It’s not every day that a man dressed up as Elvis approaches you and asks if you will take a selfie with him. But then again, Las Vegas is about as opposite from Dublin School as one can get! Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Vegas with Dean of Enrollment Jill Hutchins and Lisa Leidy, a current parent who works on our admission and development materials through her company Squarespot, to speak at the SSATB Annual Meeting. Many of you will recognize this organization as the one that made your child sweat during the admission process by creating the standardized admission test for secondary schools. Their annual meeting brings together admission professionals, heads of school and educational consultants from throughout North America and offers a great opportunity for us to network and spread the good word about Dublin.
It is heartening to learn that Dublin is no longer referred to as the “best kept secret” among boarding schools. While I like the “best” reference, I am happy that through Jill Hutchins’s excellent work we are no longer a “secret.” Jill has been intentional in her work by presenting at multiple conferences in her effort to spread the word about the special things going on at Dublin School. Among the educational consultants I spoke with Jill is considered among the best in her business—something we have understood for the last five years here on campus. In fact, while I was attending the conference I received multiple emails from people back at Dublin talking about how wonderful our students are—students that found their way to Dublin under Jill’s leadership.
Jill spoke twice at the conference. In her first presentation she joined two other schools in offering advice on how to lead within your own admission office. Jill has become an expert on differentiating one’s approach to managing and leading based on the personal backgrounds and generational traits that each of her team members bring to the office. She pointed out how the needs of a typical baby boomer employee, for instance, often differ dramatically from the needs of a millennial team member. Lisa Leidy and I joined Jill for the second presentation the following day. We spoke about the process of finding your school’s personality and sharing it with the world. We have had a number of schools ask us how we have done this so we thought it might be a good thing to share what we have learned through both our setbacks and successes. Jill talked about seeing Dublin through fresh eyes during her first years here before I spoke about the process of focusing our approach on programs and activities that relate most directly to our mission, values, location and history. Lisa and Jill then took the audience through the creative process of capturing this personality in our admission materials.
For Jill it was a “great kick off to the admission season,” and for the two of us it was a powerful reminder of how fortunate we are to work at Dublin School. While we have our own challenges and opportunities here we feel so fortunate to work with such great educators and such kind and curious students.