Public Information Office wins six School PR awards

SWBOCES communications team honored for work on digital platforms and print publications

Staff members in the Southern Westchester BOCES Office of Public Information won six Awards in the New York School Public Relations Association's 2019 Communications Awards.

Public Relations Specialist Natalia Baage-Lord won three Awards of Merit for her work for the Valhalla Central School District in the categories of Electronic Newsletter for the  Valhalla Voyages E-News; Social Media for the Valhalla Schools Facebook page: Eliciting Advocacy and Improving Public Opinion; and Website for the Valhalla Schools website.

Public Relations Specialist Cara Matthews also won an Award of Merit for her work for the Pocantico Hills Central School District on its quarterly newsletter Homepages, which is produced with LHRIC Graphic Illustrator Jeffry Braun.

Mr. Braun received an Award of Merit as well for his design of the Technology Leadership Institute's TELL Awards Poster.

Director of Communications Brian Howard and Graphic Designer Dianne Averill of Averill & Associates of Hopewell Junction won the Award of Excellence in the Special Purpose Publication category for the 2019-2020 Professional Learning Catalog produced for the Center for Professional Development & Curriculum Support. Ms. Averill's work has been similarly recognized in the past by NYSPRA for her work on the annual SWBOCES Services Guide.

"The work we do for our component districts and BOCES centers is meaningful because it benefits and supports student programs in line with the BOCES mission. This recognition by our peers is gratifying and deeply appreciated," Mr. Howard said.

NYSPRA will host an awards luncheon during the New York State School Boards Association convention, Friday, Oct. 25 in Rochester. 

Learn more about the Office of Public Information and the SWBOCES School Communications Service at

The New York School Public Relations Association is a state chapter of the National School Public Relations Association, nationally recognized for its efforts on behalf of school public relations professionals. With members representing school districts, BOCES and independent PR agencies throughout New York State, NYSPRA is dedicated to the development and dissemination of educational communications that engage parents, staff, community residents, partners in education and other stakeholders. Together, members support student achievement and school improvement initiatives.