Oct. 25, 2023 -- The New Jersey School Public Relations Association (NJSPRA) named Toms River Regional Schools a winner in the 2023 School Communications Award Contest.
TRRS walked away with a trifecta of awards during the reception hosted in Atlantic City on Monday, Oct. 23. Toms River received second place in the Social Media category for its popular Instagram feed; second place for Best Website for trschools.com; and first place in the category of Media Relations, based on its widespread coverage of Christine Girtain’s New Jersey State Teacher of the Year Award.
“This is a really proud moment for the district because communicating properly and effectively is such a team effort,” said Coordinator of the Office of Grants and Communications Mike Kenny. “From Malissa Sermarini and Jim Phillips’ website content and infrastructure, respectively, to the outstanding photographic work of people like Jim Patten, Allison Goodwin, and our talented students, to a superintendent in Mr. Citta who empowers us all, has great ideas, and supports everyone along the way, this is definitely a moment we can all share.”
“Congratulations to Toms River Regional Schools for setting the standard for effective school communications here in New Jersey.” - Paul Zeller, director of technology and communication at Pascack Valley Regional High School District and president of NJSPRA.
The NJSPRA School Communication Awards were developed to recognize professional school communicators in New Jersey and the products they develop that go above and beyond to disseminate important messages to their various stakeholders.
“Congratulations to Toms River Regional Schools for setting the standard for effective school communications here in New Jersey,” said Paul Zeller, director of technology and communication at Pascack Valley Regional High School District and president of NJSPRA.
The 2023 contest was the most competitive on record with 102 submissions from 41 different school districts. The submissions for the 2023 School Communication Awards were judged by an esteemed panel of 18 judges from nine states including experienced and award-winning school communications professionals and professors from Rowan University.
The district website-- which was developed completely in house by the Technology Department and Phillips, a network manager, and which serves as the digital hub for one of NJ’s largest school districts-- was recognized for being user friendly, easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing, and featuring content that is regularly updated. And Instagram, the district's signature and preferred social media platform, surpassed 6,000 followers this past year, and drew praise for its sharp, emotion-filled, and engaging imagery.
On hand from Toms River for the awards reception were Kenny, Goodwin– a High School East arts tech teacher whose photos have helped anchor the district’s efforts the past several years– Superintendent Citta, Assistant Superintendent Pat Thomas, and Business Administrator Bill Doering. Last year, the district won two third-place honors.
“We’re grateful to NJSPRA for the work it does in supporting district communications and acknowledging those who do it well, and we’re beyond proud and honored to be considered among that group," said Citta. "We view communications as a means of sharing the achievements of our students, staff, and community, so these awards are confirmation that we have a lot of great people doing a lot of great things."
Awards are given out in eight different categories: Newsletter; Marketing, Branding, Image; Media Relations-Human Interest; Photography; Social Media; Special Interest Publication; Video; and Website. For a complete list of winners, visit www.njspra.com.
About New Jersey School Public Relations Association (NJSPRA)
The New Jersey School Public Relations Association (NJSPRA) is an award-winning state chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), nationally recognized for its efforts on behalf of school public relations professionals. Members include public relations and communications professionals, as well as superintendents, administrators, board members, principals, teachers, and consultants, all of whom benefit from the wealth of information and networking to strengthen their school communications programs.