Cindy Warner receives Alabama Communicator of the Year award from ALSPRA

Published 12:15 pm Monday, July 1, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – The Alabama School Public Relations Association recently bestowed Cindy Warner, of Shelby County Schools, with its highest award by naming her as the Alabama Communicator of the Year at a recent meeting.

Warner, who serves as the Public Relations and Community Education supervisor at Shelby County Schools, received the prestigious award during the ALSPRA June 2024 Membership Meeting held at the Shelby County Instructional Services Center on Thursday, June 27.

The event drew approximately 45 attendees from across the state and featured a lineup of presentations delivered by professionals from within the many school districts.

Individuals from Vestavia City Schools, the Germantown Municipal School District, Bishop Colvin LLC and Shelby County Schools were included in that list and covered topics such as branding, trademarking, licensing, legislative updates and the transformative power of artificial intelligence in education.

During the meeting, ALSPRA also presented other awards to members from Alabaster, Birmingham, Huntsville, Jefferson, Mobile, Oneonta, Shelby County, Tuscaloosa City and Tuscaloosa County Schools for their exceptional contributions and achievements.

“It was awesome seeing so many of our members gathered together for a great day of professional development and networking,” Warner said.

Warner’s selection as Communicator of the Year specifically highlighted her impactful work throughout the 2023-2024 school year and further nominated her as a candidate for the National School Public Relations Association’s School Communicator of the Year Award.

“I am humbled and grateful to be named Communicator of the Year by the Alabama Public Relations Association,” Warner said. “My ALSPRA colleagues are all individuals whom I admire and respect tremendously. It means so much that they feel I’m worthy to represent our state association as a candidate for the National School Public Relations Association’s School Communicator of the Year Award next year.”

Warner, a veteran in school public relations with over 22 years of experience, has also served as the Southeast Regional Vice President on the NSPRA Executive Board for the past three years— advocating for effective communication practices among schools in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee.

“Traveling to our seven Southeast region chapters and learning from other incredible school public relations professionals has been such a blessing,” Warner said. “I wouldn’t be the communicator I am today without the support, guidance and mentorship of many who have poured into me, including the late Nez Calhoun from Jefferson County Schools.”

Rena Philips from Mobile County Public Schools was further named as this year’s recipient of the Nez Calhoun Distinguished Service Award and was cited for her steadfast dedication to ALSPRA. Past recipients of the award have included Warner and Nicole Knight of Pelham City Schools.

The award is named in honor of Calhoun, who served as the former Jefferson County Schools director of public information before retiring in 2017 after a 42-year-long career and having worked under 16 different superintendents. Calhoun died in August 2020 at the age of 77.

This event followed ALSPRA members bringing home Gold Medallion awards from the NSPRA conference earlier this month. The Gold Medallion Award is presented in recognition of outstanding educational public relations programs that have gone above and beyond and made impacts in their communities. Warner, Lydia Avant with Tuscaloosa City Schools and Terri Brewer with Tuscaloosa County Schools each received the awards along with recognitions.

ALSPRA is a statewide coalition of professional school communicators which aims to promote public understanding and support for Alabama’s public schools while providing professional development opportunities for its members.

For more information on ALSPRA, those interested may visit their website at