By Liam Goldrick, Associate
I sincerely believe that public schools are among the most important institutions in our nation. They are the center of our communities. They represent a caring and safe place for our children to learn and grow. They are our largest employers, a workplace of millions of teachers, school principals and district leaders.
Schools are at the forefront of preparing future citizens for higher learning, the workforce and as participants in our democracy.
That’s why I am so incredibly excited that my professional career has taken me to the Donovan Group, an award-winning education communications firm. After nearly 20 years in educational policy and communications, much of it nationally, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to make a difference locally and support the needs of schools and districts in Delaware and Pennsylvania.
As I begin my work with the Donovan Group, I do so with a deep commitment to the firm’s mission and with respect and trust for my colleagues and the work they do every day. I’ve known Joe Donovan, the firm’s president, for more than 15 years. We first met in Wisconsin in 2004, when he was the communications director for the state Department of Public Instruction and I was the education advisor to the state’s governor. I have watched from afar as Joe has built the Donovan Group from the ground up, bringing on talented professionals to help the firm grow.
The Donovan Group focuses exclusively on public education, offering services that help schools and districts reach their communication and stakeholder engagement goals. The firm’s clients include large, urban districts and small, one-building rural schools.
Earlier this year, the firm received the Gold Medallion Award from the National School Public Relations Association, the nation’s top honor for school district communications. Joe Donovan also received the Award of Special Recognition for Service to Wisconsin from the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators.
Too often, the dialogue about public education seems to focus on what is not working. It’s true that there remain many challenges for school leaders when it comes to ensuring all students receive a quality education. While that is a critical conversation—especially when addressing inequities within classrooms, schools and the educational system as a whole—it can obscure all the great work taking place in public schools each and every day.
School and district leaders must be able to engage their stakeholders and share these stories. Through great communication, they can speak to what is working well in their schools and recognize the incredible efforts of educators, school service staff, students, parents and community members to build supportive teaching and learning cultures in schools and strengthen the learning of all children.
The power of these examples—and the stories school leaders, teachers and students can collectively tell—must be heard more widely to build and sustain public support for schools and to ensure our education systems receive the funding they need. Today, public schools must fight for the resources that research indicates make a critical difference for student achievement.
With that in mind, I look forward to helping school district leaders engage their stakeholders around the critical work they are doing and the achievements of their students and staff. With the Donovan Group, I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work—on behalf of students, families, educators and public schools. Let’s celebrate our successes together!