2020 MOSPRA Awards of Achievement
We will be adding to this page "on the fly" as we were unable to present the awards at the Spring Conference.
Francis Howell’s Deichmann Named MOSPRA Professional of the Year
May 21, 2020
Matt Deichmann, Chief Communications & Community Relations Officer for the Francis Howell School District, has been named the Missouri School Public Relations Association’s 2020 Professional of the Year.
The Professional of the Year is MOSPRA’s most prestigious award and is given to a communications professional who has made a valuable contribution to public education. Among the attributes of the recipient are professionalism; strategic skills; organization; ability to develop and implement high-quality communication practices; and commitment to helping MOSPRA as an association.
The association received multiple nomination letters for Deichmann and several themes were recurrent including strategic skills, credibility, and being a trusted colleague and mentor.
Deichmann is known for his ability to coordinate communication efforts related to ballot initiatives and has done so thoroughly and thoughtfully, breaking down complicated initiatives into nuggets of information that resonate with stakeholders.
Former Wentzville Superintendent, Terry Adams, appreciated Deichmann’s honesty and tact: “Matt was a trusted co-worker and a friend. Even when he told me things I didn’t want to hear I knew he was trying to help the district and me.”
Francis Howell Superintendent, Mary Hendricks-Harris, wrote, “Matt has been a key leader as we both developed and rolled out our strategic plan. He has ensured every step of our process and progress is transparent.”
Deichmann is a leader for the association in many ways. He has served as the Eastern Region Director to the Board and also served two years as Treasurer. He has served (and continues to serve) as a mentor to many and a trusted resource should others seek help in times of crisis.
Mary LaPak, the Chief Communications Officer for the Wentzville School District, stated, “Matt has the ability to work through any situation with both a 10,000 foot view and the perspective of a loving parent. On top of it all, Matt has a true heart for kids, which is best illustrated when he is asked to read to students and takes on the character of whatever book he may be sharing at the time.”
Deichmann has announced his retirement from the Francis Howell School District effective June 30, 2020. He plans to continue working in the field of media relations, strategic planning and communications.
Leeton R-X Superintendent Named MOSPRA Administrator of the Year
The Missouri School Public Relations Association has named Susan Crooks, Superintendent of the Leeton R-X School District, its 2020 Administrator of the Year. The award is given to a school administrator who exhibits excellent communication skills and supports open communications in his or her school district.
Kelly Wachel, MOSPRA President, said, “Superintendent Crooks has made solid internal and external communications a central part of the Leeton R-X School District. Leeton is a very small district that does not have a designated communications professional on staff, but Ms. Crooks determined to create a communications team to assure that staff, parents and community receive important school information via their website, social media, and group meetings. ”
Jill Filer, Director of Communications & Community Relations for the Harrisonville School District, wrote in her nomination, “Susan and her communication efforts and strategies are models for other rural districts. Her commitment to providing professional development to her team in the area of public relations and communications is laudable.”
Heather Schafer, a member of Leeton’s communications committee, wrote in her letter of nomination, “Mrs. Crooks has made it her mission to tear down barriers of communication in order to build a school family based on celebration, collaboration, and quality Education. She established a committee of individuals whose goal is to continue to foster a positive school climate and culture, build relationships, and communicate with our parents and community.”
Superintendent Crooks represents the Leeton R-X Public Schools with professionalism and conviction. She is passionate about public education. MOSPRA is pleased to recognize her as our 2020 Administrator of the Year.
Connell Selected 2020 New Professional of the Year
Kim Connell, Communications Director for the Hollister R-V Schools, has been named the Missouri School Public Relations Association’s 2020 New Professional of the Year. Ms. Connell was to receive the award at the Annual MASA/MOSPRA Spring Conference, but due to that event’s cancellation, she received her award at the June Hollister R-V Board of Education meeting.
The primary criteria for the Professional of the Year Award is that the recipient is in their first 18 months in the field of public relations and has exhibited a creative, dedicated and professional approach to school communications.
MOSPRA President, Kelly Wachel, APR, stated, “MOSPRA is proud to recognize Kim Connell as our New Professional of the Year. In her short time as Hollister’s communication director, Kim has thrown herself into her job. She is constantly seeking best practices for school communications, and she is clearly an asset to her district.”
Brian Wilson, Hollister R-V Superintendent, likened Connell to an artist, stating, “The efforts of Mrs. Connell have been transformational in turning words into pictures that our community proudly treasures. This climate and culture has developed our community into a place where everyone believes that Hollister is a great place to raise your children. This painted ‘Picasso’ was created by the tireless brushstrokes of Mrs. Connell.”
Letters of nomination noted Connell’s adept use of social media to enhance the district’s image; her ability to be a great storyteller for the schools; and her passion for spotlighting students and staff.
Hollister Assistant Superintendent, Sean Woods, shared, “Kim has an uncanny approachability. Her attention to detail, coupled with her ability to plan and organize for the distant future, make her an invaluable member of our team.”
MOSPRA is pleased to recognize Ms. Connell for her excellence as a new professional in the field of school communications.
Minor Selected 2020 MOSPRA Spirit Award Recipient
Marci Minor, Public Relations Coordinator for Mexico School District 59, has been named the Missouri School Public Relations Association’s 2020 Zubeck Spirit Award recipient. Ms. Minor received the award during the June Mexico School District Board of Education meeting.
The award is given in honor of the late Tina Zubeck, a former leader for MOSPRA who was known for her positive energy, her passion for helping school districts and the student they serve, and her willingness to give freely of her time and talents to support her colleagues.
MOSPRA Executive Director, David Luther, said “Marci Minor fully embraced the role of school communications professional from her first days at the Hallsville School District and she has taken her skill sets to incredible level as she has worked for the Mexico Schools. Most importantly, Marci is a insightful, enthusiastic supporter of her schools, and of her peers in the world of school communications, public relations and marketing.”
Zach Templeton, Mexico Superintendent, stated, “Marci is an incredible asset to district and school leaders who have questions about what to communicate and when to communicate. When we have to communicate news that is less positive than we hope for, Marci frames the issue factually and professionally.”
MOSPRA Past President, Jill Filer, stated, “Marci continually stretches herself to learn and become an expert in new areas. This year, she has become someone who is the go-to for generational communications. She’s also a leader when it comes to social media trends.”
Fellow MOSPRA member Bob Satnan of the Sedalia #200 Schools, wrote, “Marci Minor is the embodiment of what all school PR professionals should aspire to be. She is knowledgeable; she loves sharing what she knows to help others. She is curious; Marci is always looking for better and more efficient ways to present the Mexico School District in the most positive light and engage its parents and students. She is effervescent; it is a most rare occasion when Marci isn’t smiling and reaching out to others to include them in the fun. She is caring; since joining MOSPRA, Marci has connected with so many of us and often reaches out when we are facing challenges.”
MOSPRA is pleased to recognize Marci Minor as the 2020 Zubeck Spirit Award recipient.