What Every School Leader Should Know About Public Relations with Dan Shortridge

What Every School Leader Should Know About Public Relations with Dan Shortridge

“Everywhere, all the time” is a misconception. Pick one or two channels and use them consistently. ~ Dan Shortridge 

What You Should Know About Dan

Dan Shortridge, author of DIY Public Relations, is a communications and marketing consultant and author with more than 20 years of experience in the trenches of local public relations and daily journalism. He’s led communications for a school district and state government agencies and has helped support small businesses and nonprofits. 

He holds a master’s of education in instructional design and a bachelor’s in business administration–marketing. Before moving into public service, he worked for 11 years as a reporter, editor, and designer at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio. 

A national award-winning reporter, he was part of a team that won a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service Journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists, and was an Ochberg Fellow with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. 

He’s also the co-author of three local-interest books about Delaware and Delmarva. He can be reached at danshortridge.com.

What You’ll Find in This Episode About Public Relations with Dan Shortridge 

Dan makes it clear that marketing is both a business function and a leadership function. It’s not a “nice-to-have thing” but rather a must-have. 

He talked about the many benefits of good marketing. He kicks us off with gems right from the start. 

Joe asked about how school leaders can get started, and Dan talks about your core story–what are the three top impressions that you want your audience to know about? 

Dan talks about the broad themes that leaders can think about as takeaways that they want for their audience and then the stories that go with those themes. 

Don’t miss what he says about knowing your audience and the wide variety of audiences that we have, including parents, students, community members, voters, politicians, union members, etc. He also reminds us that how we target each is vital since we can’t be everything to everybody.

Don’t get overwhelmed! Dan tells us that your communication plan only needs to start as a couple of pages. 

Want to know which platforms to use and which strategies help with public perception? Don’t miss the answer to this one. 

Dan’s Mantra is classic marketing: the most amount of people for the least amount of effort. 

What’s the plot and compelling narrative? Think about obstacles and challenges, characters, and resolutions.

Dan points us to Jesse Cole from the Savannah Bananas as someone to follow. Creative, unique, and different!

Don’t miss what he says about reading novels!

Dan wants to learn more about photography. Listen to what he says about the value of a photo and the gift his wife possesses.

Check out How I Built This, a podcast that Dan recommends. 

Dan used to think that a story needs a nice neat ending, but he realizes now that stories can be messy and unfinished. 

 

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

Disrupt the Status Quo: EmbraceYour Inner Rebel Educator for Greater Student Success with Tanya Sheckley

Disrupt the Status Quo: EmbraceYour Inner Rebel Educator for Greater Student Success with Tanya Sheckley

About Tanya Sheckley

Tanya Sheckley is the Founder and President of UP Academy, an elementary lab school that values innovation, empathy, and strength and incorporates a unique neuro-development program for children with physical disabilities. Tanya’s vision and mission show it’s possible to celebrate differences, challenge what’s broken in the American education system and that all children can receive a rigorous, well-rounded education. 

She is an edupreneur, author of Rebel Educator: Create Classrooms of Imagination and Impact, and host of the Rebel Educator podcast. She speaks frequently on the future of education and entrepreneurship. She is a rebel educator who works with new and existing schools to question the status quo and develop innovative student experiences through inclusion and project-based learning.

What You’ll Find in this Podcast Episode with Tanya Sheckley

From selling beer to educating children. Don’t miss Tanya’s journey to creating UP Academy. 

She opens up about her daughter’s education and her search for “other ways” of educating students with disabilities. 

We all have the one lesson that stands out in our own education, her diorama project sounds amazing!

Her journey in the creation of a school is inspiring. Tanya knew they had to forego many of the policies and procedures and focus on the family and child. A strictly student-centered experience. 

Tanya talks about shifts that schools need to make to revolutionize how we deliver education, especially to students with disabilities. 

A “rebel educator” pushes the status quo and asks questions like, why are we doing this? Who is getting the advantage, and is there a better way?

Don’t miss her juxtaposition of homework and creative play. 

Leading change is never easy and she tells us to start small with “activators.” And then others will become interested. 

 

Tanya looks to a women’s founders group on Facebook that has great questions for entrepreneurs. T.J. recalls the foundational stories that we curated for 7 Mindshifts for School Leaders

She recommends walking and running in the morning as a way to make sure that our minds don’t get sluggish. Move! 

Tanya wants to learn how to play the piano. So many of our guests care about the arts. 

Looking for a coach? She jokes that TheSchoolHouse302 is a great place to go! We appreciate that and you’ll want to hear what she says about coaching and how to find one. 

Listen to her change of heart about children, especially working with them. 

 

Books We Recommend Based on this Podcast with Tanya Sheckley 

Rebel Educator: Create Classrooms Where Impact and Imagination Meet by Tanya Sheckley

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

302 Thoughts with Joe and T.J.: 5 Stress Free Ways that Leaders Can Use to Effectively Tell their School’s Story

302 Thoughts with Joe and T.J.: 5 Stress Free Ways that Leaders Can Use to Effectively Tell their School’s Story

In this episode of 302 Thoughts, Joe and T.J. riff on how school leaders take control of their school’s story. Schools are unique and complex hubs of the community, doing incredible things each and every day that must be shared. 

The harsh reality is that many people believe that schools are failing our students. There is no doubt that schools and school systems can improve, but great things are happening and need to be showcased. 

T.J. begins by explaining the very nature of our schools and how resources and support are paramount for success. We don’t overlook this because marketing is secondary to the critical work in schools that must be done upfront. However, once that work is moving forward, we have to showcase the school, the students, and the staff. 

People already have an impression of schools so the narrative school leaders portray must be true, accurate, and also unique. If someone graduated from high school then they’ve taken biology. However, many of today’s biology classes are working with instrumentation and conducting labs that are fascinating in ways that past generations didn’t experience–showcase it! Shock people with knowledge and with a window into the great learning that is going on every day. 

Be sure to feature who you are, not just what you are. This was one of the key takeaways from TheSchoolHouse302 OneThingSeries Podcast with Amanda Holdsworth. Schools are small cities with a tremendous number of cool things going on and great people who do awesome work. Share it! Involve the students, don’t be afraid to use Tik Tok, and most importantly, have fun. 

Joe’s one thing is to keep the branding efforts raw and organic. Schools aren’t marketing firms and nor should they act like one. That said, the digital age we live in allows for authentic and everyday marketing efforts. Easy to do, use it often, and use it well. 

T.J.’s one thing is to ship the work! Get it out there. Don’t hesitate. Take inventory of the great things going on, including the uniqueness of the school, and blast it out for the world to see. 

 

Let our team know if there’s a topic that you want Joe and T.J. to cover by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com

Was this forwarded to you? Subscribe on the site

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

Amanda Holdsworth: Telling Your School’s Story #OneThingSeries

Amanda Holdsworth: Telling Your School’s Story #OneThingSeries

Stop trying to be everything to everyone. Know your area of expertise and stick to it. ~ Dr. Holdsworth 

About Amanda Holdsworth

Dr. Amanda Holdsworth, APR, is the founder of Holdsworth Communications, a PR and enrollment marketing agency in the education sector; the School Comms Lab, a membership community for school communicators; and Comms Mom, a global community for moms working in communications.

A former collegiate tennis and soccer player, Amanda earned a B.S.B.A. in Communications Management and Honors International Studies from Robert Morris University, and both a Master of Arts in Strategic Public Relations and a Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California.

Amanda’s work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., and Parents Magazine, but her pride and joy is her family: her husband, Doug, a successful entrepreneur, and two daughters, Avery and Shelby.

What You’ll Find in this Podcast Episode with Amanda Holdsworth

Amanda has done PR work in higher education, private schools, and public schools. Her insight into marketing and branding your school is invaluable. Learn how “to cut through the noise.”

It’s all about telling the story of the people who work in the organization. Create connections by telling their story to the community. Don’t miss the Curt Schilling example. 

Too many PR agencies, schools, and districts still think that public relations are about sending out press releases…not true. 

She gives sage advice regarding how stories should tie the school to the community so that it matters to the interests of the local people. 

T.J. gravitated toward the concept of an “ideal customer avatar” and how the ICA drives the narrative. The people, the vision and mission, and the impact the school is making are all ICA drivers.

To develop your ideal customer avatar, we need to enumerate our audiences. Schools and districts have multiple audiences, all with different interests. 

  1. Who are we communicating to? 
  2. What are their interests? 
  3. Who can help us get the word out? 

Schools can’t have a one-sided relationship with local journalists. You’ll want to hear what Amanda says about supporting relationships with the press so that they know how to help when the time comes. 

Amanda talks about the trend in the ability to get a hold of the national press versus local organizations. 

Amanda tells us about a two-prong approach that she learned at USC–have a strategic PR plan and “brand ambassadors.”

Amanda connected us to Jeremy Tiers to study how higher education is attracting students. Check out @coachtiers.  

She talks about practicing gratitude as something that all leaders can do daily. Use this sentence stem: “I’m so lucky to be in a position to…”

She acknowledges that she has never seen this degree of negative reporting about schools, making gratitude even more important. 

Listen to why she wants to play the bass guitar.

Amanda has learned to stay in her lane. Schools and districts can learn to focus on what they do best and how we can communicate that. 

Don’t miss what she says about being afraid to be an entrepreneur and what she realized when she went out on her own. 

Amanda ends by saying that we should tell the stories of our teachers and staff. Who is the school nurse? What can we share about the bus driver? It’s a people business. Let’s tell their stories. 

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

Read This: School Leaders, Build Your School Brand with these Two Powerful Books

Read This: School Leaders, Build Your School Brand with these Two Powerful Books

School leaders who want to build a strong school brand recognize the importance of learning specific skills to do so effectively. This month Joe and T.J. offer two books that reinforce the 5 ways that school leaders can think like a marketer and tell your school’s story.

  • Culture is King–Marketing is about who you are, not what you are 

  • Great Brands Make a Difference–Marketing is about innovation and leadership 

  • First Follows Matter–Marketing is about knowing “the others”

  • Stand Out Amongst the Crowd–Marketing is about being unique 

  • Show Up Regularly–Marketing is about being consistent

Joe’s Pick: The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference

Featured Authors: Linda Kaplan Thaler & Robin Koval

Joe is a huge fan of Thaler and Koval’s work. The Power of Small is born from the genius that has birthed some of the greatest marketing advertising campaigns that we are familiar with. The simple mention of Aflac and our mind immediately goes to the duck. Enough said, they’ve done their jobs. 

What’s special about this book, though, is that it IS NOT a how-to book, but rather a book filled with stories that showcase the right mindset in order to be successful. We can’t ignore the details, the small things, and the discreet chances of success. 

T.J.’s Pick: This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See

Featured Authors: Seth Godin

T.J. may be Seth Godin’s biggest fan, and This is Marketing is definitely one of his favorite books. The power in Godin’s work is how he frames marketing. He explains that it’s not just about selling “soap.” Instead, marketing is really about solving a problem. Godin talks about how a leader is someone who is willing to do something that might not work and how that changes the culture forever. 

Most importantly, Godin breaks down marketing into five crystal clear steps that you won’t want to miss. He skillfully acknowledges the traps that we all fall into without being offensive or condescending to his readers. He doesn’t just highlight our mistakes but encourages us and provides a great path forward. “Ship the work!” “Ship it!”

Technical Tip for Leaders Who Read

Each month, Joe and T.J. leave listeners with a tip. Both of these books should be read patiently and studied all the while. Joe mentions the art of Sacred Reading and how monks studied the bible to truly understand what they were experiencing. Although these aren’t holy texts, the idea is to fully embrace what you are reading so that you are a different person when you are done. 

Enjoy both of these books to lead better and grow faster as school leaders. We always appreciate a like, a follow, a comment, or a share. 

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

Jonathan Alsheimer: Don’t Leave Supporting Your Teachers to Chance #OneThingSeries

Jonathan Alsheimer: Don’t Leave Supporting Your Teachers to Chance #OneThingSeries

Why can’t school be more like Disney World? ~ Jonathan Alsheimer 

About Jonathan Alsheimer

Jonathan Alsheimer is an unorthodox, energetic, and entertaining middle school teacher who refuses to live a life of limitations. Jonathan is often referred to as “my favorite teacher” by his students, and he’s the author of NEXT LEVEL TEACHING.

As a passionate educator and National Keynote Speaker, Jonathan Alsheimer presents limitless possibilities for teachers and the impact of an infectious classroom and school culture. NEXT LEVEL TEACHING is about every teacher bringing their unique flair to better their school every single day, always reaching for the NEXT LEVEL.

Jonathan taught at the world-renowned Fred Lynn Middle School, which was featured in two documentaries “Relentless” and “Relentless: Chasing Accreditation.” He has been featured as the teacher who forged a partnership with UFC Fighter and light-weight contender Paul Felder to bring the message that students should never give up, fighting for their education, and empowering them to believe in themselves, all principles that Jonathan promotes in his classroom.

As Jonathan always says, “Game-changing is not a cliche motto; it is a way of life…some talk about it while others live by it!”

What You’ll Find in this Podcast Episode with Jonathan Alsheimer

Jonathan starts out of the gate on fire! His energy is almost a superpower.

Listen to him dispel the misunderstanding about what it means to be a “next level teacher.” It’s not about perfection. 

Jonathan opened up about the stress that teachers feel and what school leaders can do about it. These are things leaders can do right away. 

When asked about protecting teachers from minutiae, Alsheimer talked about meaningless meetings that “kill the heart of the staff.” 

Don’t miss what Jonathan says about teachers’ time and what it takes to plan an awesome lesson. 

Jonathan talks about working together so we don’t all have to work harder. Let’s pool our resources and share more. Think about what this would mean for new teachers!

Jonathan gives administrators advice:

  1. Develop “lesson plans” for staff meetings.
  2. Reflect on the agenda items–are they critical?
  3. Does the meeting focus on learning, teacher development, and relationships?

Jonathan throws out a number of ideas to gamify the classroom and make it more fun for students. How can you use this in your classroom? 

Alsheimer mentions Dave Burgess (@burgessdave), Jimmy Casas (@casas_jimmy), Hamish Brewer (@brewerhm). Bottom line, go on Twitter. 

Teachers and leaders should see us smiling and having fun. If we want kids to be motivated to learn, we have to be motivated to teach and lead. 

You have to hear what Jonathan says about turning a worksheet into an activity. He literally cut it up and put it into paper bags to make it more fun and exciting for kids. 

Oh, Boy! Wait till you hear what he says about diving with sharks and our response as Delaware beach-goers. 

Jonathan talks about being tough on himself in a competitive way to get 1% better each day. He reflects on his “why” often, and that reflection makes a difference in his growth and perseverance.  

He thinks about what kids deserve, including his own, and that fuels his drive each day. 

He used to think that test grades matter; now he believes that growth is the bigger deal. 

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

Claim Your FREE Copy to Our Praise Practice- Practical Praise Giving Tips for Principals

Claim Your FREE Copy to Our Praise Practice- Practical Praise Giving Tips for Principals

Learn how you can give practical praise each day as you lead your school to develop a better and more positive culture through this complimentary eBook we use in our workshops to help principals all over the nation and subscribe for more resources like this one delivered to your inbox. 

Congratulations on claiming your copy - you may download it here: https://theschoolhouse302.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Technical-Tip-Praise-Practice-A-Model-for-Specific-Praise.pdf