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Allison Miller Receives Foundation Management Certification (April, 2008)


Allison MillerThe first National/State Certification course in School Foundation Management was held recently in Friendswood ISD with approximately 40 foundation representatives attending, including Allison Miller of the Frisco Education foundation.

The course is designed to familiarize school foundation personnel, foundation board members, school administrators, and school board members with the critical leadership principles and best practices of successful K-12 school foundations.

Miller, Director of the Frisco Education Foundation, attended the workshop and received certification.  She was joined by other representatives from the state including school district/foundation representatives in Ysleta, Lewisville, Cedar Hill, Navasota, Sherman, Ganado, Sanger, Tyler, Goliad, Duncanville, Round Rock, San Antonio, Weatherford, Hays, and the Greater Houston Metroplex area.

Leading the workshop were three individuals with expertise in foundation work. The group consisted of  National School Foundation Association (NSFA) Project Director Jim Collogan of Des Moines, Iowa;  Michelle Lange, president of Silvertree Marketing  in Michigan; and Darrell Slabaugh, McKinney ISD Education Foundation Executive Director.  TSPRA Director Judy Farmer worked with Collogan in coordinating the workshop.

The workshop was sponsored by Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) and the National School Foundation Association (NSFA). Both groups work closely together and TSPRA members are affiliate members of NSFA.

The Education Foundation Division of TSPRA started four years ago. Each year membership in the division continues to grow. Farmer has been seeking a way to offer the foundation members professional development programs that would meet the need of both the new directors and those with many years of experience.

“Working with Jim Collogan and NSFA is a great benefit to our TSPRA Education Foundation Division members. This certification workshop has been a terrific opportunity for their ongoing professional development. We hope to provide additional opportunities for further study,” Farmer said.

TSPRA’s background is centered around the public relations field. The addition of the foundation division has been a seamless addition that fit.

“Based on a national benchmark study of K-12 education foundations, foundations that have regular and frequent communications are 10 times more likely to be satisfied with their awareness levels in the community,” Lange said. “So the importance of foundations working with their public relations staff is vitally important.”

Topics included leadership, operations, marketing, fundraising and support.

At the workshop, participants examined the purpose, performance and growing value of K-12 foundations, analyzed the desired leadership qualities of school foundation directors, studied the value of strategic planning as a key to success and the value of constructing a mission and viable vision to help set directors for the organization.

Also discussed were the challenges in the community facing foundations and their boards, the structural, legal and organizational principles of K-12 foundations, and the effective marketing principles matched with the foundation’s community.

"Professional Development is a key component for leaders in any organization. I appreciate TSPRA and the National School Foundation for partnering and taking the initiative to bring the Foundation Management workshop and certification to Texas. What K-12 Foundations can bring to a community is remarkable. The ideas and knowledge I took away from the workshop will assist me and the FEF Board of Directors in focusing on best practices in Foundation work and implementing those strategies to make the most impact for the students of FISD," Miller said.

The presenters gave positive feedback about their audience.

“I was totally impressed with the knowledge and ability of TSPRA attendees at our Texas K-12 foundation training! Attendees were anxious to learn and demonstrated a passionate desire to continue to serve their district’s academic needs through the work of their foundation,” Collogan said.

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