Stories to Last a Lifetime

This past week’s AASA National Conference on Education was the first I ever attended and what happened will definitely have a lasting impact on me both personally and professionally. I have so many great stories to share!

Before arriving in San Diego, I was asked to serve as a staff writer for the AASA publication, Conference Daily Online. This experience took me back to my reporter days in a test of my writing chops. I’ll let you be the judge:

I have also included a piece on the presentation my superintendent and I did on our school system’s recent success with our community engagement efforts. 

The author with Tuscaloosa City Schools’ superintendent Mike Daria.

Five Keys Offered by Tuscaloosa School Leaders for Amplifying an Organization’s Story

The author reacts to recognition.

I must say the highlight was being named a 2020 AASA Women in School Leadership Award Winner (School Based Category). It is a humbling honor for the superintendents association to recognize my work as a school public relations professional. I see my role in helping others understand how to communicate their school or district story through the strategic use of communication.

Strategic, that is, purposeful. No where is this better illustrated than in the short Twitter story about my flight home from the AASA National Conference on Education.

I was fortunate to have a few short days of amazing learning among fantastic school leaders and return with enough stories to last a lifetime!

Growth & Gratitude

How is it possible to grow so much in the course of one week? That’s the lesson I learned at spending time at the 2019 National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) annual seminar.

The content learned in the sessions I attended is as important and invaluable as connecting with old friends and making new ones in pursuit of advancing the profession.

That’s why I spent the morning penning a stack of thank you notes.

The most important lesson I learned was one of gratitude:

  • For a husband who handled things at home while I was away investing in my professional self;
  • For the investment my district made in me as a School PR practitioner;
  • For a superintendent who is not only supportive, but truly understands the value of strategic communication;
  • For a talented staff who was more than capable of handling things at work while I disconnected to learn;
  • For the wise counsel offered by mentors in NSPRA;
  • For the time to mentor others at NSPRA;
  • For the learning gained from colleagues;
  • For the opportunity to share what I have learned with others;
  • For applauding the success of others;
  • For friendships fostered and forged;
  • For memories made;
  • For hospitality shown;
  • And for the chance to serve.

Leadership is a humbling experience–one that requires you to ask others to follow you. One cannot do it alone and certainly, no one stays there without others standing behind you.

Leadership isn’t about who’s out front; it’s about who’s got your back.

This past week, I was proud and excited to be affirmed as the president-elect of this organization, with a term that starts October 1.

The author speaking at the 2019 NSPRA seminar.

It’s a concept I will hold onto this year as I serve with a very talented NSPRA board, under the leadership of incoming president Kelly Avants, APR.

But most of all, I’m grateful to be home having grown so much and ready to take on a brand new school year.