Conference Presenter Information

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Julie Thannum, APR

Julie Thannum, APR, has more than 30 years of experience working as a strategic problem-solver and communications advisor. Prior to joining CESO Communications, she served as the assistant superintendent for board and community relations for a high-performing K-12 public school district in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Her work includes launching the inaugural communication programs in two successful Texas districts. Julie specializes in mentoring and coaching school leaders to effectively incorporate sound communication strategies into their everyday work. She has extensive experience in crisis communications and school safety, as well as community engagement and policy development. She is skilled in conflict resolution and helps guide school leadership teams through problem-solving while building stronger, more meaningful relationships. Having served as president of both the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) in 2016-2017 and the Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) from 2000-2001, Julie remains active in both organizations. She is a frequent presenter at local, state and national conferences on the topics of ethics in educational leadership, school safety and strategic communications through research, planning, implementation and evaluation.

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Susan Brott, APR

Susan Brott, APR, has more than 20 years of experience working in school districts as a strategic communications professional. Prior to joining CESO Communications, Susan served as a communications director in several Minneapolis-St. Paul area school districts. Susan enjoys all aspects of strategic communications and strategic planning, and especially enjoys facilitating and engaging stakeholders to elevate their voice and help them feel valued and heard. She specializes in analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data in order to help clients seek deeper meaning and make better decisions. Even before joining CESO Communications in April 2020, Susan was a go-to resource for school leaders across Minnesota, providing strategic communications counsel and advice, and helping to craft crisis response messaging in times of need. Susan has been an active member of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), including co-facilitating annual workshops for new school communications professionals, and from which she recently received the 2021 Barry Gaskins Mentor Legacy Award. She is also active in the Minnesota School Public Relations Association (MinnSPRA), where she served as president in 2007-2008 and received the Dawn K. McDowell Legacy award in 2018.