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Brott receives professional leadership award

Aerial view of Kuhlman stadium with water tower in foreground.

Susan Brott, director of communications and community engagement for Edina Public Schools (EPS), has been named the recipient of the Dawn K. McDowell Award by the Minnesota School Public Relations Association (MinnSPRA).

The award is the highest honor given by MinnSPRA to a school public relations professional who “advocates for strategic communication, mentors and counsels others, advances the practice of school PR and places a high value on collegial and professional relationships.”

“I am truly humbled by the thought of being recognized in the same group as so many amazing school communications professionals,” Brott said in her acceptance speech. “Dawn’s legacy of professionalism and mentoring others is held in high regard both in Minnesota and across North America. I am honored to uphold the values and examples she set for those of us who came after her.”

Brott joined EPS in 2012. Previously, she was chief marketing and communications officer at the West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Area Schools for four years, and communications coordinator at White Bear Lakes Schools for nine years.

Brott holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and communications from the College of St. Benedict, and a master’s in political rhetoric and public address from the University of Pittsburgh. She received accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America in 2007. In addition to her work in public schools, Brott has been a guest lecturer for 10 years at the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development, presenting on issues of media relations, referendum campaigns and strategic communications. She was an adjunct instructor at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University for four years, teaching courses on rhetorical theory, public speaking and small group communication. She has also co-facilitated the new professionals workshop at the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) annual seminar for the past five years, and has been a frequent presenter at both national and state conferences.

The Dawn K. McDowell Award was established in memory of a respected NSPRA member and past president who served in school communications in several Minnesota school systems. She passed away at age 50 and is remembered as a loyal colleague, friend and mentor to many MinnSPRA and NSPRA members. The award was presented to Brott at MinnSPRA’s spring conference on April 20 in Bloomington.