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Ingram named top school PR professional in state

UCPS Luan Ingram is pictured with previous winners, from left, Ann Wilkerson from Orange County Schools (2004-05 winner); Sue Carson from Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools (2007-08 winner); Luan Ingram from Union County Public Schools (2008-09 winner); North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA) President Robert E. Kendall Jr., from Wilson County Schools (2005-06 winner) and Bonnie Reidy from Gaston County Schools (2003-04 winner).

Luan Ingram, chief communications officer with Union County Public Schools, has been recognized as the top school public relations professional in North Carolina.
   
The North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA) named Ingram the 2009 Barry Gaskins Service Award winner, presented by NCSPRA President Robert E. Kendall Jr. during the association’s annual Blue Ribbon Awards celebration at the Hilton Garden Inn in Durham Friday, January 30, 2009.

“Luan Ingram has an outstanding record of contributions to school public relations. For 16 years, she has been an extraordinary communicator for her school district,” said Kendall, who is public relations director for Wilson County Schools. 

“Her signature skill is the aplomb with which she has expressed the facility needs of her school district, and the exercise of that skill has had a profound effect on her district,” Kendall added.  “Since 1998, bond referendums in her county have earned an average approval rating of 66 percent and provided more than $501 million for school construction.” 

The award recognizes a practicing or retired school public relations professional for outstanding leadership in school public relations and communications. She was nominated by UCPS Superintendent Dr. Ed Davis.

“Mrs. Ingram has an outstanding record of contributions to school public relations that make her a most worthy candidate for this prestigious award,” Davis wrote in his nomination letter.  “She has established herself as one of North Carolina’s finest school public relations professionals.”Ingram is the seventh recipient since the award was first given posthumously in 2003 to Barry Gaskins, who died in March 2003 at the age of 49. During his 24-year career as the public information officer for Pitt County Schools, Gaskins gained a national reputation for his skill as a school PR professional and his ability to engage diverse publics in support of public education.
   
“This is so exciting. I can’t tell you how honored I am to receive this award,” Ingram said after being named the 2008-09 winner during the ceremony. “First of all, because it has Barry Gaskins’ name on it and any award with his name on it is an honor to accept. Another reason is because I get to join the ranks of these former recipients and it’s an honor to be among them.”

Ingram, a former UCPS high school English teacher, has also been recognized nationally, being a past recipient of the Frontrunner Award presented by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) to the most esteemed school PR professionals in the nation. She also received the NSPRA Golden Achievement Award, which recognizes exemplary work in every aspect of school public relations.

A frequent presenter, Ingram has shared her expertise at annual conferences of the N.C. School Public Relations Association and the National School Public Relations Association. In association with the N.C. Association of School Administrators, she has advised new superintendents on media relations for the past three years.

The selection process required the identification of a nominee by a committee of past NCSPRA presidents and past Gaskins Award winners. The committee’s recommendation was approved by the NCSPRA Board of Directors. 

The award was announced during the Blue Ribbon Awards celebration hosted by NCSPRA each year, which honors school districts and practitioners for excellence in publications, marketing, writing, photography, videography and electronic media. The Gaskins Award is the event’s centerpiece. 

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, Publications Coordinator
Posted: Feb 02, 2009 by Deb Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator

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