Christian Academy of Knoxville

In February 2020, Dr. Rick Newberry began working with the enrollment and marketing team at the Christian Academy of Knoxville, TN. Through his Enrollment Catalyst Program, enrollment has increased by 14% over the past two years to just over 1,000 students.

This enrollment growth has led to the turnaround at CAK and can be attributed to several key things including a strong team and a commitment to implementing a plan with new initiatives. The main team members included Terry Gibson (Chief Administrative Officer), Rich Fulford (Head of School), Amy Loope (Director of Admissions, and Julya Johnson (Director of Marketing and Communications).

Terry Gibson, Chief Administrative Officer, initially reached out to Rick in the fall of 2019. The school had been experiencing some struggles and leadership transitions. Terry was focused on turning around the school and part of his focus was on enrollment.

I recently had an opportunity to ask Terry some questions about his experiences working with Dr. Rick Newberry:

Describe your school’s enrollment and marketing situation before you hired Rick Newberry and Enrollment Catalyst:

The five years prior to partnering with Enrollment Catalyst we had a decline in enrollment each year. The retention rate while good (~ 90%) had declined year after year and the percentage of leads that converted to new families had declined over this time frame.

Why did you decide to partner with Rick Newberry and Enrollment Catalyst?

We were looking for an organization to come in and look at our processes, methods and product to help us know how to build a strong marketing presence, improve our admissions process and ensure we presented our product (CAK the school) in a way that improved retention and grew enrollment.

What were the results of working with Enrollment Catalyst? What were your greatest achievements?

While growth in enrollment was achieved, beyond that objective, Rick grew the skills and capabilities of the team. He helped and continues to provide mentoring and advice that only comes from years of successful enrollment consulting.

What did you like best about working with Rick Newberry?

He calls it like he sees it! We did not want someone to just make us feel good, we needed someone that would dive deep into our processes, personality and performance and layout a plan with specific improvement action items.

Describe specific programs from the Enrollment Catalyst Program that generated the biggest impact for your marketing and enrollment efforts:

Digital marketing – In the COVID environment we not only moved our students to distance learning, we moved our whole admissions process to a distance enrollment program with virtual tours, e-books, virtual open house events. The FANS program has allowed us to use those virtual events in partnership with FAN promotions and interviews.

What would you say to another school leader to recommend Rick Newberry to help them in their enrollment and marketing effort?

Once you get the report, take action. Don’t allow your team to say, “Rick really doesn’t know us. We are different.” Also don’t try to do it all at once. We laid out a three-year implementation plan. Enrollment Catalyst gave us a great kick-start for admissions, and continues to be a part of our marketing and admissions team’s discussions and plans.

Dr. Rick Newberry continues to be engaged with the team in monthly coaching meetings. For more information on the Enrollment Catalyst Program, please reach out to Rick at or view the Enrollment Catalyst website.

(Pictured with the Enrollment and Marketing Team at CAK)











(Pictured with Rich Fulford, Head of School)