DMPS Earns National Honors for Communications

The DMPS communications team (pictured left to right): Adam Rohwer, Amanda Lewis, Phil Roeder, Mike Wellman, Jon Lemons and Kyle Knicley.

The DMPS communications team (pictured left to right): Adam Rohwer, Amanda Lewis, Phil Roeder, Mike Wellman, Jon Lemons and Kyle Knicley.

Des Moines Public Schools has earned multiple awards from the National School Public Relations Association for its communications and marketing work in several categories. DMPS received top honors for five projects, as well as recognition for the how the school district used Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucus as an educational and communications opportunity.

DMPS was presented with NSPRA’s Golden Achievement Award for “First in the Nation: Education and the Iowa Caucuses.” Being located in Des Moines put DMPS at ground zero for much of the 2016 caucus activity as well as the national and international media coverage that follows. While the caucuses are a winnowing process for candidates, they are also a learning opportunity for students across all grade levels. DMPS took advantage of the unique opportunity presented by the caucuses, from developing a curriculum used by other schools across the state to using mock caucuses as teaching tools at several schools and from hosting visits by presidential candidates to allowing 45 of our school buildings to be used as caucus sites. According to NSPRA, the “Golden Achievement Award recognizes exemplary work in all aspects of school public relations, communication, marketing and engagement.”

In addition, DMPS received eleven awards in NSPRA’s annual Publications and Electronic Media Awards competition, including five entries earning an Award of Excellence, the highest honor in a category. This is the most awards ever earned by DMPS in a single year.

The district earned top honors for three projects in the Branding/Imaging category: a trade show booth, office graphics, and vehicle re-designs. DMPS also received top honors for two projects in the Marketing Publication category: a series of fact cards on district programs and a prospectus for new teachers.

NSPRA also presented DMPS with awards for TheWeek@DMPS (our weekly e-newsletter), the school district’s map, and for four videos produced by DMPS-TV.

“From sharing the stories of our teachers and students to presenting the great programs available at DMPS, we take great pride in supporting the extraordinary public education opportunities in Des Moines,” said Phil Roeder, director of communications and public affairs for Des Moines Public Schools. “We have a great team at DMPS working on our communications efforts, and it’s an honor to be recognized by our peers around the country for the work we do for Des Moines.”

The following is a list of the awards earned in various categories by DMPS (with links to those items available online):




Earlier this year, Roeder was also named the 2016 Communicator of the Year by the Iowa School Public Relations Association.

In addition to Roeder, the DMPS communications team consists of Amanda Lewis, communications officer; Adam Rohwer, graphic/web designer; Mike Wellman, staff writer; and Kyle Knicley and Jon Lemons with DMPS-TV.

NSPRA is a professional organization dedicated to building support and trust for education through responsible public relations that leads to success for all students. For more information about the organization, including a complete list of award winners from across the country, visit