Message from NSPRA NW Regional Vice President

NSPRA NW Regional Vice President and WSPRA member Curtis Campbell recently returned from an NSPRA Board Meeting. Read his update message below and learn about all the things happening on the national level that impact WSPRA members.

Curtis Campbell Greetings WSPRA friends!

I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season! Mine has been great so far, but I’ll admit that the stress of finding new things for our Elf on the Shelf to be “caught” doing by our youngest weighs heavily on me. We’re only about a week in and I’ve already received the side-eye from a skeptical 8-year-old when she remarked that the scene she recently found her elf in was very similar to one from last year. It’s going to be a long two and a half more weeks. 

In other news, I had the honor and pleasure of representing you and our colleagues from across the Northwest at my first NSPRA Board Meeting last month in Rockville, MD. It was both productive and memorable, as it was my first ever trip to the Washington D.C. area! I was able to squeeze in some sightseeing, but not before we engaged in a lot of work on behalf of NSPRA members across the country.

Below are some notes from our meeting that I wanted to share with you. If you’re not yet an NSPRA member, some of the information and resources noted below won’t apply to you. I have a simple solution though. Become a member! NSPRA members benefit from an amazing network of resources and support. Becoming a member is simply the best professional investment you will ever make. 

If you have any questions about NSPRA, becoming a member or have any ideas on what I can do with this elf, please let me know.

2019 Washington, D.C. Seminar

Save the date! The 2019 NSPRA Seminar is July 14-17 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The 2019 Seminar webpage is live. New information will be added to the webpage as plans and details are finalized. Members will receive emails when registration and hotel reservation blocks are open. Seminar scholarships are available now though! 

Seminar Travel

When arranging your travel, plan ahead. Arrive in time to take advantage of events that start early Sunday morning and stay long enough to benefit from all offered sessions/events on Wednesday. Sometimes members arrive too late on Sunday to attend the annual meeting and celebration of achievements and/or leave too early on Wednesday to attend that day’s sessions and closing banquet.

Present at NSPRA

Our region is home to some of the most amazing and innovative school communicators in the country. Let’s share that knowledge and experience with our peers from far and wide. Submit a presentation proposal for by December 14 for a chance to present at the National Seminar.

NSPRA Connect

Since launching over six months ago, NSPRA Connect has proven to be a valuable member benefit. There is an average of 60 new discussion threads per month. I would encourage you to add it to your favorites bar and check in regularly, there’s a ton of great discussions and resources being shared every day.

Audit Report

The board accepted an unqualified audit of NSPRA’s finances I know that “unqualified” sounds like a bad thing, but in terms of audits, it’s the best possible designation. The report noted that NSPRA is consistently amassing a larger reserve, operates with a positive fund balance, budgets revenue conservatively and is prudent in its financial management. Kudos to the NSPRA staff, and a special shout out to Business Manager Tommy Jones, for supporting the sound fiscal health of our organization.

Staffing Update

Mellissa Braham joined the NSPRA staff in August as Associate Director to fill the position left open by Karen Kleinz’s retirement. Mellissa hails from the Capital Region BOCES Communications Service based in Albany, NY. She had been with the BOCES (their version of an ESD) since 2006 and has been a wonderful addition to NSPRA staff. While Karen’s shoes are definitely big ones to fill, Melissa has hit the road running and is doing an excellent job.

Jennifer Alexander was recently hired to as the manager of seminar, partnerships and programs. This position has been vacant since this summer when Beth Pernerwski left for other endeavors. Jennifer previously served in meeting planning and project management positions for two Washington, D.C. associations, the American Association for Justice and the Association for Psychological Science. She has planned and managed large meetings and conferences with over 4500 attendees!  

Communications Manager Jennifer Landes will be leaving NSPRA later this month. Her husband accepted a new job in North Caroline and they will be relocating there. We wish her well and thank her for her incredible work over the past few years. A job announcement for the communications manager position is posted here. Please share with anyone who might be interested.

Executive Director’s Evaluation

The evaluation of Executive Director Rich Bagin was positive. The board plans to explore upgrading the evaluation instrument and process to one that has more defined metrics and opportunity for a mid-year check-in.


NSPRA continues its efforts to engage school communicators in a conversation around this important topic for schools and communities. It will be an area of focus during our upcoming strategic planning.

We also recommitted to hosting a diversity mixer before the opening reception at the Seminar this year. To provide a better opportunity for more members to attend the diversity mixer, the #K12prchat meetup is being moved to a different day or time. It was at the same time as the diversity mixer last year. More  

Awards Screening Committee

President Carol Fenstermacher, APR, appointed the Executive Board and Association members to committees to screen nominations/submissions for various awards and to recommend awardees. 

Awards for consideration are the NSPRA Presidents Award, NSPRA Seminar Scholarships, the Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award, and the Bob Grossman Leadership in School Communications Award. Here is information on making award nominations.

I will be sitting on the Seminar Scholarships Committee and hope to see many scholarships submitted from our region!

Strategic Planning

The board will begin a strategic planning process at our March 2019 meeting. If you have thoughts or ideas on areas of support or service that NSPRA should focus on for the future, please feel free to connect with me.

NSPRA Member Voice Blog

NSPRA member Nicole Kirby, APR, will start a general member blog this month. Members will receive more information on this later in the month.

Standing Committees, Project Teams and Task Forces for 2018-19

The board approved this year’s committees and charges. Standing Committees: Executive Board Search Committee, Accreditation Committee, Audit Committee, Teller Committee. Task Forces: Communication Equity and Diversity Task Force. Project Team: School Communication Benchmarking – Bond/Finance Election Plans and Campaigns. 

That is all from this meeting, but I’ll look forward to updating you after our March board meeting. I hope you all have happy holidays spent with friends and loved ones!

Curtis Campbell

Northwest Regional Vice President
National School Public Relations Association