Butler District 53 Superintendent Dr. Heidi Wennstrom was honored for her long-time support of education with a Distinguished Service Award of Excellence by the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association’s (INSPRA) at an award ceremony May 11.
“Dr. Wennstrom has a big heart and embodies a child-centric and positive culture in every interaction,” said the nomination. “She recognizes that positive partnerships and support from families is integral to education,” it added. The nomination focused on three areas of Wennstrom’s tenure: child-centered goals, values-driven communications and strong leadership.
The nomination also stated that during her tenure, she has created dual meetings between the Board and the PTO, established positive relationships and meetings with the education association and established an advisory and parent group. She has also spurred invitations for Board of Education members to spend the day in the shoes of an educator and teach a class. All of this has resulted in positive outcomes for students and an exemplary culture for learning. During Heidi’s leadership, the Board and its teachers’ union had successful contract negotiations and the 5Essentials survey results have earned more positive results. In fact, the measure of “involved families: building strong external relationships” continues to be among the highest of all school districts in the state.
Entries were judged against criteria of excellence, and only those receiving top scores in a variety of areas received awards. Thirty-three individuals and teams were recognized. NSPRA chapter members from Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin served as judges for the program. To see the list of award recipients, visit http://www.inspra.org/DistinguishedServiceAwards.aspx.
“The Distinguished Service Awards event is an opportunity to honor deserving education staff and supporters of local school districts,” said INSPRA President Becky Koltz, Communications Specialist for Community High School District 94. “This statewide program brings recognition to the award recipient and the nominating school district. It is a wonderful way to highlight the successes of public schools and to thank various stakeholders for acting as public relations ambassadors for education.”
The mission of INSPRA is to provide a source of connection, collaboration and professional development for school communicators in order to strengthen support for Illinois public schools, which leads to greater student success.