Event Center

Save the date for the 2019 OHSPRA Spring Conference 

We’ll be at a new venue, but one thing won’t change: You can expect an information-filled conference with sessions and activities that will give you the tools and resources you need to Amplify the Excellence in your district, CTC, school or department!
Join us on April 11 and 12 for the 2019 OHSPRA Spring Conference! It will be held at the Renaissance Columbus Westerville-Polaris Hotel, 409 Altair Parkway, in Westerville. 

Click here to register

2019 OHSPRA Spring Conference Agenda

Thursday, April 11

9:30 a.m. - Registration and breakfast 10 a.m.  - President's Welcome

Patrick Gallaway, OHSPRA President and Director of Communications, New Albany-Plain Local Schools

10:15-11:15 a.m. --  Get to Know Your OHSPRA Colleagues

Patti Koslo, OHSPRA Treasurer and Director of Client Engagement, eSchoolView

We’ll open the 2019 OHSPRA Spring Conference with this interactive, fun-filled, entertaining Ice Breaker. Come prepared to meet new colleagues, catch up with old ones, team-build and share your best school PR stories with each other.

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. --

Community Connectedness

Dr. Kershini Naidu, Director of Student Support Services, Orange City Schools

Communicating and connecting with families who have students with special circumstances -- such as socio-economic challenges, negative home situations or special needs -- and helping staff understand the families' situations and how this can impact student success at school can be challenging. Learn how Dr. Naidu deals with these challenges and how she has established a Community Connectedness group, made up of both school folks and residents of the Orange City Schools community who make it their mission to help the families who feel they have no voice.

12:15-1:30 p.m.

Achievement Awards Luncheon, Olivia Bronczek, OHSPRA Director of Contest and Awards, Massillon City Schools and Communications Coordinator, Massillon City Schools


1:30-2 p.m. -- Vendor Fair

2-3 p.m. -- Breakout Sessions

Marketing Your District in the Age of EdChoice

Audrey Holtzman, Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator, Euclid Schools

Scott Wortman, Director of Communications, Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

In the era of school choice, families have more options than ever before when deciding where to educate their children. The EdChoice scholarship and other voucher programs have upped the ante for many school districts who face dwindling enrollment and, as a result, dwindling state funding. Learn effective marketing strategies that go beyond traditional school communications. Big budget, small budget, or no budget--hear from two school PR professionals who are finding new ways for their districts to successfully compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

The Journey Toward Effective Community Engagement in Developing a Strategic Plan

Jay Phillips, Superintendent, Deer Park Community City Schools

Jake Snyder, Executive Director of Communications, Deer Park Community City Schools

Janice Zielinski, PCM, Account Manager, Approach Marketing

Deer Park Community City Schools worked with Approach Marketing to develop its strategic plan. By focusing on cultural issues and the involvement of all stakeholders in the process, Deer Park successfully engaged their communities from plan preparation to launch. In addition to sharing best practices and lessons learned, Phillips, Snyder and Zelinski will share a checklist to support successful strategic planning efforts.

3-3:15 p.m. -- Beverage Break

3:15-4:15 p.m.  

Video Techniques, Tips & Tools

Vanessa George, Video Production instructor, Pickaway-Ross Career & Technology Center/Chillicothe High School

Shelby Dunham, Chillicothe High School senior

Learn how effective in-house videos can be in promoting your schools, when they are done right! In this session, George and Dunham will demonstrate various video-making and enhancing tools how something as simple as an iPhone can be used to make great videos, and best practices for capturing eye-catching video. You will also learn about video topics and how the “right” topic will draw viewers to your videos.

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. -- OHSPRA Social

Friday, April 12

9- a.m. -- Registration and Breakfast

9:15 a.m. -- OHSPRA Board Meeting

9:30-10:30 a.m. -- Keynote – My Top 10 Rules for Success in School PR

Carol Fenstermacher, APR, Community Engagement Coordinator, Centennial School District and 2018-19 NSPRA President

With 30 years in communications – 19 of those in school PR – Fenstermacher has compiled a “Top 10” list of rules for success in school PR. Her entertaining presentation highlights the stories behind each rule (some of which she admits are pretty funny), and explores how the equity and diversity work she has been involved with impacts these rules. NSPRA’s 2018-19 president will also touch on the importance of developing a dynamic communications plan and the role a well-thought-out plan can have in helping PR pros accomplish their communications goals.

10:30-10:45 a.m. -- Break

10:45 a.m. -- 12 p.m. -- Crisis Communication --  How to Effectively Respond when the Mic is ‘In Your Face!’

Crystal Davis, OHSPRA Immediate Past President; Public Relations Coordinator, Pickerington Local School District; Part-time Meteorologist, Spectrum News 1

The real-time impact of today’s social media platforms makes it difficult to stay ahead of a crisis when it hits your school district, CTC or organization. Having a general crisis communications plan in place and being able to respond concisely and effectively when a crisis does hit can make all the difference in the world when it comes to how your constituents react to the crisis and perceive how communications surrounding it was handled. In this hands-on session, Davis, former TV news reporter and current Spectrum News 1 meteorologist, will present real-world crisis scenarios, challenge attendees to respond and moderate discussions on best practices for navigating through a crisis.  

12-12:30 p.m. Lunch

12:30-1:30 p.m. -- Breakout Sessions

Social Media Savvy

Evan Debo, Communications Director, Circleville City Schools

Erika Konowalow, OHSPRA Secretary and Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator, Pickaway-Ross Career & Technology Center/Pickaway County ESC

From stakeholder engagement posts on Facebook and Twitter to time-saving post scheduling, this session will help the novice and the advanced school PR professional maximize their social media platforms. Learn how to use tools such as Photoshop to make eye-catching posts quickly and how to read analytics to gauge your net interaction with the publics you serve.   

Create with Canva: Design Engaging Visual Content for Your Schools

Amanda Lloyd, Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Fairview Park City Schools

Graphic design doesn’t have to be intimidating, time-consuming, or require expensive software. Using Canva, an online graphic design platform with easy-to-use templates, you can create everything from social media graphics and flyers to invitations, certificates, and more. In this session, Lloyd will cover how to set up and organize a Canva account and create several types of graphics of varying sizes, plus learn several tips and tricks for effective graphic design along the way.

1:30-1:45 p.m. – Beverage Break

1:45-2:45 p.m. – Breakout Sessions

Communicating Through House Bill 70

Jeff Graham, Regional Superintendent, Cleveland Metropolitan School District

Erin Graham, OHSPRA Director of Sponsorships and Owner, Erin Graham Consulting, LLC

During Superintendent Dr. Jeff Graham's first week on the job in the Lorain City Schools, HB 70 was passed after one public hearing, and an extremely close vote in the Ohio Senate – 18 to 14. Currently a hot-button topic around the state, this controversial legislation effectively removes decision-making power from locally elected school boards and installs an independent commission to operate the district - creating community-wide upheaval in the cities of Youngstown, Lorain, and East Cleveland. Learn from the superintendent and communications director who helped students, staff, families and community members transition to state takeover, and find out what works - and what doesn't - in high stakes communication with the state.

We're tired... why does school have to start SO early?!

Mason City Schools

Tracey Carson, Public Information Officer

10,500 Mason City Schools students will be getting some more ZZZZZS in 2019-2020. Learn how Mason City Schools leaders listened to students, staff, families, and other key constituents to craft a revised school start schedule that better supports teen and tweens' mental health in a fiscally responsible manner. Mason's strategic communications leader will share the process for prioritizing needs, soliciting feedback, and crafting a plan.  Participate in a design thinking challenge to reimagine how you might implement a school start time change in your district that doesn't keep you up at night!

about us

OHSPRA is a public relations organization that has dedicated more than 30 years to facilitating support for and trust in education through comprehensive communications efforts.

become a member

Members get access to top education communications professionals, outstanding educational opportunities and members-only resources right here on the website.


contact us

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2019 West Corporation. All rights reserved.