This spring the ESD 112 Communications team was honored with several prestigious awards from international, national, and state organizations for their work in partnership with ESD programs, school districts, and other educational organizations in the Southwest Washington region and across the state.

International Hermes Creative Awards

Hermes Creative Awards 2023 Platinum Winner Team Body of WorkIn April, the ESD 112 Communications team learned they were awarded a prestigious Hermes Platinum Team Achievement Award for their body of work displayed on their newly re-branded portfolio site The Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition administered by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP) for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing, and design of traditional and emerging media. They recognize outstanding work in the industry while promoting the philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals. Hermes is one of the largest and most established creative competitions in the world with winners including media conglomerates to Fortune 500 companies.

“I was excited to nominate our Communications team for a Hermes Creative Award, and I am not at all surprised that they received the highest honor,” said ESD 112 Superintendent Tim Merlino. “I am extremely proud of the work that our Communications staff does for school districts and ESD programs and how they rise to any challenge to be leaders in education communications.”

According to Hermes, only about 16 percent of entries receive Platinum, the top award, and around 22 percent the Gold Award. Approximately 9 percent receive Honorable Mention. The international organization consists of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, digital media production, and freelance professionals. Hermes judges are industry professionals who look for organizations and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry. Being a Platinum or Gold Winner is a tremendous achievement.

In addition to the Platinum Team Achievement award, two members of the ESD 112 team, Melissa Burt and Fred Gunnerson, received a Gold Award for a pro bono drone video they made for a local theater group through volunteer work.

National School Public Relations Association Awards

In mid-June, the team also received word that they won top awards in two categories from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA).

The first, an esteemed Golden Achievement Award for their communications campaign, “ESD 112 Communications: The Answer is Yes,” recognizes exemplary work in all aspects of school public relations, communication, marketing, and engagement, as well as a critical understanding of the communications planning process.

The second honor, awarded for their blog, is a Publications and Digital Media Excellence Award, recognized for outstanding education publications and marketing/informational materials (print and electronic), video/TV/radio programs, social media, and websites.

“These incredible honors are thanks to hard work, talent, and invaluable partnerships,” said Monique Dugaw, executive director of communications & public engagement. “Our team has amazingly talented people who have built outstanding relationships and trust with the people and programs we serve. This collaboration is a winning combination, and these honors would not be possible without the trust our partners place in our team to bring their vision to life.”

Washington School Public Relations Association (WSPRA) Awards

The ESD 112 Communications team was also recognized statewide at the Washington School Public Relations Association conference on April 27 with numerous awards, including an Award of Excellence, Best in Show, for their re-designed portfolio website and communications newsletter. They received another Award of Excellence, Best in Show, for the website they built in collaboration with NWESD 189 for Meridian School District.

To view the award-winning website, visit: