AHPS Recognized Nationally for Digital Media Excellence

AHPS Recognized Nationally for Digital Media Excellence
Posted on 07/12/2023

LOW MOOR — Alleghany Highlands Public Schools is celebrating an important honor for its communications specialist, Darrell Gleason. Gleason has been awarded a Publications and Digital Media Excellence Award from the National School Public Relations Association.  


The award specifically celebrates the Facebook post series honoring Black History in the education systems of the Alleghany Highlands. This group of posts highlighted many former and current Black staff members of the school divisions of the Alleghany Highlands, helping mark the successes of Black local educators. The posts also featured African Americans who were educated in the Alleghany Highlands, and went on to embark on highly successful and influential careers.


Gleason's position is sponsored by The Alleghany Foundation through a grant, and his work focuses on broad communications about the school division. Gleason has built the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Facebook and Instagram presences, forums that are used to celebrate the successes of students and teachers, provide information, and encourage interest in our area. 


Additionally, Gleason shares information with a variety of media outlets, assists reporters, provides text for employee-facing communications, and more. The school division reports that this work is especially significant both as schools adjust to the post-COVID era and the consolidation of Alleghany County and Covington City schools. 


"Response to Darrell's work has been so positive. We have been delighted that our students, staff, and community have been encouraged by his writing and photos," said Kim Halterman and Melinda Snead-Johnson, leaders of AHPS.


Gleason was a long-time journalist with the Virginian Review newspaper. His coverage assignments frequently included local school board meetings. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Radford University, and an associate degree from Dabney S. Lancaster Community College (now Mountain Gateway Community College). During his time with the Virginian Review, Gleason received awards from the Virginia Press Association for news photography and writing. 


The National School Public Relations Association, based in Rockville, Md., is a professional group for communication specialists that provides training and other services.  This year's award winners will be recognized at the society's annual meeting in Missouri this July. Just five Virginia school districts will be recognized this year for this level of social media achievement, three Northern Virginia districts and two districts from the Richmond area along with Alleghany Highlands Public Schools. Nearby Montgomery County received an honorable mention. 


“We are so lucky to have Darrell as a member of our team! It is great having someone of his caliber to get information out about all of the great things going on in our school system. His hard work and dedication helps put us in a category with some of the biggest districts in the Commonwealth,” Jacob Wright, chair of the Alleghany Highlands School Board said.  


The Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division was created on July 1, 2022, through the merger of Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center. The school division serves approximately 2,700 students, and it is jointly funded by Alleghany County, and the City of Covington.


School division news and events are regularly updated on Facebook at AHPublicSchools, and the AHPS website www.ahps.k12.va.us.   


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