Communication Directors and Public Relations Professionals in Public School Districts

A Literature Review




communication, public relations, public schools, communication planning


A school district’s need to satisfy the school community’s expectations for current, accurate information and manage a social media presence has increased the necessity for superintendents to employ public relations professionals. As such, these professionals are a recent addition to many school districts’ administrative teams. However, few research studies were located that focused on public relations professionals or communication directors in public schools. The purpose of this literature review was to identify empirical studies and professional association resources that provided historical, contextual, and relevant information about communication directors in school districts. Based on the findings, we uncovered three themes related to the history, roles and responsibilities, and standards for public relations professionals. Such information can help practitioners support communication functions and help researchers identify needed lines of inquiry.


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Author Biographies

Sonja A. Lopez, Sam Houston State University

SONJA LOPEZ, EdD, is an Innovative Staffing and Talent Pipeline Fellow at the Region 6 Education Service Center in Huntsville, TX. Her research interests lie in the areas of school communication and yearlong clinical teaching experiences and residencies. Email:

Julie P. Combs, Sam Houston State University

JULIE PETERSON COMBS, EdD, is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Sam Houston State University. Her major research interests include school leadership, doctoral education, and college readiness. Email:




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Literature Reviews