Joe Donzelli

Freelance Press Release Writer & Report Writer

Location:Lehigh Acres, Florida, United States
2 Skills

To join an organization where I can undertake a broader base of activities and make greater use of the extensive management and creative skills I have developed over the past 17+ years.

Highly motivated, creative and versatile communications professional with 17+ years of success in media relations, writing and communications (including crisis situations.) Especially skilled at building effective, productive working relationships with media, stakeholders, community members and staff. Achieved significant results in increasing effective communication practices and procedures. Highly motivated and ambitious, seeking a management position in the communications/media relations field that provides new challenges and an opportunity to use my high level of knowledge, skills and abilities.

11/05-present The School Board of Lee County, FL Fort Myers FL
Director, Communications & Printing Services

- Successfully serve as the Public Information Officer for Florida’s 9th-largest and the nation’s 40th-largest school district
- Responsible for the entire range of communications activities, including crisis communication
- Oversee a staff of 21 and manage a total departmental budget of approximately $1.75 million
- Relied upon to provide advice and counsel to senior managers and other administrators concerning public relations techniques & public relations aspects of the District's activities
- Created and implemented several Media Relations training workshops as well as used various techniques, including mock interviews, to effectively prepare senior managers and administrators for media interaction
- Successfully coordinate and guide communication efforts with media and other stakeholders on various informational campaigns, including those associated with technical and/or financial subject matters
- Actively monitor issues/subjects of potential interest to local media that involve the District and advise senior managers
- Highly successful in securing maximum media exposure for all important District accomplishments & newsworthy events
- Initiate strategic uses of communication to serve broad institutional goals
- Successfully prepare/organize press conferences, working with various outside agencies (Florida Governor’s & Lt. Governor’s office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Fl. Dept. of Education, U.S. Southern Command, state and national Departments of Health, local & state Emergency Operations Centers, etc.) when appropriate
- Continually strive to create & maintain effective working relationships with local, state & national media outlets – resulting in approximately 600 media contacts per year
- Relied upon for excellent writing skills, preparing numerous written & broadcast materials; press releases & media information guides; speeches/talking points for District officials; scripts for video features; employee newsletters; position papers; Op/Ed articles; Quarterly & Annual Reports; strategic communication plans; fact sheets/brochures; and more
- Oversee all official public information requests of the District – created a database to better track information requests (more than 400 requests for public records per year)
- Effectively oversee and guide District’s award-winning Internet Web site (, developing content, design & layout
- Developed iConnected, a Web site video section – write scripts, shoot and edit video for packages & work with District’s TV99 Cable Channel to adapt existing video packages for the Web
- Led the effort to establish District’s presence on social media Web sites, including Twitter, to disseminate information to a wider group of stakeholders
- Spearheaded the creation of the District’s Guidelines for Use of Social Media for Employees – received national acclaim
- Participate on District committees & represent the District at various events/functions as assigned

10/97-11/05 The School Board of Broward County, FL Fort Lauderdale FL
Specialist, Communications & Media Relations

- Public Information Officer responsible for internal/external communication for nation’s sixth-largest school district – Broward County, Florida’s single largest employer (30,000+ employees)
- Filled role of District spokesperson when appropriate
- Provided advice & counsel to District staff concerning public relations techniques & public relations aspects of the District's activities
- Assisted department director in supervising staff of seven employees
- Prepared & organized media briefings/press conferences
- Prepared District administrators for media interaction (conduct mock interviews, etc.)
- Conducted “How to Work With the Media” training seminars for administrators & Senior Level managers
- Worked within “Sunshine Laws” gathering/compiling data for news stories, arranging & conducting media briefings & interviews, fulfilling public record requests, etc.
- Created, implemented, & directed public relations programs that promoted positive reactions to Broward County Public Schools policies, programs & operations
- Created & maintained excellent working relationships with local, state & national media outlets
- Prepared & made presentations to various external groups about the public school system
- Developed & implemented the District's "Media Relations Made Easy" process
- Departmental liaison for District’s award-winning Internet Web site (, developed content, design & layout
- Developed & implemented NetTV, the District's award-winning Web-based video feature – also shot & edited video for NetTV
- Established & maintained clearinghouse for commonly requested information about the school system
- Coordinated several Districtwide events (Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year, etc.) overseeing all aspects of planning and execution

8/93-10/97 South Florida Sun-Sentinel Newspaper Fort Lauderdale, FL
Assistant Reporter (4/97-10/97); Editorial Assistant II (8/93-4/97)

- Job description formally changed (4/97) to properly reflect duties performed
- Primary beat was education in Broward County, FL – included public, private & parochial schools. Also filled General Assignment reporter role as assigned
- Wrote investigative, daily news & feature stories with a local, state & national perspective
- Freelanced for Sun-Sentinel’s Sports Department – coverage included high school athletics, professional basketball & other events as assigned
- Coordinated & wrote articles for weekly Community Schools section & special editions (Back to School, Summer Guide, etc.)

- Florida Atlantic University – Boca Raton, FL – Bachelor's degree in Communication – 5/95
- Broward Community College – Coconut Creek, Fl – Associate of Arts degree in Communication – 5/88
- St. Thomas Aquinas High School – Fort Lauderdale, FL – High School Diploma – 6/85

- Successfully completed National Incident Management Training (NIMS) 100ISC, 200a, 700a, 800b, MGT-100 WMD Training for Crisis Communication, MGT-313 WMD Incident Management/Unified Command & 400-ICS Advanced Incident Command Training
- Proficient in various computer software (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, Excel, FileMaker Pro, Final Cut Pro, iMovie and more)
- Excellent written communication skills (trained in Associated Press Writing Style)
- Excellent oral communication skills
- Excellent analytical skills – Able to take complex problems and break them down into understandable components
- Drive and determination – possess a desire to get things done
- Shoot, edit video and write scripts for video features
- Ability to work on numerous tasks simultaneously & under extreme deadline pressure
- Ease in working with media (print & broadcast) - Excellent interview skills, including live broadcasts
- Ability to communicate with variety of stakeholders/audiences
- Ability to effectively interact with all types of personalities

- Sunshine State School Public Relations Association (SUNSPRA) – member
- National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) – member
- Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) – member
- Southeast Regional Domestic Security Taskforce – former member
- Florida Public Information Officers Association (FlPIOA)– former member

- Kirk Englehardt, Director of Communication, Georgia Tech Research Institute, 404–385–0280
- Merrie Meyers-Kershaw, Director, Community Involvement, Broward County Public Schools, 754–321–1970
- Robert Dodig, Esq., Staff Attorney, Lee County Public Schools,239–335–1446

Writing Samples/Media Clips Available Upon Request

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(239) 337-8650 [OFFICE]