The New York School Public Relations Association (NYSPRA) is pleased to announce that Jean Palmer, Supervisor of Communications and Printing Services at Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES, has been named the 2020 Communicator of the Year.
The Communicator of the Year award, which is being awarded for the fifth 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.
Palmer oversees a school communications staff of 10 and a printing staff of five, leading both departments with her signature kindness, compassion and integrity, her colleagues say. She began working for OHM BOCES in 2002 as a public relations assistant and later became the senior public relations specialist in 2009, after leaving for a short time to write for SUNY Cortland. She added supervision of the OHM BOCES Print Shop to her duties in the spring of 2019.
“School communication is now more important than it has ever been in my lifetime, as we have all witnessed in the past seven months of this pandemic,” Palmer said. “I am beyond appreciative and honored to have been selected for this award. Without the support of the BOCES administration, the 12 component school districts we serve, and the outstanding team that I have the privilege to work with each day, our communications efforts wouldn’t be possible.”
Palmer has been a part of a large number of successful initiatives at the BOCES during her tenure, including a capital project, development of a new mission statement in 2012, the 65th anniversary celebration, rebranding and new website launches.
“When I think about our school communications leaders across the state, Jean easily comes to mind,” said NYSPRA President Adrienne Leon, APR, Director of Communications and Public Relations at Capital Region BOCES. “I’ve had the fortune of working with her for many years, through NYSPRA as well as BOCES initiatives, and couldn’t be more excited to honor her with this award.
Palmer was nominated by two members of the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES communications team, Public Relations Specialist Rebecca Neary and Graphic Services Supervisor Andrea Rafferty.
“Beyond her many career accomplishments, Jean is also beloved by everyone that she works with. From school superintendents to administrative assistants, both within the OHM BOCES and its component school districts, you won’t find a person who doesn’t love working with Jean. She is friendly, easygoing and always a problem solver. She is continually able to find ways to make sure that everyone has what they need and that they get it on time,” Neary and Rafferty wrote in their nomination letter. “She is always willing to go above and beyond for our BOCES programs and our component school districts, regularly working nights and weekends during the busiest seasons to make sure that projects and print jobs are completed to the highest standards.”
In addition to her colleagues, several others submitted letters on behalf of Palmer. Retired OHM BOCES District Superintendent Howard D. Mettelman commended Palmer for her ability to lead the communications function.
“Ms. Palmer has consistently demonstrated the unique capacity to clearly articulate vision and concept into a comprehensive communications structure. This ability affords the OHM BOCES the opportunity to reach and connect with a broad and diverse array of public audiences,” he says.
Palmer was chosen by a panel of judges who work in school communications outside of New York state.