Special to the Mountain Advocate
As the Public Relations Director for Knox County Public Schools, Frank Shelton is used to writing the stories, not being the subject of them. Shelton was honored by his colleagues and industry professionals on Thursday, Nov. 5. The honor came during the Kentucky School Public Relations Association’s fall conference in Bardstown. Over 100 were in attendance for the awards portion of the conference, which celebrates achievements while focusing on growth and professional development for the year ahead.
Four key communication tools utilized last year earned proficient or distinguished rankings from a panel of industry experts serving as judges of entries submitted by school public relations officials across the state. Plaques for Outstanding Achievement in School Information Services (OASIS awards) were presented by Brad Hughes, Director of Member Support, for the Kentucky School Boards Association.
Knox earned Distinguished marks for its education tabloid insert, found monthly in the Mountain Advocate;
Distinguished for its Pursuit of Perfect Attendance campaign held last March and April, and distinguished for its Building the Future – Nickel Tax and new Career and Technology Center campaign that was implemented last fall.
Knox also received proficient recognition for its partnership with Mountain Advocate Media to provide video coverage of Election 2014 live on-line and on television.
Knox tied for the best overall in the newspaper tabloid category and best for the nickel tax campaign in the community engagement category.
Because of the number of High Distinguished rankings, combined with high individual scores for each item judged, Knox earned the Kentucky School Board Association’s and Kentucky School Public Relations Association’s top honor for overall excellence in school communications in its enrollment classification. This award is given to four school districts, divided into classes by student enrollment. Knox shared the award with PR teams from Bowling Green, Oldham County and Jefferson County.
“Communications is ever changing,” said Shelton, “and we are in the process of evaluating and re-launching some of our communication tools in Knox County. We believe that parents and guardians should be informed of all aspects of their child’s education, and this is a big focus of ours as the district goes into strategic plan and systems development work.”
Not one for slowing down, Shelton is already working on new programs for the 2015-2016 school year. His communications team is redesigning the district website with school websites to follow in the upcoming weeks. Just launched is a new Knox Central High School website, www.kchspanthers.com, which Shelton is working directly with high school students on maintaining on a daily basis.
He is also heading up improvements to the school district’s internal systems and procedures for communications management, including tools, such as a dedicated text number for news submissions that will streamline and open up channels of communication within the district.
Shelton joined the Knox County Schools Public Relations Department in 2000 and has since pioneered several communications initiatives in the district. While serving solo in the role of district Public Relations, Shelton also performs additional duties and responsibilities for the board. He also continues to invest in students and communications by working with students from Knox Central and Lynn Camp to provide event coverage throughout the district. Students, under Shelton’s leadership, are members of the Kentucky High School Journalism Association.
“It is rewarding to see the progress that students make through the school year and how they grow both in journalism and as young adults,” said Shelton. “It means a lot to me to have them on my team and going out to schools and spotlighting their peers. More important to me as an educator than any award or recognition is to now have students who are professionals in the fields of theatre, production and photography.”