Best Practices for Responding to Your Critics

Best Practices for Responding to Your Critics

ESO Communications consultants Susan Brott, APR, and Julie Thannum, APR, will facilitated the “The Fires are Burning and The Waves are High: Best Practices for Responding to Your Critics” webinar on Thursday, November 18, 2021.


There have always been critics of public education, but the current politicized climate has made navigating the waters a bit more rocky for school leaders. Whether the conversation is heating up about mask mandates, what’s being taught, how students are learning, or your district’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, opponents are organizing and responding in ways that can distract and disrupt your mission-driven work to support every student.

In this session, Brott and Thannum will share effective messaging and communication strategies that can help school leaders and board members proactively promote a positive narrative around their district’s decisions and strategic work while also lessening the need to react and respond to negative and inaccurate messaging.

Participants will gain insight into the well-organized strategies of opposition groups. They will also learn best practices for responding to critics and how to lower the temperature and navigate through difficult conversations with credibility by focusing on transparency, truth and by cultivating long-term trust.


Susan Brott has more than 20 years of experience working in school districts as a strategic communications professional. Prior to joining CESO Communications in April 2020, Susan served as a communications director in four Minneapolis-St. Paul area school districts.

Julie Thannum has more than 30 years of experience working as a strategic problem-solver and communications advisor. Prior to joining CESO, she served as the assistant superintendent for board and community relations for a high-performing K-12 public school district in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

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