Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy’s Steady Enrollment Growth
In 2016, Michelle Salyer, director of marketing and communications at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, FL, reached out to me to discuss her school’s needs. The school’s enrollment had experienced decline. As a result of our partnership through my Enrollment Catalyst Program and the focused work of the HTEA team, the enrollment has now grown by nearly 6% from 829 in 2016 to its post-recession high of 876 this year.
The following is an interview with Michelle to learn more about the HTEA story of growth.
Describe your school’s enrollment and marketing situation before you hired Rick Newberry and Enrollment Catalyst:
“Holy Trinity had suffered a decline in enrollment due to several factors, beginning with the recession of 2008. A beloved head of school retired in 2013 after 25 years and the school went through two new heads in four years. During the tenure of one of the intermediate heads of school, a well-liked coach was let go, resulting in the loss of dozens of families.”
Why did you decide to partner with Rick Newberry and Enrollment Catalyst?
“Holy Trinity received a generous donation from a school grandparent that was specifically earmarked for marketing. Before deciding how to spend this budget, we decided to consult with Rick to make sure we were spending it wisely.”
What were the results of working with Enrollment Catalyst? What were your greatest accomplishments?
“Holy Trinity is now experiencing its highest enrollment since the recession of 2008. We have had a new, long-term head of school (president) in place for the past two years, which has lent an air of stability and calm to the school; however, our increased marketing efforts have also played a large role in this success. We have implemented virtually all of Rick’s suggestions, and created a new air of optimism and excitement for the school that is contagious.”
What did you like best about working with Rick Newberry?
“Rick provided a thorough presentation about what we were doing, what was working well, what was not working well, and ideas and examples for improvement. He continues to provide input, advice and feedback to former clients. His Enrollment Catalyst Facebook group allows past and current clients to talk with each other to ask for advice and share best practices. He provided an impartial opinion in terms of staffing, structure, tools/platforms, advice and best practices. Working with Rick was a positive experience all around!”
What was the biggest surprise for your team when implementing recommendations from the Enrollment Catalyst Program?
“Our leadership and BOT was surprised to learn that a school should spend between 1-3 percent of its annual operating budget in marketing. Our level of spending prior to hiring Rick was just a small fraction of one percent. Now, our marketing budget is closer to 1 percent and this has made a huge impact in our marketing efforts.”
Were there specific programs or strategies from the Enrollment Catalyst Program that generated the biggest impact for your marketing and enrollment efforts?
“I feel the improvements to our website content and design made the biggest impact on our enrollment. We began telling more “HT Stories” about our faculty, parents, students and alumni, and these pages continue to rank high on our search results.
We also developed several videos to tell the story of our school. Our first impression video told the story of a student through graduation. The following are links to our most recent videos:
What would you say to another school leader to recommend Rick Newberry to help them in their enrollment and marketing effort?
“Although the investment in Rick’s services may seem daunting to a school with a low marketing budget, it is well worth it in the long run. Rick was instrumental in convincing leadership and BOT to increase the marketing budget to competitive levels, and his marketing ideas continue to serve us several years after our contract has ended.”
Thanks Michelle for sharing your school’s story of growth. If you are interested in reaching out to Michelle directly, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in learning more about the Enrollment Catalyst Program and how this can benefit your school–just like at HTEA–please click to learn more.