Wednesday, August 11, 2010

West Michigan Man Heads National School PR Group

Ron Koehler, APR, assistant superintendent for organizational and community initiatives at the Kent Intermediate School District, has been named president of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA).

Koehler officially took the reins last month at an NSPRA meeting. You can see his acceptance speech if you wish.

Among Koehler's goals will be to make communication skills a track in education leadership programs at colleges around the country. He also wants to instill the importance of public relations to the management of education at all levels. His article in the Fall 2009 issue of the Journal of School Public Relations presents a local case study to prove his point. "Kent Intermediate School District: From Invisible Agency to Power Player" walks through the steps the ISD took to improve public opinion of public education and understanding of the work of the ISD. The article is nicely organized along the popular RACE process--research, action planning, communication implementation, and evaluation. As he concludes in the article:

Embracing the fundamental components of public relations practice inspired behavioral change in the organization and its stakeholders. Today, Kent ISD enjoys the same two-way dialogue with the broader community that it developed in its close relationship with public schools. This dialogue has created a richer relationship between Kent ISD and other units of government, the business community, and the philanthropic community. It has truly moved Kent ISD from invisible agency to power player within the state and the region.

Koehler is a subject in an instructional DVD about public relations that I will be working on this fall. The point of the DVD is to show PR practitioners in a variety of settings, from agency to in-house, and including business, international, government, non-profit, education, health, sports, travel and other specific settings. His article will be a companion reading for students who see the DVD in class.

Congratulations to Koehler on his success at the ISD and his leadership of the NSPRA this coming year. The West Michigan PR community is fortunate to be represented on the national level by another of our outstanding local practitioners.

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