My Holiday Wish for All NSPRA Members

A Boss Who Gets It

NSPRA members can attest that their programs and the value they bring to their schools rest heavily on their superintendents’ commitment to and understanding of a comprehensive communication and engagement program. In other words, we all want a “Superintendent Who Gets It.” So, in keeping with the season, here are my thoughts for a special gift for you this year.

My holiday wish for all our members is a boss who:

  • Seeks your counsel and discusses options before making PR-implicated decisions. 
  • Makes timely decisions to prevent creating a communication vacuum, which would quickly be filled by your system’s critics. 
  • Knows and practices the maxim that internal communication must always come first. 
  • Understands that effective media relations can best be measured by balanced media coverage rather than the unflattering head shot in the latest edition. 
  • Makes the time to listen to new approaches to engagement and marketing in your schools and funds some of them. 
  • Does not nitpick about alternative correct grammar usages — does traveling have one “l” or two? 
  • Often says, “Thank you,” — and means it. 
  • Understands that PR people can keep a secret and pulls you in on confidential matters so you better understand how to deal with all issues in your system. 
  • Realizes that communication is the responsibility of all staff members. Even though you have the title, operational communication often falls on the shoulders of individuals in your system. 
  • Provides a budget for training staff in communication. 
  • Requires an annual communication plan that is tied to your district’s goals and plans — and funds it.

  • Makes you a cabinet member or has you sit in on cabinet meetings as a start to taking your place at the table. 
  • Knows that every major initiative in your system needs a communication strategy to be as successful as everybody wants it to be. 
  • Understands that one taxpayer’s negative tweet does not call for a responsive media blitz in numerous formats because it can ignite more controversy now that you are involved in the fray. 
  • Periodically calls a “timeout” and sits down with you to discuss progress to date and what changes must be considered, and then adjusts workloads and budgets to reflect the changes to make your effort more effective. 
  • Understands and completes the visibility and climate-setting role during tragedies and crises in your system.

Well, just like our children’s, this holiday wish list could go on and on. And we all know that there are many more activities for a “Superintendent Who Gets It.” We’ll just be grateful if you succeed in getting these!

Best wishes for a pleasant holiday season.

Rich Bagin, APR
NSPRA Executive Director

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