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New York School Public Relations ASSOCIATION


  • Monday, November 15, 2021 9:01 PM | Anonymous

    The New York School Public Relations Association (NYSPRA) is pleased to announce that Ellen Lane, Communications Director at Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES, has been named the 2021 Communicator of the Year.

    The Communicator of the Year award, which is being awarded for the sixth 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.

    Since her arrival at PNW BOCES in 2010, Lane, who oversees a team of 18, has embraced and pioneered 21st century communications tools, bringing mobile apps, digital communications, livestream captioning and live production video to BOCES and the districts it serves. She has also broadened the scope of the service turning it into a one-stop shop for all of a school district’s communications needs.

    “As a former journalist, I decided long ago that if I worked in public relations, it would have to be for an entity or a cause that I believed in,” Lane said. “As a parent, I could not think of a more important cause than education. I was touched and delighted to receive this award because I have so much respect for my peers and the great work school public relations professionals are doing all across New York.”

    Lane arrived at a time when school districts were feeling the effects of the 2008 recession and money was tight. She began by offering free workshops for school leaders with titles like: “How to Communicate on a Shoestring.” Lane met school districts at their level, built relationships and then respectfully led the way to improved communications.

    “It’s important to be confident in your expertise and the importance of your role,” Lane said. “School communications professionals should not write curriculum and educators should not write press releases. I believe in being respectful but firm when giving public relations advice.”

    She found economical and effective ways to raise a district’s profile and community engagement, but also demonstrated best practices that gave district leaders something to which they could aspire.

    “In the Brewster Central School District, Ellen played a major role in branding the strategic plan by identifying the talented professionals to design logos, icons, and materials that supported the district’s plan,” former superintendent Valerie Henning-Piedmonte, Ed.D. said. “In this project, she was able to identify the unique needs of the district and align these needs to industry standards.”

    Lane has worked diligently over the years to assemble a strong team with deep, broad expertise. Under her leadership, the team constantly strives to enhance its skills and deepen its understanding of school public relations.

    “She has become more than just a supervisor to me,” Laura Belfiore said in her nomination letter. “She has been an inspiration and a mentor. She has assigned me the title of her ‘reverse mentor,’ noting new digital tools, trends and social media best practices she has learned from me. This humility and ability to embrace new methods of communication are additional attributes that do not go unrecognized.”

    “We are so fortunate to have so many leaders in school communications around the state of New York, and Ellen is certainly in that category,” NYSPRA president Steve King said. “I’ve been fortunate to work with her over the years and I am thrilled to honor her with this award.”

    In addition to her colleagues, several others submitted letters on behalf of Lane. Henrick Hudson Central School District superintendent Joseph E. Hochreiter commended Lane for her ability to lead the communications function.

    “I can count on Ellen and the service to ensure that our district follows best practices for school public relations and uses the latest tools to reach our stakeholders. Her demeanor, confidence and resilience has played a large role in my professional success and the increasingly positive reputation of our school district.”

    Lane was chosen by a panel of judges who work in school communications outside of New York state.

  • Friday, November 12, 2021 4:51 PM | Anonymous

    Join your NYSPRA family for a Virtual Awards Ceremony, honoring our 2021 Communications Contest winners! The ceremony will run on our NYSPRA Facebook page on Monday, Nov. 22, at 4 p.m. If you miss it at that time you'll be able to watch it afterwards on our page or website,

    For a complete list of 2021 contest winners, click here.

  • Monday, October 25, 2021 8:10 AM | Anonymous

    NYSPRA is excited to announce the winners of the 2021 NYSPRA Annual Communications Contest!

    One-hundred and forty-two awards will be presented for excellence in school communications work!

    More than 50 communications professionals from across the country served as judges to evaluate the 403 entries in this year's contest. Winning work is recognized with the designations of "Excellence," "Honor" and "Merit."

    View the 2021 award winners here.

  • Friday, September 24, 2021 7:55 PM | Anonymous

    NYSPRA will hold a fall virtual business meeting on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, from 3 –4:30 p.m. The meeting will be held virtually via zoom. Anyone interested in attending should email for the link.


  • Monday, May 31, 2021 10:47 AM | Anonymous

    The New York School Public Relations Association 42nd Annual Communications Contest is now open!

    Our annual awards recognize and celebrate outstanding achievement in educational communications. The awards continue to be one of the largest in the nation and provide both members and non-members with a time to shine and an opportunity to showcase exemplary communication practices.

    Statewide awards provide recognition for outstanding work. They build a greater appreciation for the skills of school public relations professionals and promote a better understanding of the broad range of services rendered by those who have either full or part-time responsibilities for education-related communications.

    Learn more about the NYSPRA Annual Communications Contest here

    Read about our Communicator of the Year program and considering nominating a colleague!

    The deadline to enter is Thursday, July 15, 2021, so don't wait!

  • Monday, April 19, 2021 12:44 PM | Anonymous

    NYSPRA is excited to announce the results of the 2021 Executive Board election.

    Congratulations to the following individuals!

    • Krystyna Baumgartner, APR, Elected Vice President/President-Elect
    • Jake Mendlinger, Elected Treasurer
    • Sapna Kollali, Elected Secretary

    These officers will assume their positions on May 1, 2021. Krystyna will serve for two years as vice president/president-elect and then assume the role of NYSPRA president on May 1, 2023.

    Jake and Sapna will each serve a two-year term, from May 1, 2021-April 30, 2023.

    Current Vice President/President-Elect Steve King becomes president on May 1, while President Adrienne Leon, APR, will become immediate-past president.

    Thank you for voting! We look forward to continuing NYSPRA's growth and offerings for our members.

  • Thursday, March 11, 2021 9:25 PM | Anonymous

    It’s never too soon to plan for retirement. 

    Join NYSPRA for a FREE webinar on March 23 at 4:30 p.m. with four school PR experts who retired from the New York pension system. They will share how they planned, what they wish they had known and the tips and tricks you can use to make your plan better. Join panelists Sandy Cokeley, APR, (Tier 2), Evelyn McCormack (Tier 3) and Hames VanDevelde (Tier 4) and Victoria Free Presser (Tier 4) for what is sure to be a lively conversation.

    The panel will be moderated by NSPRA Northeast Region Vice President and former NYSPRA President Angela Marshall.

    Register here.

  • Monday, March 01, 2021 5:54 PM | Anonymous

    Three positions on the NYSPRA Executive Board are up for election for two-year terms beginning May 1, 2021. The positions are: Vice President/President Elect, Treasurer and Secretary. A complete description of each position can be found below.

    The Executive Board works collaboratively to make sure the work is manageable for all. As an all-volunteer board, we rely on the talents and generosity of our member-officers while being sensitive to the fact that we all have “day jobs.”

    Information about our current officers can be found here.

    Should you decide to become a candidate for one of these positions, please contact Monica Lester, NYSPRA Communications Coordinator, by March 26, 2021, at Please send Monica your name, position sought, headshot and a brief bio.

    The election will occur by online balloting between April 12 - April 16, 2021.

    If you have any questions, please contact current Vice President/President Elect Steve King at

    Open positions on the NYSPRA board include the following. All terms will run from May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2023

    • Vice President/President Elect – Performs all duties of the President in the event of the inability of the president to act; assists with the membership function; and assumes the office of president (2-year term) following completion of a term as President-elect (2-year term). Collaborates as an administrator for NYSPRA’s Facebook page and discussion group. S/he shall attend NYSPRA meetings, events and conference whenever possible. S/he shall be a member of the National School Public Relations Association. Remains on the board for two years after serving as President in the role of Immediate Past President.
    • Treasurer – Keeps cash flow records using the fiscal year set by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA); prepares/provides any financial statements required by NSPRA and upon request of the Executive Board or membership; files appropriate information to IRS; receives and deposits revenues and disburse Chapter funds as approved by the President. The Treasurer also handles financial duties related to the annual communications contest, conference and membership drive (i.e., collects all fees/dues; issues invoices for purchase orders; disburses funds for services). S/he shall attend NYSPRA meetings, events and conference whenever possible. S/he shall be a member of the National School Public Relations Association.
    • Secretary – Records and distributes meeting minutes; keeps records of meetings and may assist in handling Chapter correspondence and serves as a back-up administrator for NYSPRA’s Facebook page and discussion group. S/he shall attend NYSPRA meetings, events and conference whenever possible. S/he shall be a member of the National School Public Relations Association.
  • Friday, February 12, 2021 4:42 PM | Anonymous

    NYSPRA will be holding a business meeting on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, at 4 p.m. This meeting will be held virtually. Login information for the meeting is available by emailing

    View the meeting agenda here.

  • Tuesday, January 05, 2021 8:59 AM | Anonymous

    We've all had to innovate this year, and NYSPRA is excited to offer the NYSPRA Speaker Series, which will be spread over the course of this winter and spring! NYSPRA will be offering four conference sessions from January through June 2021, with a free APR seminar for anyone who registers for the other four.

    Learn about the 2021 Speaker Series here!

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