The Village School of Naples

The Village School of Naples, FL

A conversation with Dennis Chapman, Head of School

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

When I arrived as Head in 2018-19, our school’s retention rate had dipped below 80% each year over four years. The number of new students had declined, and overall enrollment was down 7%. Our marketing efforts were in their infancy. We just launched a new website, hired a Director of Communication, and we had not allocated a adequate portion of our budget toward marketing. Based on Rick’s recommendation, we started with just under 1% of our total budget.

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

I first worked with Rick in 2008 when I was Assistant Head of School for Advancement at The Out-of-Door Academy in Sarasota. I followed his work during my four-year stint as Head of School in Fayetteville, Arkansas and had seen how effective his methods were with many schools. Hiring Rick was one of the first things I did when I started at The Village School.

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

We opened with 545 students this year, which were the largest student body in school history. We increased enrollment by 10% this school year with an all-time high, 87% retention rate. Our upper school will be graduating its first class this year with 12 seniors. By making a concentrated effort on retaining our rising 9th graders and recruiting new students, we welcomed 38 ninth graders and doubled our upper school enrollment with 88 students.

What did you like best about working with Rick Newberry?

Rick has a deep understanding of trends with Independent School marketing and admission. Having served as a Head of School earlier in his career, he also appreciates the role of the Head in the admission and marketing function. He is easy to work with and is always providing helpful coaching each week.

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

How quickly we saw significant results. We developed a five-year financial plan, and with Rick’s help, we outperformed our projections for the school year.

Were there specific programs from the Enrollment Catalyst Program that generated the biggest impact for your marketing and enrollment efforts?

His recommendations for social media and our website stand out to me when I think about impact. Also, our parent ambassador program has been quite successful this year.

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

Rick’s methods and processes produce results. He is on top of the latest trends and has a great understanding of how our parents look for school options for their children. We appreciated Rick’s expertise and support! His weekly coaching sessions were especially impactful to keep our team on task. He was able to help us get aligned quickly and prioritize our marketing objectives which led to immediate results.

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