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Culture and Diversity Initiative Honored with Prestigious Award

November 3, 2011

On behalf of the Monticello Central School District and Capital Region BOCES, communications specialist Renata Gittler was named as a finalist EmpirePRSA Awards Ceremony Award winner in the non-profit campaign category by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Capital Region Chapter. Ms. Gittler received the honorable designation for her work on the “Celebrating Culture and Diversity in the Monticello Central School District” initiative. She was presented with the award by PRSA President Penny Vavura at a ceremony in Albany on October 27.

“At the heart of this social justice initiative is the hard work of many dedicated professionals,” said Ms. Gittler. “Hopefully, the widespread recognition this project is receiving will raise the consciousness of others and help inspire more people to join in the celebration of our beautifully diverse region, and world.”

As part of the public relations campaign, Ms. Gittler created a web section with dozens of culture and diversity stories, postings and links, and a seven-minute digital photo and audio slideshow highlighting Monticello’s staff and students. Earlier this year, Ms. Gittler, who is employed by Capital Region BOCES and subcontracted by the Monticello School District, was honored with a Golden Achievement Award from the National School Public Relations Association for her work on the same initiative.

The culture and diversity initiative began in Monticello Schools in 2010, spearheaded by Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Dr. Kenneth Newman. It is a district-wide effort to incorporate positive cultural references into everyday classroom learning and includes the celebration of the many diverse cultures that comprise the school district. The initiative also focuses on teaching tolerance and respect among students.

PRSA explains its awards as a way to “commemorate the triumphs of the programs, projects and people that strengthen, promote and sharpen the public relations profession. The awards recognize programs, projects and professionals for outstanding achievement in the practice and support of public relations in the Capital Region and beyond.”

Photo: Communications specialist Renata Gittler (third from left) holds her PRSA finalist award plaque. With her are colleagues, from left, Monticello Schools District Clerk Mary Ryan Buchholz, assistant superintendent Dr. Kenneth Newman, Capital Region BOCES communications specialists Michele Kelley and Monique Jacobs, communications program manager Jennie Kerwood and PRSA President Penny Vavura.

Redefining Public Relations in the Age of Social Media (11/20/11 - NY Times article about PRSA)