October 11, 2019 / News

Humphrey, Morgan among those named 2019 Pioneer winners by NSPA

Written by Evan Blackwell, CJE

The National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) announced Thursday that seven educators have been selected to receive 2019 Pioneer Awards, NSPA’s top individual honor. Among the winners were Joe Humphrey, the yearbook adviser at Walsworth school Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida; and Amy Morgan, yearbook adviser at Walsworth school Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, Kansas.

Each year, NSPA awards the Pioneers to people who have made a significant contribution to scholastic journalism beyond their regular job requirements.

Humphrey has worked at Hillsborough, where he advises the yearbook, newspaper and news website, since 2004. But he got his start as a reporter for local newspapers in the Tampa area, such as the Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times, which has allowed him to bring real-world skills into the classroom. Humphrey has also worked as the president of the Florida Scholastic Press Association.

Morgan has helped jump-start and increase enrollment in the journalism program at Shawnee Mission West in her time at the school, which is known for its socioeconomic and racial diversity. She has also been an active leader at the local level, serving on the board of the Kansas Scholastic Press Association. In 2014, she was chosen as Special Recognition in the JEA Adviser of the Year program.

Paul Kandell, a journalism instructor who advises the newspaper and features magazine at Walsworth school Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, California, was also named a Pioneer winner.

The rest of this year’s Pioneer winners include:

  • Michelle Balmeo, West Albany High School
  • Sharon Martin, Wichita East High School
  • Meghan Percival, McLean High School
  • Scott Winter, Bethel University

The 2019 Pioneer winners will be recognized at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in November in Washington, D.C.

NSPA maintains a composite plaque of all Pioneer winners at their headquarters in Minneapolis. Candidates are nominated by previous Pioneer winners and NSPA board members.


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Evan Blackwell, CJE

Evan Blackwell, CJE, is the Marketing Automation Supervisor for Walsworth. He's been a writer, editor and web content specialist for Walsworth for the past 15+ years, and is the author of the Yearbook Suite's "The Art of the Interview" unit. Prior to joining Walsworth, Blackwell spent five years as an award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.