Meet the 2018 Brilliance Awards Judges
Our thanks go out to the 2018 Brilliance Awards Judges for sharing their expertise and insight to bring the most brilliant entries to light.
If you would like to be considered as a judge for 2019, please email us with your name, title and school or company.
"We are surrounded by greatness. I am in awe of the tremendous talent that exists among our schools and the creative, amazing, high quality work taking place in our industry."
—Jennifer Marchi, Director, Strategic Communications and Marketing, Ravenscroft, Brilliance Awards Judge
Associate Director of Admissions, Marketing, Communications and Branding
The Gow School
Mrs. Jennifer Bamann has been working at boarding schools for the past 15 years. Currently she is the Associate Director of Admissions, Marketing, Branding and Communications at The Gow School. She was born and raised in the great state of Maine, and has worked at Bridgton Academy, The Storm King School and has firmly landed at The Gow School. At Gow, she has kicked off a major re-branding and recently a complete redesign of their website. She loves working at a school with such a clear and direct mission and feels she is lucky to wake up each morning and walk into an office that she loves so much.
Director of Communications and Strategic Institutional Marketing
The Bryn Mawr School
Deborah Baum is the Director of Communications and Strategic Institutional Marketing at The Bryn Mawr School, an all-girls K-12 school in Baltimore, Maryland. She previously worked in communications and media relations roles at Gilman School, The Rhode Island Foundation, and Brown University. Deb also has a background in journalism, having spent three years as a news writer for WBZ-TV in Boston as well as serving on the staff of 60 Minutes II and The Early Show in New York City. Deb holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from Colgate University.
Director of Communications
Harbor Day School
Noelle Becker joined Harbor Day School as the Director of Communications in 2011, establishing the school’s first communications department. Noelle oversees all marketing, social media, and communications for the school including managing the website and producing the Beacon magazine, Harbor Lights literary magazine, and the admissions viewbook. Noelle received a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in education from the University of California, Los Angeles. Noelle has served as a judge for the 2017 InspirEd Brilliance Awards and the 2018 CASE Circle of Excellence Awards.
Director of Enrollment Management
Steve Birdsall is beginning his 19th year in independent schools and currently serves as Director of Enrollment Management at McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland. McDonogh enrolls 1,400 students PK -12 and has a five day boarding program with 100 students. Prior roles at McDonogh have included Director of Financial Aid, Associate Director of Admissions, World History teacher, dorm parent and lacrosse coach. Steve began his work in school marketing and enrollment management in 2000 at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC and holds degrees from Washington & Lee University (B.A.) and Catholic University (M.A.)
Director of Admissions and Marketing
Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School
A 15-year veteran of school marketing, Patty Bloom specializes in selling the intangible: a meaningful life, academic excellence, self-esteem and ethical leadership. She has twice marketed organizations in times of merger, most recently in 2012 when Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School (St. Louis) was created out of the merger of two smaller schools. Patty oversaw the messaging, marketing and branding of the new school, as well as the retention of students from its legacy schools. She continues to spend her days positioning Mirowitz to prospective families, donors, alumni and community leaders, and is energized by the school’s consistent growth in numbers, resources and reputation.
Michael Branscom Photo + Film
Michael Branscom began shooting stills for schools and higher ed in 2002 and short films in 2013. He has worked with over 50 schools and colleges and is adept at making students and teachers feel comfortable in front of the camera. With a degree in photojournalism from the University of Minnesota, Michael strives to work unobtrusively resulting in beautiful, compelling moments captured in photos and film that tell your school’s story. He has a unique ability to convey the joy and connection that teachers and students share in the classroom, on the field, in the studio, and on the stage.
Director of Advancement
Kent Place School
Coral Butler Brooks is a fundraising executive with proven ability to bring about exponential revenue growth while building dynamic programs. With a strong history of developing new initiatives and turning around programs through effective change management, innovation, team-building and the forging of strategic alliances, she has grown Annual Fund programs by as much as 350%, increased leadership giving by 200%, exceeded goals for alumni participation, and has cultivated and closed significant major gifts for endowment and capital initiatives and campaigns. Passionate about creating meaningful relationships within school communities as well as crafting transformative strategy for advancement programs, Coral specializes in Independent Schools.
Marketing and Communications Consultant
Let's start with my Twitter bio: "Daily mission to be #BetterThanBefore. Lifelong student, old dog learning some new tricks." Other details: raised in the Midwest (PA resident for 16 years); B.S. degree from Western Illinois University; worked in non-profits, journalism and education before landing in the world of independent schools: 15 years as the Director of Communications at The Swain School in Allentown, PA. Recently struck out on my own as a freelance marketer. Fan of Bill Bryson, Gretchen Rubin, and Daniel Pink. Time well spent: sitting in the audience of a musical or walking in the woods.
Director of Strategic Planning and Communications
Choate Rosemary Hall
Alison Cady serves as Director of Strategic Planning and Communications at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT. Prior to her arrival at Choate, Alison worked at Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, NJ in several capacities as Director of Admission, and then as Director of Development. Alison earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont and holds a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration from Boston College.
Bart Caylor, President and Owner of Caylor Solutions, an Indianapolis-based marketing agency working with colleges, universities, K-12, and education organizations to improve communication, enrollment and development efforts. With a background in design and development with corporate, education, and non-profit clients, Bart now focuses his expertise on marketing for education. Bart is a member of CASE and is often asked to speak at universities and conferences on topics related to web design, emerging media, and interactive marketing.
President and Creative Director
Cheney & Company
Carol is a frequent speaker for national and regional educational and fundraising associations, and hot of the annual Aim High conference in New Haven. She is a winner of CASE’s crystal apple teaching award and has served on CASE publications juries and the faculty of several CASE Summer Institutes. She has contributed to the canon through her involvement in the production of three editions of The Marketing Handbook for Independent Schools published by NAIS and contribution of articles to CASE Currents. Carol served on the CASE Industry Advisory Council and was the 2010 recipient of the Frank L. Ashmore Award for service to CASE and the advancement profession.
Writing & Marketing Communication Consultant
Maura Ciccarelli is a longtime writer, editor, and marketing communications consultant with extensive experience in education, insurance/healthcare, nonprofits, business, and more. Background includes reporting for The Philadelphia Inquirer, managing employee communications at Cigna Corporation, and leading the communications department at The Haverford School for a decade. In between these gigs, she has been a freelance consultant and since 2010 has been serving a wide range of new and old clients across the country. www.mauraciccarelli.com
Director of Communications
Notre Dame Preparatory School
Cami Colarossi has 25+ years’ experience working in corporate and non-profit communications. She has particular experience promoting educational institutions, having worked at Goucher College, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Since 1999, she has served as Director of Communications at Notre Dame Preparatory School, where she oversees all marketing/communications initiatives, as well as works on inclusivity, strategic planning and accreditation processes. A graduate of Goucher College (B.A.) and Georgetown University (M.A.), Cami is accredited in Public Relations by the Public Relations Society of America. She presently serves on the National Catholic Educational Association’s Marketing-Communications Advisory Committee.
Director of Marketing & Communications
North Shore Country Day School
I love living and working amongst the collision of words, images and design. My career has spanned time in the corporate communications world, establishing my own communication and marketing business and independent schools. The later is my favorite. For the past 11 years, I have been the Director of Marketing and Communications at North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka and it is the best job I have ever had. Working with great people, inspired by teachers and students, having the freedom to be bold and pushing the independent school marketing rules makes coming to work fun and rewarding.
Emily Cretella is a strategic storyteller, content marketer and school marketer’s best business friend. The owner of Cursive Content, Emily helps school marketers tell powerful stories that attract dream families, increase inquiries and enrollment, strengthen communities, and grow school influence. Prior to founding Cursive in 2012, Emily was the director of strategy at a Connecticut marketing agency, where she managed the execution of large-scale traditional and online marketing campaigns for clients ranging from schools and nonprofits to Fortune 500s. She now works solely with independent and private schools, colleges and universities. Tell her YOUR school story at cursivecontent.com.
Adrienne DiGiovine is an independent designer who specializes in design strategy, branding, publication design, and web design. She is, and enjoys being, a design partner, educator, and problem-solver. Adrienne's clients are independent schools, other nonprofit organizations, and small businesses. By working with a network of professional partners—writers, photographers, developers, and marketing strategists—she is able to offer broad expertise on projects large and small. She has produced award-winning publications for independent schools, including viewbooks and magazines. Adrienne lives in Bucks County, PA, with husband Jim, sons Cal and Ethan, and dog Scout. She is an accomplished yoga practitioner and cyclist.
Marketing and Communications Director
The Cambridge School
Mitchell Dong has served on the Advancement team of The Cambridge School—a start-up, classical school in San Diego—for the last 7 years. As the Director of Marketing and Communications at such a young school (who just graduated their first class in 2018) Mitch had the unique experience of planning/overseeing and producing/executing Cambridge's strategic marketing initiatives. In addition to his work in education, Mitch also serves his local church and companies like Social Media Examiner with his communication and video expertise.
Director, Marketing & Communications
Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
Laurie Ehrlich joined CESJDS in 2014 as its first-ever Director of Marketing & Communications. Her expertise lies in digital strategy, content curation and marketing, and social media. Prior to CESJDS, Laurie spent 12 years in non- and for-profit marketing and communications, including 4 years at the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) where she built the organization’s social media presence and engagement strategy, and created a system in which to analyze web, email, and social media metrics. Laurie holds a M.B.A. from Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business in New York City and a B.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Creative Director and Principal
Carolyn Eiseman, founder, owner and creative director of CEH Design Inc. She has more than 30 years of experience working with independent schools and has a demonstrated talent for transforming ideas into visual elements, creating award-winning online and print publications. A natural at collaboration and project coordination, she understands the challenges faced by independent schools. Carolyn is focused on achieving results that not only answer those challenges but also dynamically engage the audience. She has been invited to be a guest faculty member at the CASE Summer Institute, School Connections Admissions Summit and has presented workshops at TABS and NAIS.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Stuart Country Day School
Risa Engel is director of communications at Stuart Country Day School where she is responsible for the school’s internal and external marketing and communication strategies and tactics. She joined Stuart in 2010 with many years’ experience in B2B and B2C corporate marketing. Born and raised in the Silicon Valley, Risa cut her teeth at tech startups and is excited about the innovative opportunities that technology opens up for school marketers. Connect with Risa on LinkedIn or Twitter @RisaEngel.
Principal/School Marketing Strategist
English Marketing Works
Chuck English helps independent schools achieve strategic goals by providing branding, marketing, communications, and creative services. He has worked with dozens of schools in the United States and Canada and has presented his ideas at numerous conferences, workshops, and webinars. He is the author of It’s All in Your Head: Why Heads of School are Critical to Marketing Success, Tailoring the Parent Experience and the co-author of The Philanthropic Mind, a book based on interviews with Canada’s top philanthropists. Chuck also blogs frequently on topics related to independent school marketing.
Director of Marketing
Hargrave Military Academy
Andrew Erickson is the Director of Marketing at Hargrave Military Academy in bucolic Chatham, Virginia. He is a military school fanatic. At various times in his career he has been a computer science teacher, coach of a nationally ranked team, and admissions & marketing director. As a young man he attended a military boarding school for five years and works tirelessly to help continue that experience for new generations of students. In his scant free time, Andrew reads a lot, kayaks, photographs (with film), and explores our great country with his wife, two awesome children and their rarely trusty dog.
Director of Stewardship/Communication Associate for Social Media
The Park School
As the Director of Stewardship and Coordinator of Social Media at The Park School in Brookline, MA, I'm able to use my 20+ years of experience in communications and fundraising to build and nurture relationships on behalf of the School. I'm a Boston sports fanatic (Go Pats!), an aspiring photographer, fan of historical fiction, cat mom and proud Auntie, who is addicted to creative reality shows like Project Runway and The Great British Baking Show. I'm excited to be part of the InspirED Brilliance Awards panel and look forward to seeing all of the entries!
CMO, Head of Brand Marketing
Mixed Digital Brand Marketing Agency
Hailey Feldman is the CMO and Head of Brand for Mixed Digital, a Brand Marketing Agency. Focusing on defining brand propositions and delivering innovative positioning strategies, Hailey works with a diverse group of clients to develop and establish a foundation upon which all marketing initiatives build off: a brand. Leading Mixed Digital's Branding Department, Hailey is the key figure in driving agency growth. Hailey holds an M.S. from New York University in Education and Research. She is a graduate of St. George's School and East Woods School. She is often asked to share her knowledge via speaking engagements, conferences, and marketing publications.
Head of Creative
Cheryl helps schools grow through powerful school marketing solutions. Her award-winning team designs and delivers school stories: Stronger Stories > Stronger Schools. Cheryl shares strategic ideas for school marketers everywhere via hellomethod.com/blog. Cheryl founded HelloMethod with audience at the core and knows the commitment to your audience is to delivering real results for school marketers. Having lived in NYC, London and Sydney, she now enjoys rediscovering the world with her husband and children in Westchester, NY. Cheryl is also a proud board member for Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival (ccbfestival.org) because she believes every child should have books to read. Always.
Jill Goodman Consulting
Jill Goodman is an executive mentor and strategist with a diverse range of skills across the non-profit and educational sectors. With over 20 years of experience in developing high-level strategy, executing and growing core programs to forward the mission of numerous independent schools and organizations, Jill’s intense listening skills have helped her develop a reputation for providing exceptional, solution-oriented results. Jill has a 360-degree understanding of the non-profit world – she has served as an administrator, staff member, grant maker, trustee, and volunteer.
Schools' Marketing and Fundraising Consultant
Rachel is an experienced marketing and development professional with twenty years’ experience in industry and education. She offers a wealth of marketing and development expertise gained through a variety of roles and experience at Board Director level. Rachel has written articles for educational media and is a regular conference speaker. She is a judge for the prestigious Times Educational Independent School Awards and following two years as Co-chair, Rachel currently holds an advisory role on the Board of Directors for the Association for Admissions, Marketing and Communications in Independent Schools (AMCIS) and is Foundation Development Director at Princethorpe College, Warwickshire, UK.
Director of External Communications and Chair of AMCIS
Kirsty is an accomplished corporate communications practitioner with a wealth of experience in the independent schools sector in day and boarding settings. At Colston’s School in England, she oversees the admissions, marketing and development teams and is Vice Chair of AMCIS, becoming Chair in 2019. Kirsty is an innovative marketer who utilises data and research to create and implement effective marketing strategies which deliver a return on investment. A skilled brand manager, Kirsty’s career highlights include the rebranding of Colston’s and implementation of a whole school approach to marketing that delivers enhanced recruitment and positioning successes.
Director of Admissions
The Powhatan School
Mike Hatfield is the Director of Admissions at Powhatan School, a small PK-8 school tucked away in the beautiful Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Responsibilities include admissions, marketing, financial aid and is the varsity soccer coach. Before joining the leadership team at Powhatan he spent 7 years in college admission and 5 years in alumni affairs and development.
Marketing Advice for Schools
After graduating from Merton College, Oxford University, Simon Hepburn spent 10 years working in marketing in industry, commerce and consultancy, taking a part-time MBA at Henley Management College with electives in Innovation and Relationship Marketing. He retrained as a teacher at the Institute of Education, London and has spent the last 10 years working as a teacher and Head of Department in state and private schools as well as training schools in marketing and developing Marketing Advice for Schools, the UK’s largest community of school marketers.
Strategic Marketing Consultant
For over 15 years, Stacy has worked to develop strategic marketing and communications strategies to drive revenue generation for independent schools. With a focus on institutional advancement, she has five years of direct admission experience and more than a decade in marketing and communications. Stacy is currently working as a Strategic Marketing Consultant helping schools develop their own marketing programs for fundraising, recruitment, and general communication, including content and inbound marketing efforts.
President and CEO
Maria LaTour Kadison is president and CEO of EdwardsCo, a trusted partner to senior leadership and trustees in independent day and boarding schools and higher education institutions across the country. Under her leadership, EdwardsCo has doubled in size, adding recruiting and retention services to its robust brand and creative strategy offering. EdwardsCo has won more than 35 CASE and industry awards for brand development, the overhaul of marketing materials, multi-media marketing, market research, and capital campaign communications. Maria is a graduate of the Wheeler School in Providence, RI, Emory University, and earned both an MBA and MA at Yale University.
Director of Communications
Leslie King joined Durham Academy as Director of Communications in spring of 2014. Prior to joining DA, King worked as a communications consultant for Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, UNC-Chapel Hill's Campus Y and various freelance clients in the Durham/Chapel Hill area. She served as the first Director of Public Information for the Savannah College of Art & Design's Atlanta campus. Prior to her career in marketing/communications, King had a career in broadcast journalism as a producer, executive producer and freelance anchor at CNN Headline News, as a producer and freelance anchor at CNN Airport Network, and worked as a general assignment reporter in the Little Rock, AR and Savannah, GA markets.
Communications and Social Media Manager
Detroit Country Day School
Laura believes in the value of an independent school education and has been affiliated with Detroit Country Day School since 1992. Before taking time off to raise four children, she started her career in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation first as an exercise physiologist and then a director of a rehabilitation center. Her move into the advancement realm of education started over 10 years ago in fundraising and has since evolved into marketing, communications, and social media. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, sailing, and taking online courses. She and her husband are empty nesters and live in Bingham Farms, Michigan.
Director of Strategic Marketing
Tampa Preparatory School
Heather Lambie has worked in independent school marketing for 18 years. She has been a Marketing Director at three of the four schools she has worked for in that time, and has learned so much over the years as both the job responsibilities and job description have changed with technological and social demands. She is immensely proud of and connected to her independent school MarComm tribe, and values their efforts and opinions. Heather is a married mother of two (ages 13 and 16) who loves photography, writing, wine, cheese and traveling (to places with good wine and cheese).
Andrea Lehman is a freelance marketing strategist, writer, and editor for independent schools and colleges as well as for travel guides. Author of Fodor’s Around Philadelphia with Kids, she previously was Editorial Director of the School Division (college and independent secondary school guides) for Peterson's Guides. She and her daughters are the proud products of terrific independent school educations.
Partner and Creative Director
Rod Lemaire is a Mission Minded Partner and Creative Director, overseeing our award-winning design studio. Rod’s success as a creative professional is based on his ability to innovate and adapt to craft astute, tailored, and marketable solutions that meet specific strategic goals. Rod’s passion for nonprofit work extends beyond his Mission Minded work. He has served in numerous leadership positions, including his role as the New Orleans Chapter President for AIGA, the professional association for graphic design. Rod came to Mission Minded with extensive experience in higher education, helping colleges and universities around the country create great communications.
Director of Marketing & Communications
Jennifer Marchi, Director of Marketing & Communications at Ravenscroft, started her career in technology. Working in high-tech for over 20 years at companies like NetApp, BlueArc/Fujitsu, SAS and Cisco, Jennifer enjoys developing messaging, positioning, and determining the most effective “go to market strategies” - all to help customers understand the value of solutions. Driven to put her professional expertise to work for a personal passion, Jennifer made the exciting transition to education. She now drives the strategic marketing planning and execution for Ravenscroft in Raleigh, NC. Jennifer has a B.S. in Mathematics, concentration in Computer Science, from Georgia State University.
Director of Communications and Marketing
Jay is the director of communications and marketing at the McCallie School — an all-boys day and boarding school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He's a 1997 alumnus of McCallie, and returned home after tenures in the public affairs offices of the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He's passionate about compelling storytelling, immersive branding and the power of an authentic narrative to move people to act.
Vice President for Admissions and Communications
Nija Majmudar Meyer joined Woodward in August 2014 to lead the Academy’s marketing and communications efforts. In October 2017, her responsibilities expanded to include Admissions when she was named the Academy’s Vice President for Admissions and Communications. Ms. Meyer previously served in strategic marketing and consulting roles for The Coca-Cola Company, Andersen Consulting's Strategic Services, and GE Capital. She graduated summa cum laude in 1987 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Emory University. In 1992, she received a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.
International Marketing Manager
David Milner joined the prestigious Sedbergh School in November 2018 as International Marketing Manager where his main role involves marketing the Prep, Senior and Summer School. David’s career started in the North East of England, marketing a local college, this followed by a short spell working at Newcastle University before moving into the independent sector as Marketing Manager of a day school. David has a wealth of experience working in co-educational, single sex and faith schools and is highly skilled in Marketing Management, Strategy, Branding, Advertising, Design and Business Development. David’s current position takes him across the world.
Rebecca Moore is the Communications Director at Randolph School in Huntsville, Ala. In 2013, Rebecca launched Hashtag Viewbook, a project to create a crowdsourced, student-designed admissions viewbook, and to develop an online narrative of school events. Prior to coming to Randolph, Rebecca was Communications Director at The American School in London. Before that, she worked in alumni relations and coached squash at her alma mater, Friends Seminary, in NYC.
Prior to starting Underscore_Branding in 2017, Scott was President of TWG Plus, Vice President of Stein Communications and a Regional Manager for ApplyYourself. He also had experience inside the admissions office as Associate Director of Enrollment Marketing at Pace University, and as the Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications at St. John's University. Scott has spoken at notable enrollment conferences such as NJACAC, NYSACAC, SACAC, NEACAC, MOACAC, ACT's Enrollment Planner Conference and the Small College Enrollment Conference. He will also be leading a Brand Workshop at the Association of Independent Schools in New England Conference in September.
Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
Wendi Patella is the director of strategic marketing and communications at Peddie School, where she has worked for eight years. She previously worked with non-profits and corporate clients as founder of Patella Ink Creative Communications. She also did time in New Jersey's state government, serving as deputy press secretary for Governor Christine Todd Whitman. Her career began as a journalist, working in daily newspapers.
Laura Pedrick Photography
A photojournalist for over two decades, Laura Pedrick has photographed schools for the New York Times, Scholastic Magazine and for numerous education institutions as well. Laura listens closely to the expressed needs of her clients and collaboratively develops a shot list that meets their marketing objectives. Her images, never “staged”, are forward and engaging, while her working style is quiet and unobtrusive. Interesting angles and new ways of seeing things present her work as distinctive and memorable. She delivers to her client an abundance of versatile, compelling images that highlight the best of what their school has to offer.
Crane | Atlanta
Shelly believes your brand is one of your organization’s most powerful assets, and you must steward it accordingly. Years of experience in nonprofit education consulting and corporate management have led her to understand that success—with a marketing program or in an organization—requires that every community member believe in the same overarching purpose and feel inspired to contribute their unique talents toward the larger vision. Shelly holds a dual BA in psychology and educational studies from Emory University and studied learning and organizational change at Northwestern University.
Director of Advancement
Pembroke Hill School
Doreen Rice is a long-time (but not old!) independent school fundraiser. She is the director of advancement at the Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, MO., which enrolls 1,175 students in grades pre-k to 12. The school recently set a record for annual fund total raised ($1.4 million) and parent participation (81%). The school is also in the lead gift phase of a $47 million building campaign. In addition to be a fundraiser, Doreen is also an ordained Episcopal priest and is vicar at a suburban Kansas City congregation.
Director of Communications
Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences
Sara is the director of communications at Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica, California, where she designs and implements strategic communications and marketing for the K-12 independent school, which serves over 1,100 students. Sara and her team recently won the 2017 Gold Brilliance Award for printed annual fund piece and presented at the 2018 CASE-NAIS Independent School Conference in Anaheim. Prior to joining Crossroads, Sara served as communications editor at Antioch University Los Angeles and was a contributing writer for Edutopia.org, the website of the George Lucas Educational Foundation.
Independent School Management
Penny Rogers is a Consultant for Independent School Management (ISM), focusing in the areas of marketing communications, enrollment management, and development. Before joining ISM she served as the Director of Admissions & Marketing at Academy at the Lakes (Land O'Lakes, FL), as the Director of Communications at Ravenscroft School (Raleigh, N.C.), and as the Annual Fund Director at Ravenscroft. One of her favorite parts of working with ISM is teaching, which includes leading the New Marketing Communications Director workshop each summer and serving as a faculty member for ISM's Advancement Academy.
Assistant Head of School, Enrollment Management and the Student Experience
Trinity Episcopal School
Steve serves as Assistant Head of School at Trinity Episcopal School, a coed, independent, PK–8 day school in New Orleans, LA. He oversees various aspects of the student experience, including acting as Director of Admission and leading all recruitment, re-recruitment, and marketing functions. Steve has presented on various advancement-related topics at national education conferences, including SSATB (EMA), NAIS, ERB, NAES, and AISGW, and he consults and leads workshops for Independent School Management (ISM, Inc.) Steve is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP).
Director of Advancement
Brendan Schneider is the Director of Advancement at Sewickley Academy. He is one of the leaders in the field for teaching on and knowledge about inbound marketing for schools. Brendan presents and consults on inbound marketing, social media, and marketing technology at the regional and national levels. With his workshops, the SchneiderB Media blog, his schneiderb.fm podcast, his SchneiderB Virtual Conferences, he continues to advance the abilities of the independent school admission, communication, and marketing professional. He is also a Board of Director for AISAP (Association of Independent School Admission Professionals).
Director of Marketing and Communications
Kerry Shea is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Greenhill School, a coed PK-12 independent school with 1300 students located in Addison, TX. She establishes the marketing and communications strategy to support the mission and identity of Greenhill School, ensures consistency of message across internal and external constituents, and fosters relationships with press. Kerry’s prior experience includes marketing, product and channel management, and strategy consulting with companies including DuPont and IBM. Kerry holds a BA from College of the Holy Cross and an MBA in Marketing from the Yale School of Management.
Cassie is passionate about helping schools communicate well. She is the sole proprietor of Turbine Communications, which develops sites, strategies, brands, and designs for schools and nonprofits and was founded in 2018. Finalsite is her favorite school communication tool, and helping people implement it - both through Turbine and through Educational Collaborators - always makes her brain buzz (latest big project: abetterchance.org). In her former life working for schools and colleges directly, she counts among her victories two long enrollment slump turnarounds and single-year increases of 75% in open house attendance and 55% in applications.
Found and Principal
Starr Snead is the founder and principal of Advancement Connections, a firm serving advancement professionals and volunteers in PS-12 schools throughout the US and around the globe. Based in Charleston, SC, the firm provides fundraising, constituent relations, strategic planning and communications services. Starr has worked in independent schools since 1972 as a teacher, administrator, advancement director and trustee. She is a frequent speaker at conferences nationally. Her popular workshops offer practical solutions to today's development and advancement challenges, combining 48 years of personal and professional experience with the "best practice strategies" of many of our nation's leading independent schools.
Jackie Sullivan built her career in all areas of fundraising and external relations including, but not limited to, closing major gifts and pledges in support of annual giving, endowment, scholarships, and capital projects within and outside a campaign. Prior to joining Graham-Pelton, Jackie served Syracuse University for 10 years in the development, admissions, and financial aid divisions. Additionally, she spent 17 years in the Advancement Offices at Delbarton School and the Pingry School. Jackie is a graduate of Syracuse University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts and completed credits toward a Masters of Arts in Higher Education Administration.
Schultz & Williams
Jean brings to all of her nonprofit clients at Schultz & Williams a broad range of expertise in major gifts, annual giving, marketing and innovative strategies. She previously served as Director of Development and Director of Communications at Germantown Friends School. While at GFS, she was active in the PR Peer Network through Friends Council on Education, sharing and admiring best marketing practices at other independent schools. Her career includes senior development positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Carson Valley School. While she enjoys all of her S&W clients equally, she has a certain fondness for independent schools.
Director of Marketing and Communication
Susan Tomases is currently the Director of Marketing and Communication at Landmark School where she has held the position since 2010. In that time, she has overseen a full-scale magazine redesign, new website launch, a complete capital campaign, and a school rebranding exercise, among other major initiatives. Susan’s background includes work at the Boston Children’s Museum, MIT’s Alumni Association, MIT’s Technology Review Magazine, and a short stint doing public relations for Dockers in Amsterdam in The Netherlands. Susan’s background in the non-profit sector includes extensive event planning, volunteer management, writing, editing, and branding.
Director of Marketing and Communications
La Jolla Country Day School
Tiffany Tran is the director of marketing and communications at La Jolla Country Day School. Since 2015, she has led the school’s website redesign, magazine relaunch, rebranding efforts, among others major initiatives. The LJCDS magazine earned the 2018 CASE Award of Excellence, and the viewbook was award the UCDA 2017 Excellence Award. Before joining LJCDS, Tiffany was the assistant director of communications at Noble and Greenough School in Massachusetts. She graduated summa cum laude from Suffolk University with bachelor’s degree in public relations. She has served on judging panels for the 2018 CASE Circle of Excellence Awards and 2017 InspirED Brilliance Awards.
Christian School Marketing Consultant
Your School Marketing
Randy Vaughn loves consulting with PK-12 schools on marketing strategy, social media and the "3 Rs of school marketing": recruitment, retention, & referrals. His specialty is helping schools create a customized marketing system through 1-on-1 coaching. Randy hosts the School Marketing Podcast and School Marketing Academy and loves to give away free school marketing ideas on his blog & Twitter account. He also leads the Advancement team at his kids' Christian School. Randy and wife, Kelly, have been married over 20 years, lived in 3 countries, speak 3 languages and raise 4 great kids. They also are proud parents of a 7yo, 5-lb Yorkie named Hunter and a new Golden Doodle puppy named Texas.
Dean of Enrollment and Strategic Marketing
St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School
Andrew Weller previously was Director of Admissions for Avenues: The World School, Executive Director of Advancement at Ridley College (Canada) and Director of Admissions at Chestnut Hill Academy. Weller was a board member of the East Bay School for Boys, served on the inaugural Admissions Leadership Council, served four years on the planning committee of the TABS/NAIS Global Symposium, and now serves as an advisor to the Admission Directors Institute of the Enrollment Management Association (formerly SSATB). He has B.S. from Alfred University (NY), M.S. from Marymount University (VA), and an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.