Event Center

OHSPRA Logo (1).jpg

OHSPRA 2017 Spring Conference

With the help of public relations and marketing experts...and a guru in the field of financial advising...OHSPRA is once again planning to host an annual two-day Spring Conference that promises something for everyone.

The 2017 OHSPRA Spring Conference is set for March 23 and 24, and will be held at Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center.

Register online TODAY for the 2017 OHSPRA Spring Conference!

Reserve your hotel room at Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center.

Questions? Need additional information? -- Contact:

Kari Basson, OHSPRA Director of Professional Development --

Mary Beddell, OHSPRA Chapter Manager


Thursday, March 23

9-10 a.m.                        Registration and Breakfast

10:15-11:15 a.m.                Keynote Address

Tom Speaks, Principal, The Impact Group
Don Polyak, Principal, The Impact Group

Do you want a motivated staff? Do you want to create a culture where people want to come to work and want to do a great job? Well, You can’t make people do anything. So here’s the secret, you need to make them WANT to do it! You need to create a Culture of Appreciation! You need to learn the art and science of Appreciology! Tom Speaks and Don Polyak from the Impact Group lead us in a keynote session on the science of Appreciology.

11:15-11:30 a.m.                    Room Change

11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.             Achievement Awards Luncheon

12:45-1:00 p.m.                     Room change                   

1:00-2:00 p.m.                       Spotlight Session 

Strategic Communications and Effective Media Relations in Times of Crisis
Benjamin Johnson, The Ohio State University 

The Ohio State University was the focus of international media attention after a car and knife attack on campus in 2016. Director of Media and Public Relations Benjamin Johnson will discuss how the university coordinated media relations in the hours, days and weeks following the attack.

2-2:15 p.m.                           Beverage Break

2:30-3:30 p.m.                       Break-Out Sessions (Choose One)

Your Journey Toward a More Inclusive Web Presence
Maria Vaughn, Account Executive, Siteimprove

With websites constantly evolving, digital inclusiveness is on the forefront of everyone's mind.   Join us, and learn about how to keep up with those changes, helpful best practices, and important website maintenance solutions. 

Planning for YOUR Future
Ben Kirksey, Financial Advisor with UBS Financial Services

Polishing your PR skills is essential to your job, but when is the last time you sat down and thought about your future?  Whether you are at the beginning of your career or a seasoned pro, planning for retirement is necessary. Ben Kirksey, Financial Advisor with UBS Financial Services, helps answer the important question of where to start when it comes to planning for the future.

What Story Does Your Website Tell?
Patti Koslo, Strategic Communications Director, eSchoolView

When was the last time you really looked at your website?  During this interactive session you will have the opportunity to see if it’s time to design a ‘new cover,” add a few ‘extra chapters,’ include some new ‘pictures’ or…is it time to “rewrite” your school district’s website story?

3:30-3:45 p.m.                    Beverage and Snack Break

3:45-4:45 p.m.                    Break-Out Sessions (Choose One)

Gearing up for a Public Initiative
Carole Dorn-Bell, Allerton-Hill Consulting, LLP

Is your district headed into a ballot issue or big public initiative? Are you doing the right things to prepare? The work and public conversation take place at least a year or more in advance of such an initiative. There are so many things to do: Survey your residents, target your communications, engage your staff, and communicate, communicate, communicate. It’s about being smart and being strategic. In the end, it’ll also make your job easier...and you look good.

DESIGNing Communications that Actually Get Read
Aaron Roberts, Innovative Learning Coach, Mason City Schools

You're not a graphic designer. You're a hard-working communications professional. Get tips and learn about tricks and tools to help you produce low-cost, beautiful, functional communications pieces that will draw in your reader and are easy for you to produce.

Survey Says...?
Patrick Gallaway, Director of Communications, New Albany-Plain Local Schools
Tracey Carson, Public Information Officer, Mason City Schools
Crystal Davis, Deputy Director of Communications Services, Ohio School Boards Association

What do your stakeholders think about your schools? Surveys, data and information are more valuable today than ever. Learn from three of your OHSPRA colleagues how to ask the right questions, to the right people and in the right way. Finally, now that you have analyzed your results what are you going to do with the information?

Connecting with Alumni
Recognizing the valuable role alumni can play in amplifying your school PR message, Sheryl Sheatzley with Hudson City Schools, will be set up at the conference to share how her district developed and maintains a successful alumni relations program that connects alumni to students as mentors and develops opportunities for alumni to financially contribute to district "passion" projects and/or the Hudson City Schools Foundation.

5:30—7 p.m.                  OHSPRA Social

Please join us in the The Study for the OHSPRA Networking Social. Enjoy hor d’oeuvres and beverages as you relax and connect...or re-connect...with your colleagues from across the state.


Friday, March 24

9-9:30 a.m.                  Registration

9:30-10:30 a.m.             Breakfast

10:30-11:30 a.m.            Keynote Address

Improving Web Accessibility: Considerations and Practices
Joyce Whitby, National V.P. of Sales, West Corporation

Accessibility has become a hot topic when it comes to digital school communications. Learn about best practices, considerations, and tools from SchoolMessenger to improve your site’s accessibility.

11:30-11:45 a.m.                Beverage Break

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.          Break-Out Sessions (Choose One)

Expand Your Reach by Expanding Your Delivery Systems
Mike Kessler, Founder and COO, MyVRSpot
Kristin Dages, Media Coordinator, Hudson City Schools

In this session, we will explore expanding your reach and message delivery systems by integrating Live Broadcasting into your marketing arsenal.  From broadcasting of special school events to district and regional events, having your own Streaming Channel(s) help to move your district into clear view for your community at large.  While there are several solutions available in the K12 space that require expensive hardware and a technology guru to manage, we will explore a fully web-based solution that can be utilized with the technology your district already has.  Not only will all attendees receive a Streaming Channel for their district for the next six (6) months at no cost, but we will also explore how your streams are captured, converted to videos, and then available for you to share via URL link, Embed Codes, and via a unique tool for creating online video projects. 

Top Ten Social Media Tips and Tricks
Mary Beddell, Public Relations Director, Plain Local Schools

So you have a social media what? Mary Beddell, public relations director at Plain Local Schools (Stark County) offers her top-ten tips for using social media effectively. Learn from a peer on the best apps to make your life easier, how to make a killer video without spending hours creating it and other time saving tips and tricks. The session will also include a tutorial on the hottest app that your students are using: snap chat!

Navigating the Multi-High School Universe
Doug Baker, Public Information Officer, Dublin City Schools

This session will focus on the challenges school communications professionals face when working in multiple high school districts. Learn how to navigate different school cultures, different support groups, and different community priorities within the same district.

Work in a single high school district? We will also be discussing information useful to any communications professional who has ever dealt with intra-district competition for attention. Are we still trying to even out media coverage or should we be more focused on teaching our principals and teachers how to become their own newsrooms? This session will be an interactive, best practices exchange of ideas.

12:45-1:45 p.m.           Lunch

1:45-2:45 p.m.             Break-out Sessions (Choose One)

Engaging Teachers in the Journey: Internal Communications Programs
Kimberly Ratcliff, Senior Communications Director, Battelle for Kids
Megan Shock, Communications Specialist, Battelle for Kids

Through collaboration with the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers and more than 400 teachers and school administrators, Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) built a professional growth and evaluation system to stand the test of time. During this session, attendees will learn about how communications partner, Battelle for Kids helped PPS develop an internal communications program that uses multiple lenses to accurately identify differences in teacher effectiveness through observation of teacher practice, measures of student learning and growth, and student feedback.

Jeffrey Stec, JD, Executive Director, Citizens for Civic Renewal and Publisher and Editor, Community Voices Cincy

There is a secret to community engagement, something ancient yet timeless, a way of gathering that transcends PR and transforms individual complainers into collaborative team members:  small group dialog methodology that quickly builds deep connections no matter the number of people or their frustration level.  Once connected, people are able to listen with empathy, talk with civility about tough issues, and collaborate on how to solve problems or achieve goals as a community. Simply, people support what they co-create -- but you need to know how to set the conditions for connection and collaboration to go from problem identification to solutions your community will support.  To learn how, come to this highly interactive (engaging!) session where you will talk with peers in small groups to apply the modern incarnation of this ancient wisdom.

Talking About School Safety for Your District
Kim Norris, Executive Director of Communications and Outreach, Ohio Department of Education
Eric Wittig, Center for P-20 Safety and Security, Ohio Department of Education

Communications is key to keeping your students and staff safe. The presenters will discuss three ways to help you strengthen your safety communications. 1) SaferOh Tipline is a free service for people in your community and schools to report suspicious activities or individuals; 2) Information about how to talk about your safety plan to your community and media; and 3) Parent notification process to reassure your families about how they will get information during safety situations.

2:45-3:45 p.m.              OHSPRA Board Meeting 

Connecting with Alumni
Recognizing the valuable role alumni can play in amplifying your school PR message, Sheryl Sheatzley with Hudson City Schools, will be set up at the conference to share how her district developed and maintains a successful alumni relations program that connects alumni to students as mentors and develops opportunities for alumni to financially contribute to district "passion" projects and/or the Hudson City Schools Foundation.

OHSPRA/OSBA Joint Fall Workshop —
A Tremendous Success! 

63 people attended the "Handling transgender, race and bullying issues in schools" workshop at
the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) in Columbus on Oct. 20, 2016. The workshop is jointly offered by OHSPRA in partnership with OSBA. That's the biggest crowd for a joint OHSPRA/OSBA workshop in many years!

The full-day, interactive workshop was designed to help school communications officers and administrators recognize and act upon instances of discrimination and harassment and handle public reaction to a district's response to these issues.

Packed room at the workshop

Featured speakers were: 

1.) Sara C. Clark
director of legal services, OSBA

2.) Hudson City's Hudson High School’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) students and advisors, along with Superintendent Phil Herman and Assistant Principal Maureen Schreiner

3.) Erika Daggett
communications coordinator, Forest Hills School District; past president, OHSPRA

4.) Patrick Gallaway
, d
irector of communications, New Albany-Plain Local Schools; president-elect, OHSPRA

Thank you to our fantastic speakers and to those who attended the workshop!

Sara Clark speaks to a captive audience

Two Hudson City students discuss transgender issues



Spring Conference 2014

OHSPRA’s 2016 Spring Conference: Share Your Story 

OHSPRA 16 Conference presentations are available to members by clicking here



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. © 2017 West Corporation. All rights reserved.