Copperas Cove school district public information officer Olga Peña-Gaede was named the 2014 Texas Schools Public Relations Association Rookie of the Year in a ceremony Feb. 18.

The award criterion calls for a public relations professional who exhibits an “outstanding, dedicated and creative approach to school communications in their first 36 months.” Peña said she did not expect the distinction and was humbled.

“I was absolutely thrilled and honored at being named TSPRA’s Rookie of the Year,” she said. “It is such a blessing to be acknowledged for simply doing what you love. It is my privilege daily to spread the incredible good news of CCISD and its stars — students and teachers.”

Just shy of her 17-month anniversary on the job, Peña faced a major school crisis when more than 20 bomb threats were received in the district in December 2012. She also set a new precedent when she established monthly Board Briefs and Keeping Connected school newsletters.

Joe Burns, superintendent of Copperas Cove Independent School District, applauded Peña’s newsletter.

“She’s doing a fantastic job,” he wrote in an email. “She’s truly making an impact in CCISD.”

Colby Blackwell, principal of Avenue E Alternative Learning Center, also wrote Peña has done a terrific job.

“I think as a district we have been more connected and informed this year,” he stated.

Patti Thomas, CCISD special education secretary, agreed. She said Peña did an awesome job keeping everyone informed. “(We’re) so glad she’s part of our family.”

Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro | Herald

A journalist by trade, Corinne has written for both the military and civilian populations. She has a Master's in Writing and Bachelor's in English. She is also a military spouse and her family is currently stationed at Fort Hood.

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