Elmhurst Unit District 205 School Board President Jim Collins on Tuesday honored Director of Communications Melea Smith, her staff and the head of the District 205 finance team for an Award of Excellence they received last week.
Smith, Assistant Superintendent of Finance Chris Whelton and Electronic Communications Specialist Kathy Schroeder received the award at the Illinois chapter of the National School Public Relations Association’s annual Communications Contest celebration Sept. 21.
Smith, Whelton and Schroeder received the only Award of Excellence given in the category of Financial Information. More than 150 entries were submitted in 10 categories, and entries were judged by independent communications professionals. Only those receiving top scores in a variety of criteria received awards.
"It has been a priority of this board to increase the amount, frequency and quality of communication with the Elmhurst community," Collins said. "(This is) in recognition of that."
Smith and her team are credited with putting together the district's 2011-12 Budget at a Glance, which provides community members a wealth of facts and figures on District 205 finances.
Smith also presented on the topic of Communicating School Finances at the joint conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Association of School Business Officials last November, and again at the National School Public Relations Association seminar in Chicago last summer. She has also been invited next month to be part of a national phone panel (known as the NSPRA Power Hour) which will discuss Bottom Line Engagement—Building Support and Understanding of Budget Challenges.
In addition, District 205 was honored with two Awards of Merit. One was for last year’s Annual Report to the Community, put together by the Communications Department. The publication also received a national award. (Here's a look at this year's Annual Report to the Community.) The other was for a brochure that informs the public about School Board meetings and how to participate in them.
Collins presented the awards Tuesday.
"Melea, I have three different awards that you and your staff and Mr. Whelton have won," he said. "Congratulations."