Albuquerque Public Schools
Public Affairs and Media Relations
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Practice Area: Public affairs and media relations
Challenge: The Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) is the 27th largest school district in the United States. After losing its first capital funding election in 12 years, the district tapped Tom Garrity’s expertise to earn the community trust and secure approval of the needed funds.
Approach: Using the four step process, Tom Garrity was able to create messages and develop an approach to earn the right for the district to be heard among its harshest critics. By leveraging consistent messages and transparency, the move was first to earn the trust of current employees (numbering 14,500), then stakeholders (parents, grandparents, community leaders). This was accomplished through a listening tour and developing/communicating a seven step strategic plan, strategy about how the APS strategic plan. We also included ways for the community to provide feedback directly to the leadership team and established a task force that included groups opposed to the school district, to provide insight on some issues involving an aspect of the capital improvement program.
Results: Using public opinion surveys to benchmark community attitudes on a variety of topics, we were able to improve perception about APS among all target audiences. And, the capital funding election was approved by the largest margin and largest voter turnout in New Mexico school district history.
This campaign received the New Mexico Public Relations Society of America Cumbre Best of Show award and the New Mexico American Marketing Association "Best of the Best" award.