Outstanding Superintendent Communicator Honord
News release - 12-9-13

For the first time ever, SUNSPRA, the Sunshine State School Public Relations Association, has presented the Outstanding Superintendent Communicator Award.

The new award will annually recognize a practicing superintendent of schools for outstanding leadership in school public relations and communications both internally and externally. Nominations received were evaluated by a panel of judges chaired by Elise Shelton of Tennessee, the Southeast Regional Vice President of NSPRA, the National School Public Relations Association. Presidents of the North and South Carolina school public relations associations served on the panel.

The inaugural SUNSPRA Outstanding Superintendent Communicator Award was presented to Kamela Patton, Ph.D., Superintendent of Collier County Public Schools, during the 68th Annual Joint Conference in Tampa, by Bill Montford, Executive Director of FADSS, the Florida Association of District School Superintendents.

Dr. Patton was hired in April of 2011 to replace a superintendent the Collier school board felt may not have been communicating effectively. The board’s goal was to find a passionate communicator to reopen lines of communication.

Following her appointment, Dr. Patton implemented several initiatives including a series of Town Hall Meetings, weekly good news email blasts to employees, and an electronic newsletter for parents and community members. She began holding CEO Briefings and Student Roundtable Meetings and seated a District Advisory Council which meets via videoconferencing. A district-wide PTA/PTO/School Advisory Council was formed as well.

Due to her efforts, survey results show the level of community engagement increased from 51% to 75%, and trust rose from 56% to 75%. The percentage of community members feeling the district listens to them spiked from 45% to 75%, and among parents, the percentage increased from 63% to 88%. The percentage of parents feeling informed rose from 79% to 92%, and among internal stakeholders, it increased from 65% to 92%.

One more telling indicator, a tax neutral referendum was approved by 80% of voters.

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