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NCSPRA honors 38 school districts for outstanding school communications


The North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA) awarded its highest honors during the annual Blue Ribbon Awards ceremony on February 10, 2023 at the Blue Heron Event Venue in High Point. NCSPRA presented Blue Ribbon Awards to 38 school districts for their outstanding communication and public relations during 2022. NCSPRA also presented eight Best of the Best awards to the districts that displayed the most outstanding work in each category and awarded the organization’s highest individual honor, the Barry Gaskins Service Award.

The Blue Ribbon Awards are the highest honor presented by NCSPRA to school districts. The awards are given for outstanding communication in eight categories:

  •       Marketing
  •       Digital Media Engagement
  •       Electronic Media
  •       Excellence in Writing
  •       Publications
  •       Image/Graphic Design
  •       Photography
  •       Special Events/Programs

Individual entries earn either a Gold, Silver, or Bronze level award. Altogether, NCSPRA presented 296 Blue Ribbon Awards to the winning districts. To see the full list of winners, please click here. NCSPRA also honored the top entry in each category with the Best of the Best Award. The eight Best of the Best winners received special recognition for having the most outstanding entry in each category.




Ken Derksen, NCSPRA President and Executive Director for Community Engagement & Student and Family Support for Wayne County Public Schools, said the work of the award winners exemplifies the high standards that members demonstrate in their daily school communications programs.

“I congratulate all of our Blue Ribbon Award recipients for achieving this statewide recognition for their school districts,” added Derksen. “These awards highlight the superior work being accomplished in the area of school communications and all that our members are doing to support and promote public schools across North Carolina.”

The Georgia School Public Relations Association judged NCSPRA’s 2022 Blue Ribbon entries. The judges praised the work of North Carolina’s school communicators as “a model of excellent communication” and “an exceptional showcase of the incredible work that students and districts are doing.”  

In addition to the Blue Ribbon Awards and Best of the Best Awards, NCSPRA presented its highest individual honor: the Barry Gaskins Outstanding Service Award. The award is named in memory of Barry Gaskins who was a leader in school public relations and the first person from North Carolina to become President of the National School Public Relations Association. The award is given to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service and leadership in the field of school public relations in North Carolina. 

The 2022-2023 Barry Gaskins Outstanding Service Award was presented to Jessica Swencki for her service to school public relations in North Carolina and her exceptional leadership throughout the pandemic. During 2020 and into 2021, Swencki led the COVID communications efforts for all of North Carolina’s K-12 public schools. She built and executed an effective crisis communications plan that helped sustain North Carolina’s 115 school districts throughout the pandemic. Her efforts earned her the respect and admiration of educators across the state and made her the very deserving recipient of NCSPRA’s highest individual honor for excellence in school communication.

NCSPRA is a statewide professional organization serving more than 175 members. Its mission is to build support for public education through well-planned and responsible public relations. For more information, please visit the NCSPRA Facebook page or