Marita Loose, executive director of Communication Services for Frederick County Public Schools, recently became the only two-time winner of the regional Mariner Award. The Mariner Award honors outstanding professionalism and integrity in school public relations and contributions that advance school communications in and beyond the local district. It is given annually to one member from the four-state region of the National School Public Relations Association’s Chesapeake (CHESPRA) chapter, which includes DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
Since joining FCPS in 1996, Ms. Loose has developed comprehensive award-winning communication plans that involve families and community members in public education and recognize student and employee achievement. Under her leadership at FCPS are those who work to design the school system’s publications and coordinate printing, produce television programming, maintain the Web site, provide communication training, manage the FindOutFirst e-mail system, write articles and news releases, handle crisis communication and coordinate employee recognition and other significant FCPS events. She achieved the rigorous University Accreditation Board’s Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2003.
Ms. Loose won her first Mariner Award in 2008, having served as CHESPRA’s president and vice president. She launched the chapter’s e-newsletter, coordinated regional conferences and shares her expertise at national conferences and in publications.
According to an FCPS colleague, "Marita is an advocate for her staff, and places her trust in us to do the job well…She listens without interrupting, she leads without interfering, and she writes and speaks from the heart, even when that is really difficult to do."
Amidst a standing ovation, CHESPRA president Tim Bullis presented Ms. Loose with the award, which represents a ship’s compass, symbolizing excellent leadership in setting a positive direction for the school public relations profession.