Standing Committees

  • Executive Committee

    • Jeanne Acton, president, University Interscholastic League, Austin, Texas
    • Elizabeth Smith, president-elect, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California
    • Chuck Clark, treasurer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green
    • Elisia Cohen, past president, University of Minnesota
    • Amy DeVault, Wichita State University (Kansas)
    • Mitch Eden, Kirkwood High School (Missouri)
  • NSPA Board of Directors

    NSPA’s board of directors plays a crucial role in determining the mission of NSPA, ensuring that the organization continues to operate in the best interest of past, present and future members.

  • Jeanne Acton, president

    Jeanne Acton started at the University Interscholastic League, one of the largest scholastic press programs in the nation, in 2004. In addition to UIL journalism director, she is director of the Interscholastic League Press Conference, which sponsors yearbook, broadcast, and print and online newspaper competitions for Texas middle and high schools.

    Acton started her journalism career as a sophomore in high school when she heard the Journalism I class was a blow-off. It was not. She loved the work and stayed for the next three years, working her way up to editor-in-chief of the Duncanville High School newspaper, Panther Prints.

    After high school, Acton earned her bachelor's degree in journalism and master's in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin. During her undergraduate studies, Acton worked for the Daily Texan, the UT student newspaper. She started as a designer and reporter and finished her four-year stint as the managing editor.

    After a short run at a community newspaper and a few internships, Jeanne started teaching journalism. During her decade of teaching, she advised newspaper, broadcast, and yearbook programs and coached softball at Lyndon Baines Johnson High School in Austin, Texas. As the newspaper adviser, her students won top awards at both the state and national level.

    In 2017, she won the Pioneer Award from National Scholastic Press Association and the Medal of Merit from Journalism Education Association.

    After a decade in the classroom, Acton was an assistant principal for three years.

    These days, when Acton isn't in the classroom as part of her UIL leadership role, she continues to teach writing and still practices the trade on a regular basis. She both freelances and keeps a semi-regular blog.

  • Elizabeth Smith, president-elect

    Elizabeth R. Smith is an assistant professor of communication at Pepperdine University, Malibu, California, and director of Pepperdine Graphic Media.

    She has 17 years of experience teaching a variety of journalism and media courses at Pepperdine, as well as advising the Graphic and directing Pepperdine Graphic Media.

    She has nearly 20 years of professional experience in the journalism industry, including print, web and broadcast news.

    She is an award-winning journalist, and in 2010 won an Emmy for her work on the breaking-news coverage of Michael Jackson's death.

    Smith was named a Kopenhaver Center Fellow for 2017. Smith has partnered with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on the topics of news literacy and understanding the spread of fake news. Her current research includes news literacy, Communities of Practice in student newsrooms, accuracy in the news, and technology and innovation in newsrooms and journalism programs.

    Smith earned her bachelor’s in journalism from Harding University. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from Pepperdine University.

  • Chuck Clark, treasurer

    Chuck Clark is the director of WKU Student Publications at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green.

    He manages the operation that publishes the College Heights Herald and WKUHerald.com, WKU’s student-run news operation; Talisman life and culture magazine and WKUTalisman.com companion website; Cherry Creative, a specialty content agency, and Student Publications Advertising.

    Clark leads a staff of six professionals advising students who have editorial independence and control over the publications.

    The College Heights Herald and the Talisman are two of the nation’s most honored college media outlets. Together, the publications have 37 national Pacemaker Awards, the top honor for student-run publications – 20 for Talisman and 17 for the Herald. Both publications are in the Associated Collegiate Press Hall of Fame.

    Before joining WKU in July 2012, Clark was managing editor at The Birmingham News in Alabama from 2006-2012, where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of a newsroom with more than 140 journalists. During his tenure, The News won numerous national awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting (2007) and the Associated Press Managing Editors Public Service Award (2007) for its probe into corruption and cronyism in Alabama’s community college system; and the Green Eyeshade Award (2012) for Reinventing Our Community, an innovative interactive project exploring metro Birmingham’s longstanding and unsolved challenges. The News also was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service in 2007.

    Clark previously was news editor, national/foreign editor and metro editor at the Orlando Sentinel in Florida; associate managing editor at The Indianapolis Star; metro editor at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.; government editor at The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina; and regional editor at The Tennessean in Nashville. He also has edited or reported for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida; The Evansville Courier in Indiana; and The Gleaner in Henderson, Ky.

    Clark has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from WKU and is a native of Owensboro, Kentucky. He has served on the boards of the Kentucky Press Association; the Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association; Landmark Association of Bowling Green; The Literacy Council of Central Alabama; Leadership Birmingham; and the WKU Alumni Association.

    He also is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of News Design, College Media Association, Rotary and has served on advisory panels for Associated Collegiate Press and the Journalism Professional Advisory Committee for the WKU School of Media.

  • Elisia Cohen, past president

    Elisia Cohen is currently the director of the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication, at the University of Minnesota. She is an award-winning administrator and researcher.

    At the University of Kentucky, in Lexington, she tackled financial issues, increased alumni engagement, and made diversity and student success priorities of her leadership.

    In 2016 Cohen won the Mayhew Derryberry award from the American Public Health Association. She also was the recipient of the 2014 Sarah Bennett Holmes Leadership Award at the University of Kentucky.

    Cohen earned a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, an MA from Wake Forest and her BA in political science from the University of Louisville.

  • Michelle Coro

    Michelle Coro, a certified journalism educator, has led multimedia programs at Desert Vista High School for 17 years as an advisor for the Thunder Vision, View Newspaper, Storm Yearbook and the DVthundermedia.com website media programs.

    She encourages students to explore areas of media production including writing, videography, graphic design, digital photography and technology in all her classes. In addition to her courses, Coro has served as one of the school’s web directors and the administrative council team, as well as the district’s Career and Technology Education media advisory council and the Arizona State Interscholastic Press Association board. In addition to her current duties at the high school, she is an adjunct professor teaching print publications at Grand Canyon University in the College of Fine Arts and Production.

    Coro earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism with a minor in communication from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 1990 and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in technology from the University of Phoenix in 2000. Her work as a professional journalist in broadcast and print media before becoming an educator includes the police/fire beat as a news reporter for the Tribune Newspapers and work in front of and behind the camera for stations KYMA-TV, KSAZ-TV and WDAF-TV.

    She left the newsroom to teach English and journalism at Ruskin High School, as well as Highland and Mesquite high schools before arriving at Desert Vista, where her focus has been the Thunder Media Information program, which emphasizes convergent, multimedia journalism. Coro incorporates a wealth of knowledge, experience and contacts into her classroom and does so through an affinity to technology tools and toys. Coro’s scholastic journalism efforts were recognized by being named the Freeman Hover Arizona Adviser of the Year for 2014. Her news team won a Rocky Mountain Student Production Emmy in 2019.

    She has several years of participation on the NSPA board, the Arizona Interscholastic Press Association board, the Journalism Education Association Journalist of the Year committee. She is a founding member of Scholastic Journalism Institute and is on the Jostens National Summer Workshop team at the University of San Diego and is a consultant for numerous workshops and seminars, including teaching broadcast at the Virginia High School League, and is an ASNE Reynolds HSJ Institute alum.

    Because she advises new media, she believes in possibilities and that trying something different is never far from reach. "I'm busy and blessed!" is Coro's mantra.

  • Amy DeVault

    Amy DeVault is a faculty member in the Elliott School of Communication, at Wichita State University (Kansas), and is the faculty adviser to The Sunflower newspaper.

    She teaches classes in journalism and visual communication, and she is co-founder and instructor of the popular Flint Hills Media Project — an immersive, multi-media storytelling project class.

    DeVault began advising The Sunflower in 2016, but she has taught at state and national student media workshops for nearly 20 years. She has been recognized by both Kansas Scholastic Press Association and Journalism Education Association as a Friend of Scholastic Journalism. DeVault serves as an officer for the Kansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and joined the NSPA/ACP board of directors in 2019.

    Before joining the faculty at Wichita State in 2007, Amy worked at The Wichita Eagle as a news designer. She earned an Award of Excellence from the Society for News Design for her work on the paper’s coverage of the serial killer BTK.

    DeVault began her career as a high school journalism teacher and publications adviser at El Dorado High School (Kansas). She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Fort Hays State University (Kansas) and a master’s degree in journalism from Kansas State University, and she worked for the college newspapers at both universities.

  • Mitch Eden

    Mitch Eden, MJE, is in his 24th year teaching, the past 14 at Kirkwood (Missouri) High School. He advises The Kirkwood Call newsmagazine, Pioneer yearbook and TheKirkwoodCall.com website.

    Eden is a former Dow Jones News Fund National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year. He received the National Scholastic Press Association’s Pioneer Award, Journalism Education Association Medal of Merit and Society of Professional Journalists Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award. He has also served as Journalism Education Association Secretary and Missouri Journalism Education Association president.

  • Gayle "G.G." Golden

    Gayle Golden is a senior lecturer at the University of Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication (HSJMC), where she has been teaching in various capacities since 1998.

    In 2017, she was named a Morse Alumni Distinguished University Teacher for her outstanding support of undergraduate education and has served on a range of university policy and curriculum committees to advance student learning and well-being.

    Golden is also an award-winning freelance writer for magazines and news organizations with more than 35 years of news and feature writing experience. Her work history includes stints as a contract freelancer for The New York Times, a national staff and science writer The Dallas Morning News and a parenting columnist for Dallas Family magazine.

    She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

    Golden also serves on board of the student-run Minnesota Daily, where she was chair for four years and is now secretary and director of training for student leadership. She also serves as an adviser to the board of Minnesota Media and Publishing Association and coordinates a student chapter of that organization at the HSJMC.

  • Laurie Hansen

    Laurie Hansen, MJE, has advised the Kabekonian yearbook and Stylus creative arts magazine at Stillwater Area High School in Stillwater, Minnesota, for 30 years.

    She also advised the Pony Express newspaper for 10 years. She has been through censorship and lived to tell the tale. Her staff's publications have won state and national Best of Show awards as well as Crown and Pacemaker awards.

    She teaches journalism and English 12 in her spare time. She is the Minnesota state director for JEA, and served as the co-chair of the 2011 JEA/NSPA Minneapolis Fall Convention.

    Hansen was named an NSPA Pioneer in 2005 and the Minnesota Journalism Educator of the year in 2008. She serves on the board of directors for the National Scholastic Press Association and on the judges board for the NSPA.  

  • Meghan Percival

    Meghan Percival, MJE, teaches photojournalism and AP Psychology and advises the Caledonia yearbook staff at McLean H.S. in Fairfax County, Virginia. Caledonia has been recognized with the NSPA Pacemaker and CSPA Gold Crown and was inducted into the NSPA Hall of Fame.

    In addition to serving on the board of directors for NSPA, she is the executive director of the Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisers and was the local chair of the 2019 NSPA/JEA Fall High School Journalism Convention.

    A frequent presenter at NSPA/JEA conventions as well as local, state and regional workshops, Percival loves helping staffs work on coverage and improving storytelling in their publications. Percival also critiques publications for NSPA and CSPA and does on-site critiques at conventions.

    Percival received a Gold Key from Columbia Scholastic Press Association in 2013, was a 2014 JEA Distinguished Adviser a 2018 JEA Medal of Merit Recipient and a 2019 NSPA Pioneer Award winner.

  • Becky Tate

    Becky Lucas Tate has advised both the award-winning newspaper and yearbook at Shawnee Mission North High School (Kansas) for the past 30 years.

    Journalism Education Association named her the 2019 H.L. Hall National Yearbook Adviser of the Year, and she is a Special Recognition Adviser in newspaper by the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and in yearbook by JEA. She has received the Engel Award for the Outstanding Kansas Journalism Teacher of the Year from the Kansas Associated Collegiate Press.

    In addition, she received a CSPA Gold Key and JEA Medal of Merit.

    Tate’s staffs consistently earn All-American and Medalist ratings along with Crown and Pacemaker awards, and she a long-time instructor at the Gloria Shields/NSPA Media Workshop.

    She serves as president of Kansas Scholastic Press Association.

  • Charlie Weaver

    Charlie Weaver represents College Media Business and Advertising Managers on the NSPA/ACP board of directors. Weaver is president-elect of CMBAM, a partner with Associated Collegiate Press in the midwinter College Journalism Convention.

    Weaver is general manager and executive director of the Minnesota Daily, which serves the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus. A graduate of Iowa State University, he has worked in printing and publishing for more than two decades, as a graphic designer, art director, press operator, copy editor, design editor, managing editor, online director and publisher. Prior to the Minnesota Daily, he was president/publisher of the Emerald Media Group, the student-media organization at the University of Oregon, in Eugene, and design/online/social media/production director at the Iowa State Daily.

    He is past president of the Western Association of University Publications Managers and former vice president of CMBAM.