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School PR Services with a Focus on Public Education

 

The ‘Why’ Behind What We Do

When we work with school leaders on their communications efforts and messaging, we often recommend they speak to the “why” behind what they do. Why did they decide to go into education? Why is education so important to them personally?

For our clients, education is a calling. The same is true for the team at the Donovan Group.

Beyond our expertise in communication, public relations and education policy, we are driven by the positive impact we’re able to have on schools and students throughout the country.

Our firm was founded in 2004 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For several years, we focused on serving the needs of public schools and districts in our home state. Later, we took what we learned to expand to other states, including Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota and Georgia. Along the way, we’ve added many truly talented and passionate education communication and school PR professionals to our team.

While the Donovan Group continues to grow, we remain true to our core principles of helping schools, districts and educational organizations tell their stories, engage their stakeholders and build greater levels of trust in their communities.

Dedicated to public education

The services we offer span a wide variety of areas, including work with districts in advance of a capital or operational referendum, developing and executing communications plans, writing news releases and assisting in the organization of community events. We also provide graphic and website design and communications assistance on many different issues, including difficult subjects like school finance and changes in state- and federal-level educational policy.

The Donovan Group’s team also includes content writers, website developers, videographers, copy editors, project managers and support staff.

 

Meet Our Team

Joe Donovan

Joe Donovan

President

About Joe

Joe Donovan is the Donovan Group’s founder and president. In addition to working with dozens of districts on their communications efforts, Joe regularly consults with districts and educational organizations across the country. He has provided consulting services to state superintendents, state legislators, mayors, and members of Congress.

 

Prior to founding the Donovan Group, Joe was a partner in and the vice president of School Perceptions LLC, an education research firm. He was also the spokesperson and communications strategist for State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Prior to this, Joe worked as a director in the office of US Senator Herb Kohl.

Joe earned a BS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an MA degree in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His training included qualitative and quantitative research methods in educational policy. He has co-authored several articles on the No Child Left Behind Act and the Wisconsin school finance system, and he has written several articles on educational policy and its implications for several high-profile national educational leaders. He has also authored two books on educational communications.

Jerry Gallagher

Jerry Gallagher

Associate

About Jerry

As an associate, Jerry leads Donovan Group’s efforts serving the needs of schools and districts throughout Iowa.

Before joining Donovan Group, Jerry spent 19 years as a broadcast journalist in Iowa and Wisconsin.  He was a news anchor in Waterloo, Sioux City and Eau Claire. Jerry earned a Midwest Regional EMMY in 2015 for his story, ‘Brothers in Arms,’ about his father’s trip on an Honor Flight. He also received several other EMMY nominations over the years for his reporting on topics like education, including a special report on Common Core.

Jerry grew up in Strawberry Point and Storm Lake before earning his degree at the University of Northern Iowa. His wife, Kelly, is also a UNI graduate who spent 15 years as an elementary teacher and is now a school improvement consultant with Central Rivers AEA in Cedar Falls. They have four children: Reece, Maddie, Kinnick and Greenley.

Steve Bailey

Steve Bailey

Senior Associate

About Steve

As senior associate, Steve assists in developing strategy for the Donovan Group’s clients. He helps schools and districts with communications planning, surveys, referendum efforts, crisis situations and content development on a daily basis.

 

Before joining the firm, Steve served as a campaign manager for a U.S. Congressional campaign and worked with several nonprofit advocacy organizations in Wisconsin, Illinois and New York. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has experience in both print and broadcast news reporting. He is now seeking a master’s degree in public administration.

Steve has also served as executive editor and president of the Donovan Group’s sister company, ProPRcopy.

Becky Huenink

Becky Huenink

Project/Business Manager

About Becky

Serving as the point of contact for many Donovan Group LLC clients, Becky is in charge of project follow-through and document editing and proofing.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Becky served as a social worker in which she assisted individuals with special needs. She also worked with the Wauwatosa School District as a liaison between school staff, parents, and business members collaborating toward a safe, united community.