NSPA 2012 Pioneer Award winners

Five people committed to improving scholastic journalism through decades of service have been selected to receive the NSPA Pioneer Award, NSPA’s top honor to individuals. It recognizes substantial contributions to scholastic journalism outside regular job requirements as well as service to NSPA and its programs. The 2012 recipients are:

Jane Blystone, Ph.D., director of graduate secondary education and assistant professor at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., has advocated for student journalists through varied roles in education. For 29 years, she taught English and journalism at North East High School in Pennsylvania, until retiring in 2008. She has served on the North East School Board since 2009. In addition to advanced degrees in English, Blystone holds a K-12 principal’s certification. Blystone is a Master Journalism Educator through the Journalism Education Association and serves that organization as director for its northeast region.

Vincent F. Filak, Ph.D., associate professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, is an award-winning teacher, scholar and adviser. He advises the Advance-Titan newspaper and previously advised the Daily News at Ball State University. He has conducted scholarly research about scholastic journalism, taught at conventions and summer workshops and completed more than 100 critiques just in the past two years. He previously served as vice president of College Media Advisers.

Peggy Gregory is a language arts specialist in the Dysart Unified School District in Surprise, Ariz., but for 35 years she taught English and journalism at Greenway High School in Phoenix, where she founded and advised the Pacemaker Award-winning Demon Dispatch newspaper. Gregory was an active member of the Arizona Interscholastic Press Association, which she served as president. She volunteered in key leadership positions on the local organizing committees for three JEA/NSPA conventions in Phoenix. Gregory is a Certified Journalism Educator from JEA and is active in its mentoring program.

Lori Keekley teaches journalism and advises the Pacemaker Award-winning Echo newspaper and companion website at Saint Louis Park High School in Minnesota. She was also an adviser in Indiana and worked for NSPA as director of national contests and critiques. She has served as a convention speaker, workshop instructor, contest judge and critique evaluator. She also co-chaired the local team for the 2011 JEA/NSPA Minneapolis convention. For JEA, she serves on the Scholastic Press Rights Commission and is a Master Journalism Educator.

Jim Streisel, teacher and adviser at Carmel High School in Indiana since 1995, is the author of two books on scholastic journalism. His students at the HiLite newspaper and website have earned multiple Best of Show trophies, Pacemaker Awards and individual awards for both print and digital work. Streisel has taught for NSPA’s workshops and at state summer workshops. For JEA, he has facilitated the National Journalism Professional Learning Community and is a Master Journalism Educator.

These five individuals will be honored at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in San Antonio at the adviser luncheon Nov. 17.

NSPA maintains a composite plaque of Pioneers and displays it at the JEA/NSPA national conventions. Candidates are nominated and selected by previous Pioneer Award winners.

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