The Illinois Press Foundation is honored to have a 2018 national award-winner on its board! Sally Renaud was one of five educators recognized by the National Scholastic Press Association as Pioneer Award recipients. Sally was awarded Nov. 3 during the JEA/NSPA convention in Chicago.
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.
“These Pioneers represent the best of the best in the country,” NSPA Executive Director Laura Widmer said.
Renaud has been executive director of the Illinois Journalism Education Association since January 2005, learning early on from press association veterans Randy Swikle, Susan Tantillo, Linda Jones and Dave Porreca. During her tenure, the organization and board have created an annual statewide onside contest with the Illinois High School Association, created an All-State Journalism Team and training partnership with the Illinois Press Foundation, 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 spirit 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, Kansas, 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 mentioned in a video clip on the Eastern Illinois University’s Journalism Department page, Renaud explains what she enjoys most about teaching: “I love watching students practice…get their first bylines, their first great 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.”