After years serving as Executive Director of Public Engagement for Jackson Public Schools, Sherwin Johnson was named the 2021 Mississippi School Public Relations Association Communicator of the Year.
The MSPRA Communicator of the Year is the top competition in Mississippi recognizing one outstanding professional in school communications. The recipient is someone who is dedicated to school public relations issues and is willing to grow professionally. According to the contest criteria, the potential applicant pool is far reaching. This contest is open to all public or private schools or districts, including special schools such as vocational-technical institutes, regional or county education service agencies, education agencies and private businesses serving as partners with those organizations.
“An enormous amount of messaging is thrown at him daily for dissemination,” said Dr. William Merritt, JPS Chief of Staff. “Sherwin’s poised response and measured approach to our frequent, often time-sensitive, requests are exceptional. Besides his exemplary public relations work, I am most proud of Sherwin’s commitment to service as a volunteer in the community and a mentor to our scholars.”
As executive director, Johnson manages a team of more than 20 members and conducts the internal and external flow of communications to various audiences. Prior to his promotion to this role in 2014, Johnson was the communications specialist for the department. He became a well-known local journalist while serving as a news videographer for WJTV Channel 12, broadcast news writer/producer for WAPT Channel 16 and WLBT Channel 3, and assistant production manager for WJSU TV 23. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio/TV/Film from the University of Southern Mississippi and is pursuing a master’s degree from Jackson State University in Mass Communications. He actively serves as a member of the board of deacons at Black’s Chapel Baptist Church, as a member of the board of directors for Ballet Mississippi, and as a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Johnson is the son of Ralph Johnson and the grandson of the late William and Mary Johnson. He is also a 1990 graduate of S.D. Lee High School and former member of Missionary Union Baptist Church. Johnson and his wife, Vera, reside in Clinton, MS. They have two children. Their daughter, Madison, is a junior dance education major at the University of Southern Mississippi. Their son, William, is a high school junior.
The awards were presented during the MSPRA Awards of Excellence luncheon held Wednesday, October 27. The Awards of Excellence recognizes outstanding school communications programs and campaigns. This year’s event was MSPRA’s first in-person program since 2020 and included two years of accomplishments for school PR teams across the state submitting entries for each award category.