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Doye reflects on WSPRA presidency

Posted Date: 06/04/2024

Doye reflects on WSPRA presidency

Dear WSPRA Friends,

It’s incredibly difficult to believe my time as your WSPRA President is quickly coming to a close later this month. I sincerely mean it when I say it has been one of the true honors of my life to serve in this role, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit sad that it’s ending.

Our organization looks very different today than it did when I joined the Board in 2017 -- this doesn’t happen by accident and it doesn’t happen alone. It takes hard work, dedication, and vision by talented people to make us successful. Words cannot express my sincere gratitude for all the Board, and you as members, have done. I’m so very proud to call you not only colleagues, but many of you close friends as well.

I’m extremely proud of the continued growth of our chapter, not only in terms of membership numbers, but also in terms of the high quality professional development we are able to offer while maintaining fiscal responsibility, including adding an Executive Director.

I felt compelled to join the Board because a voice for the small, rural schools at our leadership table was lacking. Nearly 70% of Wisconsin’s 421 school districts are considered “rural.” These districts service 44% of the state’s 860,000 public school students. With so many members of Wisconsin’s next generation learning in rural schools, it’s vital that we prioritize the unique needs of these educators and students. 

This is my 10th year in Mineral Point -- when I started, I was the anomaly -- now, it’s not as uncommon for smaller districts to have followed in our Pointer pawprints and create positions for communications.

So, while I may be the first-ever small, rural school PR pro to serve as WSPRA President, I know I won’t be the last. 

I don’t believe any zip code (be it rural, suburban, or urban) should determine whether the success stories of our schools, students, and staff are shared.

Besides being a voice for rural districts, the main thing I hope my Presidency will be remembered for is building an even stronger sense of community and connection within our WSPRA Family. I’m never the smartest person in the room, but I take pride in relationship and culture building, making WSPRA a place people want to be part of -- I truly hope you’ve felt this from my heart.

I know our organization will be in fine hands moving forward with Emily DeBaker as incoming President, Sarah O’Donnell as President-Elect, Patti Lux as Vice President, and Mitchell Lilly as Treasurer -- and of course, Debbie Brewster as the glue holding us all together as Executive Director.

While I’m beyond proud of what we have achieved together, I’m even more excited for the future that lies ahead -- the sky truly is the limit for WSPRA and our districts need our work now more than ever.

Take care and keep in touch. 

Joëlle Doye
WSPRA President 2022-24
Mineral Point Unified School District