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Sharing the Best of School PR Podcasts

The school communications profession is filled with creative, hardworking and generous public relations pros — with the podcasts to prove it. Whether the hosts have been recording episodes for a few years, or just a few months, these podcast picks are helping each other learn, grow and provide the very best service to their districts and communities. 

Join us all summer as we share a look inside the must-listen podcasts of the school PR community. As we add to our list every week or two, we encourage you to download, listen and share with others. 

Podcast Picks

School PR Podcast with Ryan Foran

Host: Ryan Foran, Chief Communications Officer, Arcadia (CA) Unified School District

Podcasting since: 2017

Ryan’s Favorite Episode: 42. Part 2 Coronavirus Communications for Schools

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“I’m proud of the four-part Coronavirus Communications for School Series we did,” Ryan says. “Being this was one of the biggest and most important crises schools have ever faced, and the sensitivity of the polarizing topic, I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk about it while we were still in the midst of it. I’m glad I did however. 

This series featured some of my most downloaded episodes ever, and people really appreciated the help and insights during a very difficult time. I received very kind feedback, and people were appreciative that they had a resource with tangible ideas and concepts that they could immediately use to help their school communities. These strategies will also stand the test of time and help for other crises and sensitive communication issues.”

Another Must-Listen From Ryan: 43. Superintendent Dr. Joe Sanfelippo Go Crickets

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“This was a great interview with a Superintendent who is excelling in public relations and communications, and he provides a lot of great ideas that superintendents and principals can utilize, not just school PR practitioners.”

Podcast Picks Sharing the Best of School PR

Communicating Education

Host: Krystyna Baumgartner, APR, VP, Long Island School PR Association and PR Specialist, Bay Shore Union Free School District (NY)

Podcasting since: 2020

Krystyna’s Favorite Episode: 5. Interview with Dr. Catherine Knight

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“My favorite is the episode I recorded with Dr. Catherine Knight, the public relations professional for a district on Long Island who earned her doctorate in education with a dissertation on the importance of school communications professionals. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about her research and the ways she was able to quantify the impact of the profession. 

Off air, it also led to a very long and interesting conversation about some other projects we were both working on. It was a great opportunity to connect with a colleague I hadn’t had a lot of opportunities to talk to.”

Another Must-Listen From Krystyna: 4. A Look Back at One Year of COVID

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“My second favorite episode was the COVID recap episode I recorded with three school PR professionals from New York, Monica Lester, Angela Marshall and Chip Parker. These are three people I had spoken with extensively (and probably daily) during lockdown, reopening and beyond. It was really wonderful to be able to sit down with them and reflect on what we had learned and some of our thoughts on the pandemic.”

Podcast Picks sharing the best of school pr

Mastering Social Media for Schools

Host: Andrea Gribble, CEO & Founder of #SocialSchool4EDU

Podcasting since: 2020

Andrea’s Favorite Episode: 53. It’s Time to Hire a Communications Student Intern

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“I have a lot of favorites after 60+ episodes — but my top favorite was an interview with LeAnne Bugay, a student intern with the Bellevue Public Schools in Nebraska. It stands out because I know how hard school communicators work and this interview introduces an amazing idea — paid student interns! LeAnne did amazing work for the district and gained real world experience that landed her additional roles once she got to college. Every school across America has talented students like LeAnne, and I think they could benefit tremendously from implementing a similar program!”

Another Must-Listen from Andrea: Rising for Change: Equity and Racism in Schools

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“Back in June of 2020, right after the murder of George Floyd, I asked Marlon Styles to come on the show to talk about equity and racism in schools. Marlon is one of the most inspirational Black superintendents in the nation as he is proudly speaking out, calling for action, and pursuing change!”

Podcast picks with NCSPRA Media Team

#SchoolPR Drive Time

Host: Stacia Harris, Kevin Smith and the NCSPRA Media Team

Podcasting since: 2020

Stacia and Kevin’s Favorite Episode: 14. Interview with Sarah O’Donnell, Stevens Point (WI) School District

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“The NCSPRA Media Team has enjoyed producing and recording all of our podcasts, so it’s hard to pick a favorite. Our podcast brings together high-performing School PR Pros from here in North Carolina and from all corners of the county. Our guests are leading the way in their industry and provide valuable insight on handling the challenges that school PR professionals face each day.

Our most ‘listened to’ episode features Sarah O’Donnell, director of communications for the Stevens Point Area Public School District in Wisconsin, and Dr. Greg Shull, director of communications for Cleveland County (NC) Schools. Sarah shared a very helpful tool that she used on a successful enrollment campaign for one of her schools, and Greg focused on using a communications scorecard to create excitement and accountability for school communications programs. The conversation between Sarah and Greg is a great example of melding two different sets of marketing tools into one great conversation. If we were at a national seminar, we know this session would be packed.”

Podcast picks with Erin McCann

School PR Happy Hour

Host: Erin McCann and Justin Dearing

Podcasting since: 2019

Erin’s Favorite Episode: Season 1, Episode 6, Vulnerability with Adam Harris 

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“Adam’s episode really complements the Brené Brown movement towards embracing your personal vulnerability — and then how that translates into effective storytelling,” Erin said. 

“As the host of that episode, Adam pushed me to have a somewhat uncomfortable conversation to reach deeper into my own skill set. We actually stopped recording multiple times so that I could share personal tidbits that I didn’t feel confident sharing on the mic. When we finished, it felt like walking away from a quality therapy session.”

Justin’s Must-Listen Episode: Season 2, Episode 3

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“I love the ‘Love Letter’ episode,” Justin said, “because it told the entire story of her video project from conception to execution. It was a piece that was supposed to motivate a school district, but it turned into a viral motivational piece for public education across the country. KBE’s story in that episode just made the process relatable to everyone in the audience.”

Podcast picks with Shane Haggerty

Breaker Society

Host: Shane Haggerty, APR, Owner/Consultant, Haggerty Special Projects

Podcasting since: 2018

Shane’s Favorite Episode: 28, Six Months Later

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“I enjoyed recording so many of my 28 episodes, but I think my favorite is the final one I recorded as a follow-up to a previous episode with Dr. Talisa Dixon. She had just completed her first six months as superintendent of Columbus City Schools, Ohio’s largest school district. 

I did a first episode with her as she was getting ready to leave her much smaller district to come to Columbus. I immediately liked her then, found her to be so authentic, approachable and loved her vision. The fact she made time in her schedule to do a follow-up when her job in Columbus is so challenging and her time so in-demand reinforced that view I had of her. 

She is so real in this episode — open and honest and vulnerable. Even her communications person told me afterwards he had never heard her talk about some of the things she did. I look back and realize that I had grown as an interviewer by doing the podcast, and I learned so much from talking with her, as I did with all of the guests I had the opportunity to interview.”

Another Must-Listen From Shane: 25. Hello Schools, It’s Me Marketing

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“A second favorite one is “Hello Schools, It’s Me Marketing”. This is selfish, I suppose. I consider myself a marketer as much as I am a communicator, so I specifically created this episode to inform people about the world of marketing in public education. Many times it is treated as unnecessary or like a “sales” role, but that is just not the case. I think we need more of it in public education. I also see more public schools adding this practice to their mix recently. Marketing is important, and it is a specialty. I was thrilled to have Jason Wheeler, Cara Adney and Lori Perlow join me to discuss their favorite roles, how they employ marketing in their districts and how they advocate for its importance.”

Published on: August 31, 2021