Grace Christian Academy

Grace Christian Academy
Knoxville, TN

A conversation with Teri Rash, Director of Marketing and Communications

Describe Grace Christian Academy’s enrollment and marketing situation before you hired Rick Newberry and Enrollment Catalyst:

When I first met Rick Newberry and became familiar with Enrollment Catalyst, I was in my seventh year of working in admissions for our school. After attending several sessions that he taught at a conference, I started following his blog and implementing as many of the strategies that I could on my own in the admissions area. Two years later, the school decided to create a position for a Director of Marketing and Communications, and I had the opportunity to take the position.

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

I had dozens of “great ideas” but struggled with the concept of prioritizing strategies since I was the only one devoted to this area. I had too many ideas and not enough time or manpower to carry them out. After introducing our Head of School to many of the Enrollment Catalyst strategies and implementing some with great success, he recognized the value in Rick’s recommendations. Like many other private, Christian schools, we were experiencing a decline in enrollment as our strong public school system and economic factors had begun to have a significant effect on our growth. Our administration agreed that it was appropriate timing for our school to partner with Rick Newberry and Enrollment Catalyst to have a detailed analysis of our school, weekly coaching, and to hone in on appropriate strategies that would be beneficial for our school.

What were the results of working with Enrollment Catalyst?

Our Admissions, Marketing & Communications, and Administrative Team experienced significant professional growth and developed a much better understanding of the need for effective school marketing. For me, personally in the role of Director of Marketing and Communications, Rick was able to coach me in such a way that I could identify and pursue the best and most effective ways to market our school. Out of the dozens of strategies and ideas that I’d been exposed to, Rick taught me to effectively hone in on the BEST strategies. I was able to create a marketing plan that was laser focused rather than including a broad range of ideas. Within a very short period of time, we began seeing a significant increase in inquiries and, as a result, enrollment.

What did you like best about working with Rick Newberry?

Rick is personable and has a great sense of humor. His insight and expertise is invaluable, and he has a gift for identifying weak areas in a school and coming up with a purposeful plan to improve. Rick will push your team to grow professionally, improve and define strategies, and will do so with knowledge, understanding, and discernment.

What was the biggest surprise for your team when implementing recommendations from the Enrollment Catalyst Program?

Rick pushed us every week to make improvements, define weak areas and change them, and to think creatively. I left every coaching meeting with a very specific to-do list with defined projects.

Were there specific programs (Ambassadors, Variable Tuition, etc.) from the Enrollment Catalyst Program that generated the biggest impact for your marketing and enrollment efforts?

We have implemented a number of the Enrollment Catalyst Program strategies, including the creation of a school blog, a Parent Ambassador program, a Family Ambassador Network, effective storytelling, and more. One of our best-received changes was the implementation of Continuous Enrollment, which completely changed the message to parents about the future of their child’s education.

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

I highly recommend school leaders to pursue a partnership with Rick Newberry and Enrollment Catalyst. His preliminary analysis of each school, detailed reports, and practical, purposeful strategies will inevitably have a positive impact on any school’s enrollment and marketing effort.

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