Betty Roper lived only a short time after her arrival in Idaho in 1979. But in that time, she created a legacy that endures to this day. Betty cared passionately about Idaho Education Association members and creating a platform for them to tell their stories. The Betty Roper Public Relations Award is awarded to a local or region organization that carries on Betty’s commitment to furthering the cause of public education and the work of the association through communications and public relations.
Vallivue Education Association
Nominated by: Alicia Purdy
Storytelling about members is at the heart of Amber Ford’s success in her role as communications director for Vallivue Education Association.
Since stepping into the job in 2022, she’s led the effort to build the local’s social media channels into the place to find good news about members and important school events for members, students and the community alike. Through her efforts, VEA’s Facebook following swelled to 780 followers — no small feat for a local with 236 members.
Her work is helping VEA build invaluable positive relationships with members, school families, the community and school district administration, according to VEA President Alicia Purdy, who nominated Ford for the award.
Ford scours social media and news to stay abreast of the most current happenings in the world of education and relays it to VEA’s members and followers. In fact, VEA’s social media presence under Ford is regularly recognized by local media personalities like Maggie O’Mara, the early morning news anchor for KTVB-TV, Channel 7 in Boise.
“Amber highlights the wonderful things educators are doing in the classroom, which affects public perception,” Purdy wrote in her nomination. “Amber’s efforts impact public education, as she draws attention to the positive things happening in our schools. It brings hope to educators and keeps us informed.”
Purdy singled out Ford’s work to promote VEA’s Back-to-School Fair in August. More than 400 families attended the event where students received school supplies, uniforms, haircuts and more in advance of the first day of school. Ford’s communications for this “extremely effective community relations event” were a key part of its success, Purdy said.
Ford implemented new practices to reach more members through email and avoid their spam filters. She designs fliers and word-smiths in ways “that make even the most inarticulate president sound respectable,” Purdy said.
Recently, Ford was also interviewed by Idaho Education News to share her perspective on the effects of AI on plagiarism in schools.
“Her influence knows no bounds,” said Purdy.