Barry Gaskins Award

  • The Barry Gaskins Service Award
        for outstanding contributions to school public relations

    Vanessa Jeter The North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA) is proud to present its 2016-2017 Barry Gaskins Service Award to Vanessa Jeter of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. She is the Director of Communication and Information Services.

    Vanessa began her communications career as a newspaper reporter for The Cary News and as a public information officer for Wake Technical Community College.

    A graduate of Parkland High School in Winston-Salem and the University of North Carolina’s journalism school, Vanessa began her work with the Department of Public Instruction in 1988. She has held several roles in the Communications Division and was directly involved in guiding the communication transformation we have seen over the years. Think about it -- when Vanessa began in 1988, folding and mailing paper newsletters was the ‘modern’ way of sending a message. Now, the ‘modern’ way involves only a few digital clicks. Needless to say, she has seen and done it all.

    Vanessa has worked for six State Superintendents, including Craig Phillips, Bob Etheridge, Michael Ward, Patricia Willoughby, June Atkinson, and the current Superintendent Mark Johnson. It has been her belief for many years that strong public schools are good for students and good for North Carolina.

    Everyone in school public relations - from Murphy to Manteo - is familiar with Vanessa Jeter and has worked with her at some point over the years. We all know that communication is her business and her calling, and she is deserving of NCSPRA’s most prestigious award.

    Without a doubt, Barry would be extremely proud of our winner for 2016-2017 - Vanessa Jeter.

    ■ About the Award
    The Barry Gaskins Service Award is the highest honor bestowed on an individual by the North Carolina School Public Relations Association. The award is named in memory of Barry Gaskins, the first public information officer for Pitt County Schools in Greenville, who was known to so many people as “Mr. School Public Relations.”

    Barry was a trailblazer in our field, and he helped to put the North Carolina chapter on the map. Barry Gaskins is the reason why North Carolina is viewed as one of the top state chapters in the country.

    He served our state organization so well and even took his service, leadership, and vision to the national level, serving as president of the National School Public Relations Association from 2001 until 2002.

    Barry died unexpectedly in March 2003 at the age of 49. His passing was a shock to PR people across the country. While Barry is no longer with us, his legacy lives on through the Barry Gaskins Award.

    Click here for more information and a list of past winners.