GOKey Communicators

Advocating for Public Education

⚙️ Systems Thinking 💻 Virtual 🆓 Free

What are GOKey Communicators?

The goal of the GOKey Communicators program is to bring together community members who are passionate about public education and want to make a difference in the lives of students in their communities. GOKey Communicators regularly contact regional legislators about:

  • the impact of proposed legislation on students in their communities

  • the importance of public education

  • the good things that are happening in their schools

For those committed to serving as GOKey Communicators, GOCSD provides training and a community of support.

Why Participate?

  • There is a need to build relationships with legislators and work together for the betterment of our students, even when there may be some disagreement.

  • Dialogue with legislators is more fruitful when led by engaged community members, as opposed to school administrators. Some legislators harbor negative perceptions about school leaders, which can result in the needs of students going unheard.

  • It is important to be informed about legislators' perceptions of public education and the pertinent legislative issues in the state and region as the legislative session begins in January.

  • GOKey Communicators can become a vital link between the educational community and those shaping legislative decisions.

  • This program provides the opportunity to stay connected, stay informed, and make a lasting impact on public education.

Who Should Participate?

GOKey Communicators are local community members, parents, retired educators, current educators, and preservice teachers who are interested in advocating for public education and the needs of students in their communities. District administrators are encouraged to participate to stay informed and connected with the work.

How do we get Started?

  1. District administrators identify potential candidates to serve as GOKey Communicators, share this webpage with them, and encourage them to register.

  2. District administrators register themselves in order to get the link to join the virtual sessions and be included in all communications.

If you are a school leader, educator or a community member invited by a district administrator, please use the button below to register if you wish to participate. If you have already served as a GOKey Communicator and wish to serve again this school year, you will need to register.

3 Components

For those GOCSD Members who wish to participate, we organize free training and on-going support and opportunities to connect with legislators. The GOKey Communicators program provides participants with the knowledge, skills, and support they need to advocate for students in their communities and public education. The program includes 3 components: Onboarding, Check-ins, and Jefferson City Field Trips.


This Onboarding session provides everything needed to get started as a GOKey Communicator.

  • Available On-Demand for those who register

  • Free for Members

During the Onboarding session participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of the GOKey Communicators program

  • Learn how to connect and build relationships with legislators

  • Be updated on critical legislative issues affecting our state and region

  • Learn how to effectively communicate with legislators


Participants will be invited to virtual bimonthly Check-in sessions to provide ongoing support.

  • Dates: Feb 13, Feb 20, Mar 19, Apr 2, Apr 9, Apr 23, May 7

  • 4:30-5 PM

  • Virtual

  • Free for Members

During Check-ins sessions participants will:

  • Share their advocacy experiences

  • Tackle challenges collaboratively

  • Receive real-time updates on legislative matters

Jefferson City Field Trip

In the spring, a Jefferson City Field Trip will provide the opportunity for participants to meet with legislators in person.

  • March 27, 2024

  • 10-2 PM

  • Jefferson Building, Jefferson City MO

  • Free and Available to GOKey Communicators and Superintendents

If you are a school leader, educator or a community member invited by a district leader, please use the button below to register if you wish to participate. If you have already served as a GOKey Communicator and wish to serve again this school year, you will need to register.

Guest Experts

Dr. Jason Dial

Dr. Jason Dial

Public Education Lobbyist for the Missouri Association of School Administrators
Public Sector Consultant, Trane Technologies
Founding Member of GOCSD

Dr. Jason Dial served students of Missouri for 28 years as a teacher/coach, building administrator, assistant superintendent and Superintendent of Schools in small rural schools to large urban districts across the state. Dr. Dial has represented public schools in the Capitol since 2009 working with legislators on behalf of the students and teachers in Missouri. Those efforts have resulted in passing legislation that benefit schools across the state as well as preventing legislation that would have been harmful to our public schools. Dr. Dial is retired but continues his passion for Missouri Students by serving as an assistant lobbyist for the Missouri Association of School Administrators in Southwest Missouri.

Sarah Booth Riss

Dr. Sarah Booth Riss

Director of the Missouri Superintendents Academy and facilitator of the Women in Leadership Initiative for MASA

Dr. Sarah Booth Riss is the Director of the Missouri Superintendents Academy and facilitator of the Women in Leadership Initiative for MASA. She is also a senior associate with Educational Equity Consultants providing diversity, equity, and inclusion learning experiences for school districts and other organizations. Dr. Riss has extensive experience as a classroom teacher, principal, central office administrator, superintendent, adjunct college professor, educational consultant and member of statewide committees focused on improving educational policy. She is retired as the superintendent for the Webster Groves School District. Sarah is committed to fostering a learning community that assists educators in their professional growth and their success as school leaders.

Dr. Pam Hedgpeth

Dr. Pam Hedgpeth

Executive Director, GOCSD

Dr. Pam Hedgpeth has a passion for education and has focused on training and supporting school leaders since her retirement from PK-12 public education. She loved her work as a twenty-eight-year public school educator and sees her current work as Executive Director of GOCSD a way to “give back” to a profession she loves.

She is a former superintendent of the Republic R-III Schools and prior to this position she held the titles of assistant superintendent, elementary principal and elementary teacher. Dr. Hedgpeth serves on staff at the National Center for Education and the Economy and engages in international research that focuses on a system approach for designing high performing education entities. Through this role she works with and supports school leaders across the nation in designing world class educational systems.

She was an integral part in developing the educational leadership doctorate program at Southwest Baptist University. She has served on several statewide committees for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She was also a former President of the Southwest Missouri Superintendent’s Association, founding member of the Republic Community Foundation, former member of Springfield’s Mayor’s Commission on Children, Greene County Library Foundation Board, Missouri Methodist Foundation Board and Ozark Empire Fair Foundation Board. Pam lives in Clever, Missouri on a farm with her husband Kent (a coach and former teacher). They have two daughters Josey McPhail and Molly Eulinger, both who are Missouri educators.

Public Education Proud Initiative

To advocate for Public Education at the local, state and national levels, GOCSD is providing members many opportunities to showcase what it means to be Public Education Proud (PEP). The Public Education Proud efforts includes: Teacher Proud Campaign, GOKey Communicators Program, GOInnovate Grant, and the Public School Proud Bulletin.

Teacher Proud

GOKey Communicators

GOInnovate Grant

Public School Proud Bulletin

GOLearn Professional Learning Framework


Our GOLearn PL Framework provides an overview of the learning experiences we offer. This systems approach supports continuous improvement and allows members to identify the offerings that meet their needs, providing a personalized experience. It includes three strands: Systems Thinking, Safe and Collaborative Culture, and Highly Effective Teaching and Leading.

We use the Learning Forward Standards for Professional Learning when designing our experiences to ensure that we provide professional learning that leads to high-quality leading, teaching, and learning for students and educators.

Review our GOLearn Framework to identify sessions that meet your needs, see what sessions are currently open for registration on our PL Events webpage, and access the content in our on-demand catalog to start learning now.