Do you know that the Kentucky School Public Relations Association has a Mentoring Program?
One of the free member benefits of KYSPRA is connecting new full-time or part-time communication professionals with mentors who are experienced in a variety of communication fields. Mentors provide telephone calls, personal consultations, and when possible, on-site reviews and audits of publications, audio/visual programs and community relations initiatives. The program is a joint initiative between KYSPRA and the Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA) in which KYSPRA members with at least five years experience in school communications, including at least three years at the district level serve as mentors.
Brad Hughes, KSBA’s director of member support/communications services, served as my mentor when I began my role as the Public Relations Coordinator for Bowling Green Independent Schools. He and I talked on the phone several times throughout the year; he would call and ask about my current projects or issues and I would call and ask him for advice when I needed an outside opinion. He also visited my office in Bowling Green and had lunch with my new Superintendent and I to discuss my role in the district office.
My first year was a blur and Brad was great to help me through so many issues. The superintendent who hired me announced his retirement at the end of my first week. BGISD opened the first new elementary school building in over 40 years on my second week. We also dealt with a case of tuberculosis, hired a new superintendent, conducted employee satisfaction surveys, and as the only and first full-time public relations coordinator in the district, I was charged with revising all district publications, taking over the district website, revamping the district’s Community Advisory Cabinet, and planning events. All for the first time! Having a mentor was invaluable to me, and although I’ve just completed my 9th school year, Brad is still someone I call when I want to brainstorm ideas or need a quick second-opinion.
If you would like more information on the mentoring program, or would like to be matched with a KYSPRA mentor, contact Lisa Deffendall, District Spokeswoman for Fayette County Public Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Relations Coordinator
Bowling Green Independent Schools
KYSPRA President, 2014-15