As public institutions, school districts are focused on the democratic ideal of providing education to every child. When a crisis happens, we go to work to turn crisis into an opportunity for positive change. Managing the media is just the most visible part of a crisis. Usually it is found that crises – be it an act of nature, an unintentional accident or an intentional act of violence – are born of circumstances that can be changed, repaired, improved or minimized to reduce or eliminate future problems. There are steps to be taken to be accountable, to be sympathetic, to be accurate and to be consistent in reporting the fallout from a crisis event. While a crisis may seem unfathomable to comprehend, the fact of the matter is that communication tools today make managing such calamities in our society better for those that are faced with the uncertainties that they bring. In public or private settings, leaders must be prepared and versed in the procedures for working with the media, EMT, police, fire departments and most importantly, the victims. We build trust at all levels, the most critical component to managing a crisis, with conviction and care.
“Susan possesses the professional qualities I needed to accurately and passionately communicate the challenges students at Allentown School District confronted every day, and the outcomes that the teachers and administrators were required to institute in order to make progress. At the time that I led the charge at the end of empowerment and the start of No Child Left Behind, public education reform was little understood in this region. Today, thanks to her efforts early on, media grasped its importance to the vitality of the region and parents, guardians and residents have a better understanding of what’s at stake.”
Diane Scott, Ed.D., Superintendent, Allentown School District, 1992-2002
“As the editor of the Opinion Pages of The Morning Call, I convened meetings of the newspaper’s editorial board, which often were scheduled with community groups who wanted the newspaper’s ear on matters of public interest. Those visitors regularly included Susan Williams and her clients. I came to expect that those groups would be well-prepared and focused on the message of the day. The editorial board did not always agree with them, but we always learned from them and respected them. Ms. Williams’ intelligent guidance and dedication to good-faith discourse deserves much of the credit for her clients’ success.”
Glenn Kranzley, Editor of the Opinion Pages, The Morning Call, 1997-2009