recognized by NSPRA, the Medical Marketing Association, and the International Association of Business Communicators. She is a Past President of the California School Public Relations Association and regularly presents to national audiences on public relations. She is also a part-time professor of communications at California State University.

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Sunday July 15, 2018
Full-Day Pre-Seminar Workshops

DIY Video

Sunday, 9 AM - 4 PM
Fee: $299.00

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In today’s mobile tech world, if you’re not tapping the power of digital storytelling, you are missing critical connections to your key audiences. This pre-seminar workshop will highlight the latest trends in video creation, walk through steps to take to develop video ideas that align with key messages, highlight storytelling and interview tips, demonstrate equipment and show you how to record and edit footage with easy-to-use smartphone apps. You will also participate in a photo/video walk and leave with a produced video.

You’ll gain a better understanding of the power of digital storytelling to build and maintain positive relationships with stakeholders and even walk away with a how-to toolkit you can use to train staff in your own district. Learn how to take your video efforts to the next level from an award-winning videographer whose back-to-school videos have been seen by millions worldwide.

To register, download, complete and return the registration form, or register online.

Derek Duncan
Senior Digital Communications Specialist 
Parkway Schools
Saint Louis, Mo.

About Derek Duncan: Derek Duncan is the senior digital communications specialist at Parkway Schools in Saint Louis, Mo. He is a member of NSPRA and the Missouri School PR Association. Derek is an award-winning videographer whose videos have been seen by millions of people worldwide and is an NSPRA 35-Under-35 recipient.

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Strategic Leadership in the Social Media Age

Sunday, 9 AM - 4 PM
Fee: $299.00

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As the use of social media shifts and changes around you and your schools, so does the demand on your leadership. Today’s leaders must not only understand the social media landscape - more importantly, they must have the knowledge, skills and mindset needed to adapt and lead, through good times and bad.

In this advanced workshop, participants will learn to:

  • Create a climate that embraces social media for teaching, learning and communication
  • Build and maintain official social media communities that are trusting and respectful
  • Develop strategic, data-driven content that engages your audience, all year long
  • Leverage social media to improve audience research and feedback efforts
  • Use a social media storm to build trust with the people that matter most
  • Influence negative conversations that take place in closed social spaces
  • Set up school district leaders for long-term success on social media
  • Design advocacy messages that inspire your community to action

We will discuss best practices for policies and procedures and use practical discussion activities to apply knowledge to case studies and your own district’s concerns, struggles or barriers. Bring your laptop or tablet along to review and enhance the social media practices in your district - and leave with the knowledge, plan and mindset you need to thrive as a strategic leader in the age of social.

To register, download, complete and return the registration form, or register online.

Kristin Magette, APR
Director of Communications 
Eudora (Kan.) School District

About Kristin Magette, APR: Kristin Magette, APR, is in her twelfth year as director of communications with the Eudora (Kan.) School District. She is a past president of the Kansas School Public Relations Association and author of Embracing Social Media, with a second edition available this spring. She has been recognized at the state and national level for her work, is the featured instructor in the online course, Social Media for Educators, and helps lead #k12PRchat on Twitter, where she has developed a keen appreciation of GIFs for every occasion.

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Sunday July 15, 2018
Half-Day Pre-Seminar Workshop

Nailing the Media Interview: Advanced Media Relations for the Professional Spokesperson

Sunday, 1 PM - 4 PM
Fee: $160.00 

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No room for the meek and mild here. Roll up your sleeves and learn advance techniques as a media spokesperson during the most difficult of circumstances. Participants will see the art of bridging, changing direction, avoiding personal feuds or handling confidential information and crisis situations. You’ll be able to deliver a quote that’s already edited for the reporter and respond to a question you really don’t want to answer. This hands on opportunity focuses on creating and delivering a message executed by experts. With the extended time available in a pre-Seminar workshop, you will actually practice on videotape for critique and revision with your colleagues. You’ll be better equipped to stay calm and in control in a crisis or sensitive situation. You’ll also be able to coach your boss on these same techniques.  

To register, download, complete and return the registration form, or register online.

David R. Voss
Voss & Associates
Jacksonville, Fla.

About David Voss: David R. Voss has been communicating with the public about education for the past 25 years, as Director of Communications for the Florida Department of Education, as Director of Marketing for Apple Computer's Education Division, and as a private consultant and trainer for school boards, superintendents and school districts throughout the country. His entire business is build around the notion that powerful communication will help children, educators and communities. He has trained hundreds of professionals in the art of communication, whether it’s in front of the camera during a crisis, speaking in front of hundreds to pass a multi-million dollar bond referendum, or meeting one-on-one with an angry parent. Most importantly, he makes the connection between communication and student achievement, your bottom line.

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Saturday and Sunday, July 14 and July 15, 2018
Two-Day Pre-Seminar Workshops

New Professionals Program 

Saturday, 9 AM - 4 PM & Sunday, 9 AM - Noon
Fee: $299.00

This session is at capacity.  

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 RACE (Research, Analysis/Planning, Communication/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. The workshop is fun, fast-paced and filled with information that will help you create a solid foundation for a career in school public relations. And, 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.

Chris Tennill, APR


Chris Tennill, APR
Chief Communications Officer 
School District of Clayton (Mo.)




Susan Brott, APR
Director of Communications 
South St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools


About the workshop leaders: These two veteran school PR pros have a wealth of experience in the field and have done it all — from newsletters, media relations, and strategic communication planning to crisis communication management, public engagement and providing strategic counsel to district leaders. They have served in leadership roles in their state chapters as well as NSPRA and have a special interest in supporting and mentoring colleagues new to the profession.

About Chris Tennill, APR: Chris Tennill, APR, serves as the Chief Communications Officer for the School District of Clayton (Mo.), where he has been leading the district’s communications efforts for the past 12 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. He is a recognized leader in school communications, a past president of the Missouri School Public Relations Association and Immediate Past South Central Region Vice President for NSPRA.

About Susan Brott, APR: Susan Brott, APR, is the Director of Communications for South St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools. Most recently, she served as the Director of Communications and Community Engagement for the Edina (Minn.) Public Schools. Susan has always had a passion for teaching and mentoring others, including working as an adjunct communications professor at the college level, presenting school communications topics to graduate students and education professionals, serving as a mentor with her chapter’s mentor program, and co-facilitating a year-long learning cohort for early career school PR professionals. She is a recognized leader in school communications and was a 2006 recipient of NSPRA’s Front-Runner Award. She is a MinnSPRA past president and has served on several NSPRA committees.

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APR Prep: Get Ready for Universal Accreditation

Saturday & Sunday, 9 AM - 4 PM
Fee: $299.00

Register Now!  

Ready to move ahead as a PR 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 becoming Accredited in Public Relations.    

To register, download, complete and return the registration form, or register online.

Naomi Hunter, APR
Naomi Hunter Communications
Redwood City, Calif.



Shawn McKillop, APR
Manager of Communications & Community Engagement
Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
Hamilton, Ont.

About Naomi Hunter, APR: Naomi Hunter is an accredited public relations professional with 25+ 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 for more than 10 years before launching Naomi Hunter Communications in 2017. She currently serves on the Board of the California School Public Relations Association. Naomi has presented workshops at conferences for NSPRA, the California School Public Relations Association, the Association of California School Administrators' Women in School Leadership Conference and the Association of California School Administrators' Classified Educational Leaders Institute. She earned her Accreditation in Public Relations in 2010. Naomi holds a Bachelor of Arts, English Degree in Writing from Northwestern University and a Master of Liberal Arts from Stanford University.

About Shawn McKillop, APR: Shawn McKillop, APR, has communications experience working in political environments such as the Ontario Legislature in Toronto, Canada. 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. In 2007, he moved into school public relations as communications officer at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB). In 2010, he became manager of communications at the Grand Erie District School Board and then returned to HWDSB in 2017 as the Manager of Communications and Community Engagement. Shawn earned his Accreditation in Public Relations in 2016.  

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