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NSPRA 2023 Recap: The Destination was a Success

NSPRA 2023 brought together more than 1,500 school communicators, leaders, and partners in St. Louis for a memorable event focused on learning, networking, and professional growth. Through more than 100 learning sessions, attendees had the opportunity to enrich their school toolbox PR with new strategies, tactics, and resources to prepare for the upcoming school year.

rick kaufman holding president award 2023

CEL-ebrating Our Friends

The prestigious NSPRA Presidents Award, which recognizes exceptional contributions to educational public relations and the association, was presented to our friend Rick Kaufman, APR, executive director of community relations and emergency management for Bloomington Public Schools in Minnesota. Kaufman’s acceptance speech emphasized the joy of serving others and making a difference in people’s lives.

Rick Kaufman has an impressive career that includes more than 30 years of experience in school communications and significant contributions to emergency management and crisis communications. He is known for pioneering the first large-scale exercise for an active shooter in a school and playing a critical role in responding to the tragic events at Columbine High School.

Following that we CEL-ebrated with many more of our clients and friends with NSPRA Golden Achievement, and Publications and Digital Media awards ending the conference during the NSPRA President Installation and Gold Medallion Awards Ceremony Luncheon. This year’s included two 2023 Gold Medallion Awards presentations with our partners at Salina Unified School District (Kansas) and Osseo Area Schools (Minnesota). Both received the prestigious award for their work us on an enrollment marketing and bond/levy campaigns, respectively.

chelsea janke and jennifer camrien

Where You Saw Us

Excitement filled the air as attendees gathered for the kickoff at registration. Each participant was handed a lanyard adorned with the eye-catching CEL brand. The vibrant orange hue of the lanyards made them stand out among the sea of photographs being taken and creating a lively atmosphere.

The Career Center in the Marketplace provided valuable programs and services to guide attendees on their career paths and foster professional development. One notable panel discussion, “Consultant Services: When Is It Right for Your District?,” featured insights from Andrew Hagen, integrated communications coordinator with CEL. Panelists shared how their advice can help alleviate the pressure and support your efforts as school PR professionals, superintendents, and district leaders.

Attendees heard Chelsea Janke, vice president of integrated marketing at CEL, conduct two gold mine sessions. The first with co-presenter Jennifer Camrien about the award-winning Marketing Communication Campaign that positioned Salina Public Schools as the district of choice, emphasized whole child education, and fostered community pride and equity. The second focused on the five language referendum campaign for Osseo Area Schools.

andrew hagen at the NSPRA puppy paw-loosa


Amidst all the learning and celebrating, perhaps the most beloved feature was the inaugural Puppy Paw-Looza, where furry friends from Stray Rescue of St. Louis offered snuggles and smiles to participants. We have it on good authority that puppies will be present at #NSPRA2024 in Seattle!

MinnSPRA members

A Successful Destination, Now onto Seattle

NSPRA 2023 was a resounding success, leaving attendees inspired, equipped with new skills and ideas, and strengthened connections that will last a lifetime. The event celebrated excellence in educational public relations and provided a platform for professionals to grow and advance in their careers. A favorite is always meeting us with your local SPRA to celebrate the year and attend events together. This year’s MinnSPRA had a big turnout and we are hoping to see even more in Seattle next year.

Need to implement a new strategy or tactic you heard about but don’t know where to start? Give us a shout! We’d love to connect and we look forward to seeing you at #NSPRA2024 in Seattle!

Published on: August 2, 2023