The Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) Professional Awards Committee has chosen Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Executive Director, Dr. Johnny Veselka, as the association’s 2009 Key Communicator. The Key Communicator Awards recognizes Dr. Veselka’s outstanding contributions to public education through effective communications. He has worked diligently for Texas public schools since he joined the staff of TASA in 1974.
When TSPRA officers began the “Key Communicator” Award in 1982, the selection committee noted that Dr. Veselka helped make the “Key Communicator” Award an even more prestigious honor by announcing the recipient during the TASA-TASB state conference. Twenty-seven years later, it remains a major component of the TASA-TASB Convention, thanks in part to his support.
Since he joined TASA in 1974, Dr. Veselka has been a strong proponent of TSPRA and TASA. For example, in the past two years, he has led the “partnership” of getting both organizations to house at TASA headquarters. He is a strong believer in building partnerships, maintaining open communications and addressing legislative issues that will help students succeed. He is known throughout the state for being a Texas leader who facilitates positive change for public school
Under his leadership as executive director, TASA has become a major voice for school administrators on legislative issues and state policy matters, enhancing the leadership role of administrators in the state’s public schools. TASA has also initiated and continues to expand its services in governmental relations, leadership development, communications and public relations, research and planning, technology leadership development, and other areas vital to the effective and efficient administration of Texas public schools.
Commenting on Dr. Veselka’s advocacy for Texas school children, Dr. John M. Folks, superintendent of Northside ISD, said, “ Perhaps most important is Dr. Veselka’s ability to bring the state’s various education organizations together so that they can speak with one voice for public education. Considering the differing political agendas, this is an almost impossible task, but because Dr. Veselka is so highly respected and well-versed on school issues, he is able to reach a consensus.”
In his letter of support, Dr. Thomas Randle, superintendent of Lamar Consolidated ISD, said, “Dr. Veselka has worked tirelessly to improve Texas public schools through his work with business executives and educational leaders. His work with the Visioning Institute, a collaborative with SHW and 35 superintendents resulted in a white paper entitled ‘Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas.’ This work will soon inspire others towards the common goal of making public schools better for all Texas children.”
Dr. Veselka will receive the Key Communicator Award at at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 3, 2009, during the Second General Session of the TASA/TASB Annual Convention. The convention will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.
Since 1981, TSPRA has recognized a Key Communicator for outstanding contributions to public education through effective communications. The recipient may be a legislator, educator or a professional in another field who has improved school communications; or a member of TSPRA who has contributed outstanding service to the profession of school communications. Recipients have included leaders from business, media, PTA, politics and education. Some of the past winners include: Carolyn Boyle, former Coordinator of the Texas Coalition for Public Schools; Jack Christie, former Chairman, State Board of Education; Leslie and Scott Milder, Friends of Texas Public Schools; David Thompson, Attorney, currently with Thompson and Horton, L.L.P.; and Annell Todd, Publisher Emeritus, Texas School Business and former TSPRA Executive Director.
Nancy Porter of Fort Bend ISD chaired the 2009 Professional Awards selection committee, which includes: Marco Alvarado, Lake Travis ISD; Sharon Cox, Denton ISD; Pascual Gonzalez, Northside ISD; Carol Vaughn, Harris County Department of Education; and Christy Willman, Lamar CISD.