Well deserved! IJEA’s Sally Renaud named a 2018 NSPA Pioneer Award winner

The National Scholastic Press Association has honored IJEA's executive director with its highest award for journalism educators. Congratulations, Sally!

September 20, 2018


Illinois Journalism Education Association Executive Director Dr. Sally Renaud has been named one of five winners of the National Scholastic Press Association’s 2018 Pioneer Award. The winners were announced Sept. 18.

The Pioneer is the highest honor NSPA awards to journalism educators. Pioneers are individuals who make substantial contributions to high school journalism programs and scholastic journalism education outside their primary employment.

The other honorees are Rick Brooks, creative design manager, Jostens; Carrie Faust, journalism teacher and yearbook adviser, Smoky Hill High School, Aurora, Colo.; Kelly Furnas, multimedia journalism lecturer, Elon University, and former director, Journalism Education Association; Dow Tate, journalism teacher and adviser, Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village, Kan.

All five winners will be recognized at the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association Advisers Awards Luncheon in November at Chicago Hyatt Regency.

Renaud, journalism department chair at Eastern Illinois Illinois in Charleston, succeeded long-time IJEA Executive Director James Tidwell as head of the organization in January 2005.

Before that, she served as director of the journalism program at Emporia State University from 1995 to 2004.

During her time at Emporia State, located in east-central Kansas, Renaud taught and supervised student teachers in journalism. But she says it was legendary scholastic press veterans in Kansas such as John Hudnall, Linda Drake and Linda Puntney who gave her a place in Kansas, working with the strong scholastic press association and its contests.

After moving to EIU and becoming IJEA’s executive director, she learned early on from press association veterans Randy Swikle, Susan Tantillo, Linda Jones and Dave Porreca.

During Renaud’s tenure, the organization and board have created an annual statewide onsite contest with the Illinois High School Association, created an All-State Journalism Team and training partnership with the Illinois Press Foundation and recognized outstanding advising with the James A. Tidwell Award in partnership with EIU and the estate of Diana Peckham.

Stan Zoller, in his nomination letter, said since her arrival in Illinois, Renaud has led IJEA to thrive along with new opportunities for Illinois’ scholastic journalists.

“First held in 2006, the tournament continues to grow bringing student journalists from throughout the state together thanks to Sally’s Pioneer spirt and vision,” Zoller said. “Also, since taking the helm of the IJEA, the achievements of scholastic journalists are now recognized through new IJEA-sponsored contests for media staffs across the state.”

He also mentioned the importance of Renaud’s insights and guidance during Illinois’ push for HB-5902, the Speech Rights for Scholastic Journalism Act in 2016, were a major contribution to the successful passage and signing of the bill.

“I, along with fellow NSPA Pioneer Brenda Field, worked closely with Sally throughout the entire process,” Zoller said. “Her passion for a free and independent scholastic press was reflected in her tireless efforts on behalf of the bill — which is now law in Illinois.”

Linda Drake, of Chase County Jr./Sr. High School, Cottonwood Falls, Kan., said during her tenure at Emporia State University, Renaud fostered the love for scholastic journalism through her teaching, through her help with so many Kansas Scholastic Press Association activities as well as mentoring of many already in the field.

“There are so many outstanding journalism advisers because of Sally Renaud,” Drake said. “Sally is the epitome of what the NSPA Pioneer Award represents.”

Retired journalism teacher Wayne Brasler had this to say about Renaud: “What has impressed me most is her talent for involving newcomers to our field with warmth and enthusiasm. She also is gracious, impressive and generous. The value she holds for the ability of high school and college journalism to transform lives both of the new talent coming in and those who use the media in their daily lives is inspirational.”

NSPA Pioneer Candace Perkins Bowen said Renaud is a valuable resource for those involved in scholastic media in Illinois and far beyond. She pointed to Renaud’s delight in watching students get their first bylines and their first major stories. Bowen added, “It’s that student-centered approach, no matter the age of the students, that sets Sally Renaud apart and makes her a true Pioneer in our field.”

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