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Nominations Now Open for NJSPRA 2023 Communicator of the Year
Deadline: April 14th, 2023


The New Jersey School Public Relations Association’s Communicator of the Year (COTY) award recognizes school communications professionals who have demonstrated exemplary practice, leadership and commitment to enhance communication and relationship-building between public schools and the stakeholders they serve. The award honors those who recognize that communication is a critical component of leadership. Nominees must be current members of NJSPRA in good standing. Prior COTY award recipients and the current NJSPRA President are not eligible.


Nominations for the COTY award 2023 are due on April 14, 2023. See details below. The award winner will be announced at the Annual Meeting scheduled for National School Communicators Day at a luncheon on May 12, 2023 at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township.

CRITERIA (Revised from 2022)

The nominee:

  • Implements an effective communications program that demonstrates a strategic approach based on research with evaluative measures to inform effectiveness.
  • Deploys the use of effective public relations strategies aimed at supporting public education and the students and families served, including accommodations for diverse audiences.
  • Serves as an advocate for public education and has earned a reputation as being highly credible.
  • Demonstrates ethics and professionalism in communication.
  • Serves as a role model for school communications professionals and other stakeholders based on leadership, exceptional public relations practice and communication skills.


Nominations for the Communicator of the Year Award may be made by anyone. An individual may submit more than one nomination; however each nomination must include its own, individual set of nomination materials and nomination form. Prior COTY award recipients and the current NJSPRA President are not eligible.

To nominate someone:

  • Submit application using the digital Official Nomination Form.
  • Follow the instructions for uploading supporting documents including:
    • Nomination Narrative, no longer than 800 words, outlining how the person or organization has met the award’s criteria.
    • Up to 10 pages of supporting documentation including, but not limited to, evidence demonstrating the nominee’s effectiveness in meeting the award criteria, samples of the nominee’s communications work, data/measures of effectiveness and/or letters of support.
  • Deadline: Friday, April 14th, 2023
  • There is no fee to nominate for the NJSPRA Communicator of the Year.

For questions, contact Sandy Cokeley, APR, NJSPRA Operations Consultant, at


The New Jersey School Public Relations Association announces Barbara Wilson, public information officer for the Cherry Hill Public Schools, as their 2022 Communicator of the Year. This annual award recognizes exemplary leadership and commitment to enhanced communication and relationship-building between public schools and the stakeholders they serve. NJSPRA President Lori Perlow, and Maren Smagala, NJSPRA’s 2021 Communicator of the Year, presented Ms. Wilson with the award during the organization’s Annual Meeting on May 25th.

“Barbara exemplifies the best of the best in school communications” notes Perlow.  “She consistently delivers relevant and timely messaging to her district’s audiences based on solid research and aligned to Cherry Hill’s brand.” In his nomination letter, Cherry Hill Public Schools Superintendent of Schools Joseph Meloche confirmed, “Barbara graciously and professionally embraces each day as it unfolds, prepared to amplify the stories of our schools, through the brand of our district. She is structured and calculated in her planning, going from the macro level to the micro level. Events, activities and messaging are planned out for the year and are consistently reviewed and augmented as situations warrant a different level of attention.” 

Barbara Wilson, public information officer at the Cherry Hill Public Schools, was nominated for the NJSPRA 2022 Communicator of the Year by Dr. Joseph Meloche, Cherry Hill Superintendent.

Learn more about Barbara here.


2021: Maren Smagala, District Communications Coordinator, North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District
2020: Dr. Matthew Murphy, Superintendent, Ramsey School District

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