Below you will find information for WSPRA's next upcoming event. For all of our events, we have a reciprocal agreement in place with the MinnSPRA and INSPRA that allows their members to register for WSPRA events at member rates!

Have a question about one or more of our events? Contact WSPRA at 608-729-6659. 

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April 8-9, 2021 | Virtual Convention 

Member: $189
Non-Member: $299

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While we are disappointed that COVID-19 is preventing us from gathering in-person this year we are excited about taking advantage of the opportunity to learn and engage virtually.  

If you need help registering please email WSPRA at [email protected] or call WSPRA at 608-729-6659.  
**Please Note**  | Concurrent Sessions will be recorded and available for viewing approx. 30 days after the event.
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Thursday, April 8, 2021

7:30 - 7:55  Breakfast Zoom + Welcome

8:00 - 9:15  
General Session: Keys to Amplifying Your System's Story

Lesley Bruinton, APR, 2020-21 NSPRA President

In an age of increased scrutiny of public schools, educational professionals must do more to build its case. Each school and school system has a story, but who’s telling yours? Through the use of creative storytelling, this session offers five keys to amplifying your system’s story. It’s work that builds relationships, gets results, and earns recognition.

Lesley Bruiton headshot Lesley Bruinton inspires others through her leadership in school communications. She is an Accredited in Public Relations practitioner with nearly 20 years of professional experience. The former television journalist now serves as the public relations director for the Tuscaloosa City (Ala.) Schools—an urban district with more than 10,000 students.
Lesley is the sitting president of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) and a two-time past president of the Alabama School Public Relations Association. She is a 2020 AASA Women in School Leadership Award winner and a three-time NSPRA Gold Medallion winner.
A hallmark of her work is the understanding that the strategic use of communication and creativity can assist in solving organizational challenges.

9:15 - 9:30  Break/Pre-Session Networking

9:30 - 10:15  Concurrent Sessions - LIVE (Round 1)

  • Gone Phishing: Don’t Get Caught Without A Cybersecurity PlanTracy Habisch-Ahlin, Director of Community Relations and Jennifer Lotze, Director of Instructional Technology at Hudson School District
    Phishing is one of the most prevalent malware vectors faced by school districts daily. The State of WI cyber statistics show 246 million malicious emails filtered in 2020. Let us help you get started on building your cybersecurity preparedness plan and provide practical tips to help you develop your school district’s cybersecurity competency and avoid biting the bait.

  • “You Complete Me!” The Value of the Superintendent and School PR Pro RelationshipDr.Lori Mueller, Superintendent and Holly Henderson, Marketing and Communications Specialist at School District of Baraboo
    The individual roles of the superintendent and communications specialist in schools can be very isolating and lonely. Yet, these individuals need to lean on each other for personal professional growth and to fulfill the demands and goals of school districts.  This session will highlight the value of the superintendent and communications specialist relationship in telling your district’s story, supporting strategic school improvement, engaging stakeholders and facing crises. Participants will leave this session laughing and crying as we delve into the symbiotic relationship that accentuates the essential work of the school communications specialist with the superintendent, ensures the celebration of successes while standing up to challenges together and guarantees success for your students, families, and community.

10:15 - 10:30  Break/Pre-Session Networking

10:30 - 11:15  Concurrent Sessions - LIVE (Round 2)

  • How to Connect When You Don’t Feel Connected - Kit Dailey, Engagement Specialist at Eppstein Uhen Architects; Joelle Doye, Communications Director at Mineral Point Unified School District & Kevin Hickman, Senior Client Executive at Nexus Solutions
    Relationship building is at the center of our work as school communicators, but it can also be overwhelming, especially during a pandemic. From building relationships with the various stakeholder groups we serve, to forming connections with colleagues, it’s a lot on our plate, but it can also be very rewarding. Join this session to learn actionable takeaways and leave with a renewed sense of connection! 

  • Leveraging Curiosity, Contractors, and Kids to Create Videos Series - Dr. Melissa Thompson, Superintendent, Kim Sanchez, Library Media Technology Aide & Students at Swallow School District, and Ben Falls, Construction Manager at CG Schmidt
    During this session attendees will hear how the Swallow School District combined the need to keep the public informed of the referendum construction project process with the natural curiosity of students and staff to create an engaging video series with students planning the episodes, interviewing contractors, obtaining live construction footage, and completing all editing and post-production.  In turn, these videos not only served as a tool to help stakeholders stay abreast of the construction process and projects, but also paved the way for vendor and contractor visits about careers and pathways from marketing to masonry, engineering to architecture and more!  Student videographers will join district staff to talk about the process, lessons learned, and how your district could do this too!

11:15 - 11:30  Break 

11:30 - 12:00  Spectrum Awards - Premiere of the Award Recipients

Friday, April 9, 2021

9:05 - 10:20  General Session: Changing the Narrative

Dr. Joe Sanfelippo, Superintendent, Fall Creek School District

When is the last time something amazing happened in your school? How many people knew about it? The work done in schools all across the globe is spectacular.  Kids gather…learn…leave…and make the world we live in a better place. So…amazing things happen all the time. School perception is often based on the narrative of those who attended years ago. Telling the real story of schools helps create a narrative that builds culture and gives everyone in your community an identity. Utilizing social media and empowering those around you to be the storytellers of your district is a great way to celebrate the success of students with parents and the community. FIND YOUR AUDIENCE...BUILD YOUR BRAND...CELEBRATE KIDS!! 

Joe Sanfelippo Headshot

Dr. Joe Sanfelippo is the Superintendent of the Fall Creek School District in Fall Creek, WI. The Fall Creek School District was named an Innovative District in 2016 and 2017 by the International Center for Leadership in Education. Joe holds a BA in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from St. Norbert College, a MS in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a MS in Educational Leadership, and a PhD in Leadership, Learning, and Service from Cardinal Stritch University. Joe is also an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership Department at Viterbo University. Joe has taught Kindergarten, 2nd Grade, and 5th Grade. He was also a school counselor and high school coach prior to taking on an elementary principal position in 2005. He has served as a principal in suburban and rural Wisconsin.  

Joe started the #1minwalk2work Leadership Challenge, and co-authored The Power of Branding-Telling Your School's StoryPrincipal Professional Development: Leading Learning in a Digital Age and Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students and Parents Love. He was selected as 1 of 117 Future Ready Superintendents in 2014 and 1 of 50 Superintendents as a Personalized Learning Leader in 2016 by the US Department of Education. He attended summits at the White House for both distinctions. Education Dive named Joe 1 of 5 K-12 administrators to watch in 2018 and their National Superintendent of the Year in 2019. He has been a featured speaker in multiple states in the areas of Advancing the Use of Social Media for School Leaders, Telling Your School Story, Creating a Culture of Yes, and Personalized Professional Growth for Staff.  

10:20 - 10:30  Break/Pre-Session Networking

10:30 - 11:15  Concurrent Sessions - LIVE (Round 3)

  •  Be a Social Media Superhero - Dr. Joe Sanfelippo, Superintendent at Fall Creek
    Every school needs a Social Media Superhero.  The use of social media meets families, community members, and decision makers in a place where they live daily.  Find out how to maximize your school’s social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more) in order to lead, inspire and inform all stakeholders.  Social media is a new literacy and our schools’ leaders have to model that literacy appropriately.

  • Reservation for One: How to Get a Seat at the Leadership Table - Emily DeBaker, Director of Communications at Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District & Sarah O’Donnell, Director of Communications at Stevens Point Area School District
    As school PR professionals, we need to be the jack of all trades. School finance? Referendum? Crisis communication? Yep, we got it covered. But, to truly be able to understand the inner workings of your district and in turn be able to control the narrative and guide decision-makers, you have to have a seat at the leadership table. COVID-19 has shed a whole new light on the importance of school communicators and it’s time to take advantage of that and show our school communities what we’ve known all along; we’re worth it! During this session, we’ll give you tips and best practices for reserving your seat at the table and share our personal and professional journeys that led us to you!

11:15 - 11:30  Break / Transition

11:30 - 12:30 Regional Lunch Break
  • Join your regional colleagues for a virtual lunch break. This is your time to check-in with each other, lend and get support as you head into spring and summer activities.


Interested in becoming a speaker or a sponsor? Contact WSPRA at [email protected]


Photos of WSPRA event