PR with Panache! Strengthens Creative Team with Addition of Ed Tech Editor Chris Piehler

Former editor-in-chief of  THE Journal joins award-winning education-focused PR & storytelling firm

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN (Sept 30, 2015) PR with Panache! (PRP), an award-winning, Minnesota-based PR firm focused on the education marketplace, is thrilled to welcome Chris Piehler as the firm’s newest modern-day storyteller.

In his 19 years of magazine experience, Piehler has written and edited for a wide range of consumer and B2B titles including RacquetThe GolferChanceMoving Pictures, and Orthodontic Products. Most recently, he spent three years as the editor of the esteemed K-12 ed tech publication THE Journal, where his work included writing, editing, presenting at conferences, and hosting webinars and custom events.

“We are excited that Chris has joined our team to support the continued growth we are seeing with existing and new clients,” said Sue Hanson, PRP’s founder and managing partner. “The education industry marketing channels are becoming more diverse and demand new levels of expertise to maintain effectiveness. As PRP’s Lead Storyteller, Chris brings yet another creative layer to our team, allowing us to deliver the best storytelling, strategic marketing, and public relations results for our client family.”

As PRP’s Lead Storyteller, Piehler will manage all of the firm’s writing and editing projects, from blog posts to whitepapers. A published playwright and stand-up comedian, Piehler has been telling stories his whole life, and looks forward to bringing excitement and a sense of joy to his role at PRP.

“Over the past few years, I’ve been so inspired by the ways that technology is transforming education,” Piehler said. “I look forward to supporting our entire client family in telling their ed tech stories in the most engaging, meaningful way possible, whether that’s a timely press release, a story to be published, or a meticulously planned in-person event.”

PR with Panache! was recently awarded the title of education’s best PR firm by EdTech Digest, an honor that we share with our entire team of storytellers. For more than 20 years, PRP has been telling the stories of our education clients, because at the end of the day, what is more memorable than a great story?

To learn more about PR with Panache! and how we can tell your story, visit

For more information about Chris Piehler, visit our storyteller’s page.

About PR with Panache!

PR with Panache! is a bold, fast-moving public relations and strategic marketing firm for the education marketplace with an international reputation for smart, entrepreneurial communications, content marketing, product publicity, and brand awareness. Its success is built on the achievements of its clients. Its team consistently delivers explosive results.

The firm speaks the right language as it expands client brands, supports PR and marketing, or launches new products through long-established media relationships. Recently named the Best PR firm in Education by EdTech Digest, PR with Panache! is the premiere Modern-Day Storytelling firm for the education marketplace.


C. Blohm & Associates Promotes Hafenbredl to New Strategic Role

Madison, Wis. (Sept. 30, 2015) – C. Blohm & Associates, Inc. (CB&A), the premier public relations firm for the education and special needs industries, announces the promotion of Saul Hafenbredl to PR Strategy Manager. In this role, Hafenbredl will support the design and execution of visibility campaigns for CB&A’s entire client family.

“Saul has an unparalleled gift for generating story leads and communication programs. Lending his expertise to our clients in the Special Needs and Education Divisions will help us exceed key performance indicators for our clients,” said CB&A’s President and Founder Charlene Blohm. “As Saul transitions to his new role, the entire client family will be able to benefit from his wealth of knowledge.”

By creating the PR Strategy Manager position, CB&A is doubling-down on its commitment to crafting thoughtful, effective visibility campaigns that generate tangible results for clients. Today’s increasingly complex and fragmented media landscape requires nuanced, tailored programs, and the addition of this role enables CB&A to provide clients with dynamic service and visibility support.

“This is an exciting move for me personally, but even more so for the agency and our clients,” Hafenbredl said. “Strategy is the foundation of every successful program, and that requires dedicated time, energy and resources.”

Hafenbredl joined CB&A in 2011 as a PR & Social Media Account Coordinator, and was promoted to Account Executive in 2012 and Account Manager in 2014. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

About C. Blohm & Associates, Inc.

C. Blohm & Associates, Inc., is the premier public relations firm specializing in visibility campaigns for the education and special needs industries. This award-winning agency creates visibility campaigns that drive results for clients. Passion, imagination and commitment are hallmarks of this dynamic team that focuses on the importance of providing everyone with the chance to learn. CB&A crafts customized integrated marketing communications that resonate with influencers and drive results for clients, because after all, Visibility Matters. For more information, visit


Author Laurie Halse Anderson Honored with Award: NCTE

Laurie Halse Anderson, an icon of young adult literature and an advocate for students and their rights to read her books and others like them, will accept the NCTE National Intellectual Freedom Award in November at the NCTE Annual Convention ( in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous national and state awards, as well as international recognition. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. She was honored with the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award given by the YALSA division of the American Library Association for her “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.”

Since its publication release in 1999, Speak has been challenged on its content about rape, sexual assault, and suicidal thoughts. In fact, one Missouri professor wanted the book banned from the Republic School District because he considered the two rape scenes “soft pornography.” In her monograph, Laurie Halse Anderson: Speaking in Tongues, Wendy J. Glenn claims that Speak “has generated more academic response than any other novel Anderson has written.” Still, despite the ensuing controversies, English teachers continue to teach Speak in their classroom.

“Our books have to be honest to connect to teenagers today,” Anderson has said when talking about censorship. Students “need us to be brave enough to give them great books so they can grow into the strong women and men they need to be.”

For her outspoken defense of adolescents’ right to read, the NCTE Standing Committee Against Censorship is honored to present Laurie Halse Anderson with the 2015 National Intellectual Freedom Award. Anderson will receive the award on Saturday, November 21, during an awards session scheduled for 8:00 a.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Honorable Mentions have been awarded to Margaret Ford of Campbell, Ohio, and Rod Wagner of Lincoln, Nebraska.

The National Council of Teachers of English (, with 30,000 individual and institutional members worldwide, is dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of English.

Contact NCTE Communications: Millie Davis,, 217-278-3634 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting



Community College Default Rates Down, But Remain Higher Than Other Sectors
ACCT urges Congress and the Department of Education to do more to help low-debt borrowers.
WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the Department of Education (ED) released official FY2012 cohort default rates (CDRs), which count the number of borrowers who defaulted on federal student loans within three years of entering repayment. The rate for all community colleges is 19.1%, down from 20.6 percent for FY2011. Some community colleges have struggled to keep their rates low due to low borrowing rates; only a few additional students in a college’s numerator can drastically increase the school’s default rate.
“I’m proud of the work community colleges have done to improve student repayment outcomes,” said ACCT president and CEO J. Noah Brown. “Still, our colleges have had to invest significant resources to meet a metric that is ill-suited to our sector and doesn’t acknowledge that most of our students do not borrow.”
Overall, only 17 percent of community college students borrow federal loans, compared with 48 percent of students at public four-year colleges, 60 percent of students at private non-profit colleges, and 71 percent of students at for-profit colleges. Because borrowers reflect such a small proportion of borrowers at community colleges, they offer limited information to consumers and judge institutions by only a small portion of their student bodies.
A Closer Look at the Trillion, an ACCT report that was released on Monday, also lends context to the new cohort default rates. By examining data from community colleges in Iowa, authors Colleen Campbell and Nicholas Hillman, Ph.D were able to identify several characteristics of defaulted borrowers. In particular, the report’s findings conclude that persistence and completion are significant predictors of default. Students who are older or lower-income are also more likely to default. “We must remain mindful of the individual and financial challenges that many community college students face in pursuing postsecondary education,” said Brown. “However, the lasting effects of default cannot be ignored, and we need to develop better federal policies so that students can borrow in a limited and responsible manner.”
Community colleges also face other challenges when it comes to managing default rates. Other sectors have managed large cohort default rate decreases or sustained low default rates in two ways: by increasing admissions standards to ensure students persist and complete, and by pouring resources into default management activities. These factors each decrease the risk of student defaults, but community colleges are open-access institutions that often lack resources to devote to managing defaults.
“Our institutions have worked diligently to reduce their rates despite limited resources,” said Jee Hang Lee, ACCT vice president for public policy and external relations. “We’ll continue to work at the institutional level, but federal policies also need to change to better support borrowers and institutions.”
ACCT Urges Additional Oversight of Loan Servicers
A Closer Look at the Trillion also highlights the importance of good servicing practices as a way of improving students’ repayment outcomes. Currently, the Department of Education contracts with 11 different loan servicing companies, which are responsible for collecting payments from borrowers, helping enroll them in different repayment plans, and informing them of their options. However, some servicers had significantly higher default rates than others, which could signal issues in how certain servicers contact borrowers and manage their portfolios. “Institutions are totally in the dark about what servicers are doing,” said Lee. “The Department of Education needs to publish default rates for each servicer and more information on servicer performance.”
Despite the important role of servicers, there is no current set of standards servicers must follow. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a reporton Tuesday that examined loan servicing and recommended that “baseline standards for conduct related to common market features should be clear and consistent.” The CFPB noted that lenders in other market-based products, such as credit cards and mortgages, must adhere to similar standards of service and due diligence, and that similar oversight can be applied to the student loan market.

For more background on cohort default rates, download a copy of ACCT’s new report, A Closer Look at the Trillion, available at

About ACCT
Founded in 1972, the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) is the nonprofit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees of community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond.  ACCT’s purpose is to strengthen the capacity of community, technical, and junior colleges and to foster the realization of their missions through effective board leadership at local, state, and national levels.  For more information, visit Follow ACCT on Twitter at