Skill Sessions: In Person and Virtual

NSPRA 2021 New Orleans logo and cityscape

The NSPRA 2021 National Seminar schedule of breakout sessions includes one-hour Skill Sessions, Corporate Showcases and Networking Sessions as well as 90-minute Action Labs and Special Sessions. The following list only includes Skill Sessions—those that will be offered both in person and virtually as well as those that will be offered virtually only. Each Skill Session below is noted as either (In Person, Virtual) or (Virtual) based on how it will be offered to registered attendees.

All virtual sessions will premiere live online at the time listed (Central Time) and be rewatchable for up to 30 days after the Seminar. All in-person sessions will take place at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, with specific room locations to be announced at a later date. All session times are listed in Central Time, which is the local time zone for New Orleans, Louisiana. 

For a detailed schedule of events at the Seminar,  view the Schedule at a Glance (In Person) or Schedule at a Glance (Virtual).

Monday, July 12 

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. CT

Engagement 

  • Engagement Against the Odds: Leading Through Doubt, Distrust and Division (Virtual)
    • Presenters: Michael Akin, President, LINK Strategic Partners, Washington, D.C.; Nora Carr, Ed.D., APR, Chief of Staff, Guilford County (N.C) Public Schools; and Kevin Mendivil, Ed.D., Superintendent, Tempe (Ariz.) Union High School District

Equity

  • The Identity Project: Renaming Schools in a Dual Pandemic (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Julia Burgos,  Chief of School and Community Relations, Alexandria (Va.) City Public Schools

Marketing/Branding 

  • Call to Action! How to Market Your Products and Services (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Danielle Clark, APR,  Chief Communications Officer, Harris County Department of Education, Houston, Texas; and Beth Strike, APR,  Director of Creative Services and Communications, Central Rivers Area Educational Service Agency, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Leadership 

  • Showing the Value of Your School PR Program (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Lana Snodgras, Director of Communications, West Plains (Mo.) School District

Strategic Planning

  • Disrupt Your Strategic Planning (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Chris Tennill, APR, Chief Communications Officer, School District of Clayton (Mo.); and Sean Doherty, Ed.D., Superintendent, School District of Clayton (Mo.)

Tactics 

  • Strategies for Better Digital Communications (Virtual)
    • Presenter: Emily Popek,  Public Information Specialist, Capital Region BOCES, Albany, N.Y.
  • A Pandemic and Protests Weren't in the Playbook? Everyone Huddle Up! (In Person, Virtual) 
    •  Presenters: Lisa Youngblood Hall,  Chief Communications and Experience Officer, Northshore School District, Bothell, Wash.; and Michelle Reid, Ed.D., Superintendent, Northshore School District, Bothell, Wash.
  • An Unexpected Victory at the Polls (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Karen Jordan, Public Information Officer, Hernando County School District, Brooksville, Fl.; John Stratton, Superintendent, Hernando County School District, Brooksville, Fl.; and David Voss,  President, Voss & Associates, Jacksonville, Fl.

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. CT

Marketing/Branding 

  • Developing and Nurturing Community Partners in a Hybrid Learning World (Virtual)
    • Presenters: Kelly Clarke, Partners in Education Coordinator, Katy (Texas) Independent School District; and Patrick Hicks, Director of Business Development, VOLY.org

Leadership 

  •   New Job Description: Strategic Changes to Your Work (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter:  Bob Noyed, APR, Vice President, CESO Communications, Minneapolis, Minn. 
  • This Is Us: Becoming a Two-Person Shop (In Person, Virtual)
    • ​Presenters: Brian Nicol, Director of Communications, Howard-Suamico School District, Green Bay, Wisc ; and Kimberly Uelmen, Communications Specialist, Howard-Suamico School District, Green Bay, Wisc. 

Strategic Planning

  • Strategic Innovation that Leads to Engagement. 
    • Presenter:  Dr. Brad Hunt, Superintendent, Coppell (Texas)  Independent School District, 2021 Communication Technology Award for Superintendents Recipient

Tactics 

  •   Communication During COVID-19: Creating New Ways to Reach Audiences (Virtual)
    • Presenters:  Susan Arensman, News and Media Relations Manager, Wichita  (Kan.) Public Schools;  Wendy Johnson, APR, Division Director, Strategic Communications, Wichita  (Kan.) Public Schools; and  Suzy Finn, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships Manager, Wichita  (Kan.) Public Schools
  • Overcoming Changes in Local Newsrooms to Improve Your Media Coverage (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: John Boyd, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, Harmony Public Schools, Houston, Texas

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. CT

Equity

  • Equity Leadership From the Inside Out (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Kimberlee Armstrong, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent, Tamalpais Union High School District, Larkspur, Calif.

Marketing/Branding 

  •  The Belonging Club: Tribe Focused Branding (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Kathleen Kennedy, APR, President, Center for Communication and Engagement, Norman, Okla. 

Tactics 

  •  Lessons Learned: A School Rally Overshadowed by Politics and Racism (Virtual)
    • Presenter: Shannon Podzimek, Director of Communications, Community High School District 155,Crystal Lake, Ill. 
  • Crisis Communications: Improvise, Innovate, Inspire (In Person, Virtual) 
    •  Presenters: Rebecca Suarez, J.D., Chief Communications Officer, Houston (Texas) Independent School District; Milton Durango, General Manager, Multimedia, Houston (Texas) Independent School District

4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. CT

Engagement 

  •  Show Don’t Tell: Active Storytelling to Engage Your Community (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Betsy Fuller, Director, School/Community Relations, Lakota Local Schools, Liberty Township, Ohio; Lauren Boettcher,Manager, School/Community Relations, Lakota Local Schools, Liberty Township, Ohio; and Elizabeth Beadle, Communications Specialist, Middletown (Ohio) City Schools

  • The Target Audience Too Important To Forget - Legislators! (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Karen Heath, Supervisor of Communications, Berrien RESA, Berrien Springs, Mich. 

Leadership 

  • Customer Service Can Make or Break Your District: Explore the PEAK Award (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Lana Hiskey, Communications and Community Relations Coordinator, Nebo School District, Spanish Fork, Utah

Marketing/Branding 

  • Invest in Success: Local Sponsorship Revenue Can Benefit Your District (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Samantha Fitzgerald, Communication and Marketing Specialist, Park Hill School District, Kansas City, Mo.; and Derrick Docket, Chief Communications Officer, Wentzville (Mo.) School District

Strategic Planning

  •  Breaking Tradition for a New Generation: Retiring the Indian Mascot (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Christa Fazio, Communications Director, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, Kennett Square, Pa.; and Patrick Crater, Supervisor of Athletics, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, Kennett Square, Pa..

Tactics 

  • A Bond Election in 2020: Fighting Through the Noise (In Person, Virtual) 
    •  Presenters: Erin McCann, CPC, Director of Digital Media and Marketing, Allen (Texas) Independent School District; and David Hicks, Chief Information Officer, Allen (Texas) Independent School District 
  • Your Communications Toolbox: Effective Email Communications (In Person, Virtual)

    • ​Presenter: Sue Scott, Communications Coordinator, Tippecanoe School Corporation, Lafayette, Ind.

  • Practical Communications Tools to Transform Any Crisis Into a Trust-building Opportunity (In Person, Virtual)

Wellness 

  • Oh, Well! Plan Programs and Build a Culture of Staff Wellness (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Cathy Kedjidjian, APR, Director of Communications and Strategic Planning, Glenview (Ill.) School District 34

Tuesday, July 13

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. CT

Engagement 

  • Using Communication to Bring Families into the Learning Process (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Patricia Weinzapfel, Executive Director Community School/Family Engagement, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, Evansville, Ind.  
  • Internal Communications for Educational Service Agencies (In Person, Virtual)

    • Presenters: Thomas Scheidel,  Public Information Coordinator, Allegan (Mich.) Area Educational Service Agency; and Michelle Ready, Director of Communications/Integrated Marketing, Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, Holland, Mich.

Marketing/Branding 

  • Marketing Your District to Connect and Engage Families (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Gay Lynn Broom, Executive Director of Communications, Grand Prairie (Texas) Independent School District; and Teri Wilson, Chief of Staff, Grand Prairie (Texas) Independent School District

Leadership 

  •  Collaborate, Cooperate, and Communicate to Build Community Partnerships (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Christy McGee, APR, Director of Communications, Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8, Fountain, Colo.; and Devra Ashby, APR, Chief Communications Officer, Colorado Springs (Colo.) School District 11

Strategic Planning

  • Become the Social Media Influencer (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter:  Art Del Barrio, Director of Communication, Pasadena (Texas) Independent School District
  • Don’t Make Me Write a Mission Statement (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: ​Jenn Nimke, Director of Strategic Planning and Communications, Lombard (Ill.) District 44; and Maria Martin, Director of Language Acquisition and Equity, Lombard (Ill.) District 44

Tactics 

  • Five Video Tips To Grow Your Social Media and Increase Engagement (Virtual)
    • Presenters: Keith Reid, Communication Specialist, San Juan Unified School District, Carmichael, Calif.;  Carmichael, Calif.; Elizabeth Zelidon, Communication Specialist, San Juan Unified School District, Carmichael, Calif.; and Becca Inpyn, Communication Specialist, San Juan Unified School District, Carmichael, Calif.

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. CT

Leadership 

  •    Proverbs for PR: 20 Things It Took Us Too Long To Learn (In Person, Virtual)
    • ​Presenters: Erica Chandler, APR, Director of Communications, Affton School District, St. Louis, Mo.;  Chris Tennill, APR, Chief Communications Officer, School District of Clayton, Mo.;  Jim Dunn, APR, Consultant, Jim Dunn & Associates, Liberty, Mo.; Cindy Gibson, APR, Creative Entourage, St. Louis, Mo. ; and Rod Wright, Ph.D., Associate, Creative Entourage, St. Louis, Mo. 

Tactics 

  • Expanding the Communications Staff by Partnering With All Staff  (Virtual Only) 
    •  Presenter: Brett Clark, APR, Director of Communications, Maine Township H.S. District 207, Park Ridge, Ill. 

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. CT

Engagement 

  • Get the Unity in Community! Engaging Through Relationships and Partnerships (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Maria Bond, Director of Community Relations, Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation, Fortville, Ind. 

Equity

  • More Than Translating: Ensuring Authentic Multicultural Communications (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Lesley Rogers, APR, Senior Vice President of Education, Strategies 360, Seattle, Wash.; and Ylenia Aguilar, Vice President, S360 Cultura, and School Board President, Osborn School District, Phoenix, Ariz. 

Leadership 

  •  Building Herd Immunity to the "Negativity Virus" (Virtual)
    • Presenter: Thomas DeLapp, APR, Senior Advisor, Nichols Strategies, LLC, Sacramento, Calif.

Strategic Planning

  • OCPS Turns 150: A Case Study in Education-Based Sponsorships(Virtual)
    • Presenter: Adrienne Noel, MBA, Senior Manager, Sponsorship Sales and Sports Marketing, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, Fl. 

Tactics 

  •    Let's Create a Video: Seven Secrets for School District Success (In Person, Virtual) 
    •  Presenter: Tom Jackson,APR, Public Relations Officer, East Aurora School District 131, Aurora, Ill. 
  • Crisis Communication in a Post-COVID-19 World (Virtual)
    • Presenter: Jendi Coursey, CEO, Jendi Coursey Communications, Ukiah, Calif.

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. CT

Engagement 

  • Taming the WWW: Creating Consistent Website Visitor Experiences (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Max Pugh, Jr., Web Services Supervisor, Prince George's County Public Schools, Upper Marlboro, Md.; Lance Farquhar, MBA, Senior Director, Optimizely, Nashua, N.H.; Erika Wilmers, MBA, Business Development Manager, The C2 Group, Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Evan Prout, UX Lead, The C2 Group, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Marketing/Branding 

  • Capture Hearts and Minds to Drive Student Enrollment  (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Jake Strugis, APR, CEO/Founder, Captivate Media + Consulting, Golden Valley,Minn.; and Jenna Mead, Director of Partnerships, Captivate Media + Consulting, Golden Valley, Minn.

Leadership 

  •  We Didn't Start the Fire: How We Tried To Fight It and Succeeded (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Katherine Goff, Public Relations and Communications Officer, York County (Va.) School Division; and Victor Shandor, Ed.D., Division Superintendent, York County (Va.) School Division

Tactics 

  • Crisis Within a Crisis: Communicating About Death During Lockdown (Virtual) 
    •  Presenter: Monica Lester, APR, Public Information Specialist, South Glens Falls (N.Y) Central School District
  • Establishing Positive Relationships With the Media (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Jessica Duff, Executive Director of Communications, Pulaski County Special School District, Little Rock, Ark.; and Dustin Barnes, APR, Communications Coordinator, North Little Rock (Ark.) School District
  • Surviving Social Media in a One-Person School PR Shop (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Andrea Gribble, Founder and CEO,#SocialSchool4EDU, Woodbury, Minn.; and Tracy Jentz, APR, Communications and Community Engagement Coordinator, Grand Forks (N.D.) Public Schools
  • The Power in Storytelling (In Person, Virtual)

    Presenters: Heidi Otero,  Director of Communications, Arizona School Boards Association; and Brooke Martinez, Media Specialist, Arizona School Boards Association


Wednesday, July 14

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. CT

Leadership 

  •   It Started With A Hashtag: Culture, Systems Change and Student Success  (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Wendy Johnson, APR, Division Director, Strategic Communications, Wichita (Kans.) Public Schools; and Suzy Finn, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships Manager, Wichita (Kans.) Public Schools

Strategic Planning

  • Communication Plan for an Office of One or Ten (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Ginger Cayce, Chief Communications Officer, Kirkwood (Mo.) School District; Alyssa Taylor, Ed.D, Principal, Kirkwood (Mo.) School District; Lisa Wade, Communications Coordinator, Kirkwood (Mo.) School District; Danielle Hurtt, Communication Professional and Volunteer, Kirkwood (Mo.) School District

Tactics 

  •  Bond Basics: Strategies for Passing a Bond in a Pandemic (In Person, Virtual) 
    •  Presenter: Ashley Thomas, Communications Officer, Wichita Falls (Texas) Independent School District
  • Dashboard Confessional: Developing a Process and Platform to Share COVID-19 Cases  (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Monica Agudelo, Webmaster, Chesapeake (Va.) Public Schools
  • Tell Your Story with Canva Video (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Jacqueline Dillard, Communications Officer, Butte County Office of Education (BCOE), Oroville, Calif.
  •  The Non-Designer’s Guide to Beautiful, Clickable and Engaging Email Newsletters (Virtual)
    • ​Presenter: Stacy Blaylock, Communications Coordinator, Douglas County School District, Castle Rock, Colo.

10:30 a.m. – 11: 30 a.m. CT

Engagement 

  • Benefits Not Buildings: How To Create Winning Ballot Issue Messaging (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Ken DeSieghardt, Founder/Principal, Patron Insight, Inc., Stilwell, Kan.

Equity

  •    Customized Communication for Equitable Access During a Pandemic and How To Make It Last (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Emily Waszolek, Communications Manager, Creighton School District, Phoenix, Ariz.

Leadership 

  • Managing Virtual Volunteers in a Hybrid Learning World (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Deborah Lieb, Community Engagement Specialist - Volunteers, Ector County Independent School District, Odessa, Texas; and Patrick Hicks, Director of Business Development, VOLY.org

Marketing/Branding 

  •  Re-Imagining School Marketing in a Post-Pandemic Era (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenters: Naomi Hunter, APR, Founder, Naomi Hunter Communications,Redwood City, Calif.; and Jennifer Dericco, APR, Director/Public Information Officer, Santa Clara (Calif.)Unified School District

Strategic Planning

  • Conducting School-Level Communication Audits (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Anisa Sullivan Jimenez, APR, Director of Communications, Oconee County Schools, Watkinsville, Ga.

Tactics 

  • In the Eye of the Storm... Twice (In Person, Virtual) 
    •  Presenters:  Holly Holland, Public Information Officer, Calcasieu Parish School Board, Lake Charles,La.; and Karl Bruchhaus, Superintendent, Calcasieu Parish School Board, Lake Charles, La.
  • Video Storytelling: Why a Picture Truly Is Worth a Thousand Words (In Person, Virtual)
    • Presenter: Mary Ann McGann, Coordinator of School and Community Relations, Westfield (N.J.) Public Schools