2019 Fall Conference

2019 Fall Conference

Connect with school communicators from throughout Wisconsin to learn from outstanding experts and practitioners in communication and leadership. It’s all about collaboration and learning.

When:  November 6-8, 2019

Where:   Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center

Hotel Reservation Information:

Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel
1 N Main Street
Oshkosh, WI 54901
Call   (920) 230-1900

*Mention the WI School Public Relations Association Room Block $99.99 (standard room plus tax per night)
Note the cancellation policy with the hotel when calling!
Room block will expire on Oct 14, 2019


WSPRA Member | Full Conference – $240
Non-Member | Full Conference – $348
Thursday Only (Member Option) – $220
PreConference – $60
Spectrum Luncheon Only – $40



Tricia2Keynote: Branding the Bigger Picture
Tricia Christiansen, Creative Director

The biggest misconception about branding is that a brand is a logo. The opportunity with a rebrand is to communicate to your organization that every person can impact your brand – for better or for worse. Your visual identity, or your logo, can become the symbol that people associate with the feelings they have for your organization – again for better or for worse.

Christiansen Creative is a graphic design studio that has worked with small businesses, nonprofits and corporations for 17 years. With a strong partnership with their local community. CC has helped to brand new or rebrand existing organizations. During Branding the Bigger Picture, Creative Director Tricia Christiansen will outline common reasons to rebrand, the branding process, roles and responsibilities, and potential pitfalls. She will use her studio’s projects to illustrate these topics.

IMG_6444Ethics, Leadership and Today’s School Communications Challenges
Julie Thannum, APR

Today’s school leader must deal with many day-to-day challenges, from special interest groups and social media posts to racial tension and religious freedoms. The legal and ethical implications of each decision are crucial to ensuring truth, transparency and trust with the school community. This keynote address will cover practical tips for implementing a strategic, two-way communications program to not only inform, but actively engage your stakeholders in topics important to their public schools. Julie will give real-life examples over her 30-year career in school PR of how our ethics can come into play in real school settings and situations, having a positive or negative impact on our ability to build strong, meaningful relationships with our stakeholders and employees. Come hear advice and strategies for helping to ensure strong, ethical decision-making in the daily school setting.

Julie Thannum is in her 30th year in school public relations, having worked for Carroll ISD in Southlake, Texas for 23 years and in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD seven years prior. She currently serves as Assistant Superintendent for Board & Community Relations helping the Superintendent’s Cabinet oversee 8,500 students and nearly 1,200 employees in Carroll ISD, a high-performing, suburban K-12 public school system in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. 


Wednesday –  Nov 6
4:30 – 6:30        PreCon(s)
*HELP! School Communications AND a Referendum
Being new to school communication can be overwhelming by itself, but toss in a referendum, and it can be hard to know where to even begin. These school communicators did both successfully in their first year.
*A Deep Dive into Community Engagement
Learn how one district has effectively structured community engagement efforts for nearly 20 years. Regardless of the topic, the district has a fundamental belief that if you are thoughtful about who you engage, and you use an effective process, even if you don’t know what the outcomes are, an appropriate solution emerges.
7:00 – 10:00      Welcome Reception

Thursday –  Nov 7
7:30 – 8:30      Registration | Continental Breakfast
8:30 – 10:00    Keynote | Julie Thannum | Ethics Leadership and Today’s School Communications Challenges
10:15 – 11:30    Breakout Sessions | Round 1
Continue the Conversation: Ethics Tabletop Learning
The Baraboo Story of Communications Response and Healing
Using Your Community’s Assets as a Referendum Public Information Tool: Greendale’s Story
11:45 – 1:00      Spectrum Award Luncheon
1:00 – 2:15        Breakout Sessions | Round 2
How an Anthropologie Sweater Changed My Career in Social Media
Referendum on a Budget
Growing STRONGer: The Art (and Science) of Re-branding in Kaukauna
2:30 – 3:45       Breakout Sessions | Round 3
The Real World – Referendum
Building Relationships with the Media
Gathering Engagement Data to Better Support Students, Staff, and Parents
5:00 – 7:00      Networking Reception

Friday –  Nov 8
8:00 – 9:00       Annual WSPRA Meeting | Full Breakfast
9:05 – 10:30     Keynote | Tricia Christiansen | Branding The Bigger Picture
10:30 – Noon   Breakout Sessions | Round 4
The Nuts and Bolts of Branding
No More Comic-Sans: Writing Engaging Content for Humans
U R What U Post: Engaging Students in a Conversation About Social Media Use
Noon                Adjourn

Sponsorship Information 

Interested in being a sponsor? Click here for further information.

About the author

The Wisconsin School Public Relations Association (WSPRA) is a professional association representing schools, school districts, educational associations, consulting agencies and organizations. WSPRA is a state affiliate of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). 4797 HAYES ROAD | SUITE 103 | MADISON, WI 53704 | PHONE: 608-241-0300 | WSPRA@AWSA.ORG