Communication Awards

H-F Awarded by INSPRA
image of Communications Team

On National School Communicators Day — Friday, May 12 — H-F was presented with three Distinguished Service Awards by the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association for its communication efforts.

District 233 Superintendent Dr. Scott Wakeley received a Distinguished Service Award in the Administrator category. When he began as the district’s superintendent in July 2022, he made three communication commitments. Communication will be (1) timely, (2) transparent and (3) two-way. One of the first actions he took was to create the Director of Communications & Community Engagement position that previously had been coupled with the human resources function. His vision was for two positions that could give the responsibilities of communications and human resources the attention and expertise necessary to be high performing. Next Dr. Wakeley supported conducting a comprehensive communication audit in the fall to understand what was working and where there were areas for improvement. He welcomed input from students, families, staff and the community. He also supported the creation of the H-F Communication Goal Team to approach communications and engagement strategically.

Executive Assistant to the Superintendent Pat Gnaster received a Distinguished Service Award in the Support Staff category. A fixture on the H-F administrative team for 20 years, Gnaster understands the needs of stakeholders and has been committed to assuring everyone has the information they need. She empathizes with the needs of parents, elected officials, taxpayers, board members and staff, and connects them to information, assuring two-way communication between the superintendent’s office and stakeholders. She has been extremely well versed in the legal requirements of her role, including meeting minutes and documentation, the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act. She has maintained impeccable notes, kept the administration and the District 233 Board of Education on schedule and assures all have the information they need to do their job.


H-F Communications Goal Team received a Distinguished Service Award in the Teams category. The team was created this school year to strategically approach communications and engagement and to develop the first Strategic Communication Plan in the school district’s 64-year history. It began with research through a communications audit, survey and focus groups. That data informed the planning process complete with strategies, tactics and evaluation metrics. In its first semester of implementation, the team has already begun developing communication plans aligned with district goals, amplifying student voice through the Principal’s Advisory Council, producing three new video series, creating the H-F News Central webpage, building relationships with parents, elected officials and leaders, planning for a Key Communicators network, and streamlining incoming freshman activities and communication. Team members include Director of Communications & Community Engagement Carla Erdey, Communications & Website Coordinator Nicole Castagna, Director of Alumni Relations & Development Ann Cherry, Principal Dr. Clinton Alexander, Director of Athletics Matt Lyke, Director of Activities Gail Smith, Guidance Department Chair Jim Schmidt, Fine Arts / English Teacher Matt Holdren and intern Tricia Walton.

Awards were presented at a special INSPRA event at Bolingbrook Golf Club on Friday, May 12.