Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy
The enrollment at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, GA, had been declining for a few years. In 2020, Head of School, Chuck Gilliam, partnered with Rick Newberry and his Enrollment Catalyst Program to turnaround the decline.
Through a virtual assessment and recommendations, Rick was able to put a plan in place to grow the school’s enrollment. Enrollment grew from 833 students in 2020 to 930 in 2021, a 12% increase.
Rick worked with the team throughout the 2020-21 school year. Recently, Kim Smith, Director of Marketing, and Aimee Whitlock, Director of Admissions, shared their story of success.
Describe your school’s enrollment and marketing situation before you hired Rick Newberry and Enrollment Catalyst:
Kim: Prior to hiring Rick, our enrollment and marketing practices were fractured. The relationship between the marketing and admissions offices was not intentional in working together. We needed help with our efforts to bolster leads, becoming consistent in follow-up with families moving through the funnel, pinpointing our most successful programs, and recognizing endeavors that weren’t proving beneficial.
Aimee: Enrollment had declined steadily over the past several years.
Why did you decide to partner with Rick Newberry and Enrollment Catalyst?
Kim: We definitely believe there is always more to learn and we want to stay abreast of best practices in all areas of our school. Rick has a reputation in the private school sector for giving excellent guidance, particularly in the areas of admissions and marketing. We were interested in finding ways to overcome the dip in enrollment that was becoming a trend over several years.
Aimee: Our marketing director suggested it to our Head.
What were the results of working with Enrollment Catalyst? What were your greatest achievements?
Kim: Virtually every admissions and marketing professional in the private school community suffers from the tyranny of the urgent. The perception is that we don’t have time to slow down to make changes or to start new initiatives. Rick ushered us beyond that mindset to open our eyes to better approaches to marketing budget utilization, lead generation, lead nurturing, re-enrollment strategies, and retention strategies. His methods brought us to the realization that admissions and marketing should be working together more closely, especially in following the results of various efforts and closing gaps in the pipeline. We were challenged to take a step back and look at tired practices with honesty and without fear of change. While we haven’t yet implemented every program or new idea, we are well stocked with information and tools to make those changes when the time comes.
Aimee: We are continuing to implement the strategies suggested by Rick and have seen a huge jump in applications and enrollment, even during COVID.
What did you like best about working with Rick Newberry?
Kim: Rick is as personable as he is knowledgeable. He has a wide range of experience as well as a broad network of partners who are experts in their fields. He also shares numerous tools to guide us in making changes to outdated and/or unproductive practices.
Aimee: Rick is a great communicator and is so easy to work with. He has connections everywhere and provides great resources for every situation.
Describe specific programs from the Enrollment Catalyst Program that generated the biggest impact for your marketing and enrollment efforts:
Kim: By far, the program that made the biggest impact on our enrollment efforts is Continuous Enrollment. Immediately upon implementing Continuous Enrollment, our admissions office was set free from the burden of the chase. This program has saved our team countless hours. While we have not yet launched a Parent Ambassador program, we have intentions to do so in the near future. We are still learning about best practices for the start-up of the program and hope to roll it out prior to the 2022-2023 enrollment season.
Aimee: The number one thing we implemented based on Rick’s recommendation last year was tracking and following up with inquiries on a regular basis. This translated into more apps submitted and higher enrollment this year. The FANS program is next up for us.
What would you say to another school leader to recommend Rick Newberry to help them in their enrollment and marketing effort?
Kim: If you will follow Rick’s recommendations, enrollment and marketing processes become more efficient and streamlined making room for new endeavors that bring better results.
Aimee: You definitely need to hire Rick if your school is stagnant or decreasing in size. His fresh and common sense ideas are easy to implement and will truly make a difference!
For more information on the Enrollment Catalyst Program, please reach out to Rick at Rick.Newberry@EnrollmentCatalyst.com or view the Enrollment Catalyst website. The Enrollment Catalyst Program can be conducted virtually to save on costs and travel expenses. Click for more information on the Virtual Enrollment Catalyst Program.
(Pictured with the Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy team in a virtual assessment meeting)
(Pictured with Chuck Gilliam, former Head of School)