The New York School Public Relations Association (NYSPRA) is thrilled to announce that Nicholas Filipowski, Director of Communications at the Williamsville Central School District, has been named our 2022 Communicator of the Year.
The Communicator of the Year award, which is being awarded for the seventh year, is meant to recognize school communications professionals who demonstrate a commitment to strengthening relationships between public schools and the students, families and communities they serve. The award honors those who recognize that communication and public relations are a critical component of school leadership.
“It’s incredibly humbling to be recognized as the Communicator of the Year,” Filipowski said. “There is validation in the work we do but also reaffirms there is still more to do to ensure that pathways for communication remain open, that we build upon the relationships in our school community, and continue to maintain the trust of our stakeholders.”
Since joining the Williamsville Central School District as Director of Communications, Nick's leadership and collaboration has propelled the district’s work to support public education and implement methods of communication via authentic engagement throughout the school community.
“Nick is thoughtful in how he approaches important ideas that need to be conveyed throughout the school community,” Daniel Wahl, principal of Transit Middle School said. “His disciplined approach provides time to discuss ideas with principals from each level, consider the various perspectives, and craft communications that resonate more deeply with all stakeholders providing more efficient, effective, and purposeful communication.”
With sensitive issues such as masking and vaccinations dominating headlines around the state and tensions rising from frustrated parents, Nick developed ways to continually shift positive energy and focus back on Williamsville students and staff. He developed monthly school spotlight videos, highlighting academic initiatives, mental health supports, and acts of kindness within the district. A different school was chosen each month and the videos premiered at the district’s Board of Education meeting, and then promoted on the district YouTube channel.
“Nick considers the role of public schools within the context of our greater society,” Wahl said. “He understands that schools are part of a broader ecosystem where teachers, parents, and students are living during a time when social, political, racial, personal safety, and public health concerns are at the forefront of their lives. Nick's approach to communication not only conveys information, but fosters a sense of trust and faith in our school district as an institution.”
He also developed videos for the district’s #Willpower campaign in which student leaders shared strategies for mental health and community unity.
“Because of Nick, our community is able to see public education in the best light possible – at a time when public education and educators are challenged – by parents or community members attempting to control the narrative or curriculum,” Williamsville superintendent Dr. Darren Brown-Hall said. “He embodies all of the attributes you desire in an awardee.”
“Nick has done a remarkable job in growing the Williamsville communications program and I couldn’t be happier to recognize his efforts and work with this distinction,” NYSPRA president Steve King said.
Filipowski was chosen by a panel of judges who work in school communications outside of New York state.
New York School Public Relations AssociationNYSPRA is a state chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA).