A veteran county government communications professional has been selected to receive the National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO) Scholarship for the 2015-16 session of Texas Christian University’s Certified Public Communicator Program.
Jodi B. Gardner, the Director of Communications for Forsyth County, Ga., was chosen by NACIO to receive the scholarship. NACIO will pay 50% of the tuition costs for Gardner to attend the program.
“I am honored to have been selected as the recipient of the NACIO scholarship for participation in the Certified Public Communicator Program,” Gardner said. “The leadership training and extensive education provided through the program will no doubt prove valuable to me, my department and Forsyth County. I am looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of this exciting program and appreciative of the support of NACIO.”
The Certified Public Communicator Program at TCU is a post-baccalaureate, graduate-level residential program for two summers (one week each in 2015 and 2016), plus a two-day winter session. The program is taught by strategic communication professors from TCU’s Schieffer School of Journalism.
Professional communicators working for city, county, and public-sector agencies create three-year comprehensive communication plans for their organizations during the program. The CPC program is a partnership of TCU’s Schieffer School of Journalism, Extended Education, and the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.
“The program is the only continuing education opportunity in the nation that is geared specifically for local government public relations professionals,” said NACIO President Todd McGee, who is also public relations director for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. “We are pleased to be able to offer this scholarship to Jodi, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Certified Public Communicators program.”
Gardner serves as director of Communications for Forsyth County, Ga., and has been with Forsyth County government for 10 years. She and her team of three staff members manage the communications needs for a county that is consistently ranked among the fastest growing in the nation. Their work includes operation of TV Forsyth, the county’s 24-hour government cable channel, media relations, publications, special event planning and more.
“Forsyth County understands the importance of communicating with our citizens and stakeholders,” said Forsyth County Manager Doug Derrer. “We are pleased that Jodi will have the opportunity to take part in this program that will provide tools and education for enhancing and expanding our communications efforts.”
Prior to moving to Georgia and joining Forsyth County, Gardner held the position of development associate at the Ruth Eckerd Hall Performing Arts Center in Clearwater, Fla. She also served as a community development intern with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Gardner graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tampa with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Advertising.
NACIO was formed in 1966 to bring together county communications professionals who wanted to share and exchange information with other county public information officers across the United States. NACIO remains dedicated to improving the professional capabilities of its members through an active listserv, training webinars, workshops at national conferences and other means.
As an active affiliate of the National Association of Counties (NACo), NACIO works to promote the value of professional PIOs to county governments and also to promote a better understanding amongst the general public of the roles and responsibilities of county government.
Membership in NACIO is open to any county public information officer or any staff member who serves as the county’s PIO in addition to other duties.
For more information about NACIO, visit www.nacio.org. For more information about the Certified Public Communicator Program, visit www.certifiedpubliccommunicator.org.