Kershaw County School District (KCSD) Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan and KCSD Director of Communications Mary Anne Byrd received double surprises March 16 upon being named, respectively, as the S.C. Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association’s (SC/NSPRA) 2018 administrator and communicator of the year.
The SC/NSPRA made the surprise announcements during a meeting of the KCSD Teacher Forum at the district office.
According to a SC/NSPRA press release, Morgan’s award recognizes “his leadership in demonstrating communications excellence … for providing ongoing support for the communications functions of (the district) and playing an active role in those efforts.” Morgan regularly blogs and updates his personal Facebook page with photographs during daily school visits, posts sports and other extracurricular updates while attending evening games and performances, submits columns to local and statewide newspapers, records a podcast after each school board meeting, speaks at local civic events and recognizes great school communications work in his school and district staff.
“(The) SC/NSPRA is proud to recognize … Morgan as our inaugural winner of the Administrator of the Year Award. He is setting the bar high as an administrator that truly ‘gets it’ when it comes to school public relations. Our organization is impressed by the ways he shares the good news about students and teachers in his district,” SC/NSPRA President Johnathan Graves said in the press release.
Byrd’s award recognizes “her commitment to supporting public education through exceptional communications and public relations strategies, practices and skills. Byrd does tremendous work utilizing both conventional and electronic media. She is frequently sought out by reporters covering education stories because they know she will help them get the facts and accommodate their needs. A role model for other school communicators, she takes time to ‘go the extra mile’ with reporters, earning their trust and respect.”
According to the press release, beyond conventional media, Byrd has been and continues to be in the forefront of utilizing social and other internet-based media to communicate with families and the general public. Under her guidance, Kershaw County was also on the cutting edge in terms of utilizing a mobile app to help parents to stay engaged with individual schools and the district.
“Byrd is also a tremendous colleague and sounding board for other public information officers in the Midlands and beyond,” SC/NSPRA officials said in the press release. “She currently serves as the Wise Counsel on the SC/NSPRA Board of Directors.”
“Mary Anne is truly a leader and an innovator in the area of school district public relations. She stands out as one of the strongest leaders in our state association and in the group of school district public information officers working across South Carolina. She has earned the respect of fellow communicators because of her expertise, strong professional ethics and innovative ideas,” Graves said.
Morgan and Byrd will be formally recognized on April 27 during the SC/NSPRA Rewards for Excellence Luncheon at The Phillips Market Center in West Columbia.
SC/NSPRA is an affiliate of the National School Public Relations Association. The state chapter is composed of more than 106 school public relations practitioners, superintendents and other educational professionals from across the state. The organization strives to foster development in the field of school public relations and to encourage meaningful community involvement in and understanding of the public school system.