Final Four Professional Development Series 2019

  • NCSPRA Final Four Professional Development Series

    Thank you for a great "Final Four" experience at Carowinds full of twists and turns, ups and downs!

    NCSPRA Final Four Professional Development Series

    Friday, March 1, 2019
    10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    Carowinds, 300 Carowinds Blvd., Charlotte

    “The Twists and Turns, the Ups and Downs of School PR”

    There’s no better place to delve into the twists and turns and the ups and downs of school public relations than at an amusement park.  That’s why NCSPRA is taking the 2019 edition of its popular “Final Four” professional development series to Carowinds in Charlotte.

    So which ride best describes your work as a PR professional?  Vortex? Fury 325? Intimidator? Carolina Cyclone? Afterburn?  We know – it really depends on if it’s a roller coaster kind of day.

    Our time together at Carowinds will offer four fast-paced sessions, a theme park-inspired lunch, and a behind-the-scenes look at “Copperhead Strike,” the park’s new attraction for 2019.


    9:30 a.m.                 
          Arrival begins

    10:00 – 10:15 a.m.          President’s welcome and overview

    10:15 – 11:00 a.m.           First Quarter

    TOPIC: Amusement park PR:  How is it like school PR?
    Presented by Lisa Stryker, Director of Communications, Carowinds

    When you think about an amusement park, plenty of fun and excitement comes to mind.  But, just like school PR, the amusement park business has its ups and downs. Lisa Stryker will share what it is like to manage communications and public relations for Carowinds and highlight marketing, media relations, customer satisfaction, crisis management, and other strategies used at the Carolinas’ premier place for thrills and chills.

    11:00 – 11:45 a.m.           Second Quarter

    TOPIC: Legislative update: What’s going on in Raleigh?
    Presented by Katherine Joyce, Executive Director
    N.C. Association of School Administrators

    Right now, state legislators are climbing the lift hill toward a “long session” in the General Assembly.  So what is coming down the track for public schools? Katherine Joyce from the N.C. Association of School Administrators will give insight on what to expect from lawmakers.  Could there be tight turns, steep slopes, and a few inversions when it comes to education policy? Katherine will tell us whether she believes it will be smooth sailing or bumpy ride.

    11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.       Lunch, Fellowship, and Networking

    When it’s a hot summer day and you need a little break from the rides and attractions, Harmony Hall is the place at Carowinds to refresh and recharge.  We will enjoy an amusement park-inspired lunch complete with hamburgers, fried chicken, salad, macaroni and cheese, cookies, and fountain drinks.

    12:30 – 1:15 p.m.                 Third Quarter

    TOPIC: College marketing and student recruitment: What can we learn from it?
    Presented by Paula Dibley, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College; Tarji Caldwell, Metropolitan College at Johnson C. Smith University; and Lisa Meckley, UNC-Charlotte

    The Cyclone or the Goldrusher: Which one is your first choice?  It’s a decision-making question like this that students ask when they are choosing a college.  For years, colleges and universities have focused on extensive marketing to recruit students. Now, public schools are having to market more to compete against charter, private, and home schools.  Our college representatives will discuss their recruiting and marketing strategies that could work well for public schools.

    1:15 – 2:00 p.m.                   Fourth Quarter

    TOPIC: Crisis communication: The Butler High School shooting
    Presented by Tracy Russ, Chief Communications Officer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
    Facilitated by Randi Davis, Internal Communications Specialist, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

    It’s hard to imagine what kind of roller coaster day is ahead when you find out there has been an early morning shooting on one of your school campuses. Tracy Russ from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will walk us through the tragic events of October 29 at Butler High School and talk about lessons learned and how the school and district began the recovery process.  He also will share about additional security measures in place now as a result of what happened at Butler.

    2:00 – 3:00 p.m.                   Overtime

    Behind-the-Scenes: Copperhead Strike (weather permitting)

    For the 2019 season, Carowinds is opening “Copperhead Strike,” an amazing, double-launch roller coaster.  Park representatives will tell us all about the new attraction and give us an up-close look at the biggest investment in the park’s history.  Here’s the link to take a virtual ride now:

    Carowinds is a 400-acre theme park so here is where you need to go once you arrive.  Be prepared for a walk. Once you park your car, go through the main gate and follow the walkway into the park.  When it splits, go to the left. We will be in Harmony Hall, a large restaurant/banquet facility that sits in the shadows of the towering red Intimidator roller coaster.

    If you did not register with your NCSPRA membership, we still have space for you and others from your district.  The cost for NCSPRA and SC/NSPRA members is $69.00 per person. The cost for non-members is $109.00. You should register by Friday, February 22 at 12:00 p.m.

    Click here for the registration form.

    Click here for our Final Four flyer.