Christine Hailer Baker
Founder and President of the Baker Group
Since founding the Baker Group in 1999, Chris has led schools through the country’s most economically challenging times, supporting their need to become more data-driven and research-based and to help them develop school-specific marketing strategies that reflect coordinated school-wide efforts based on this research. The 2011 SSATB Bretnall Award winner, Chris has been at the forefront of elevating the admission profession and advancing enrollment management practices in all types of independent schools. She has also been a catalyst for the industry’s most successful collaborative marketing efforts, including the founding of the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP) and directing the New England Boarding Schools Collaborative.
When one thinks about best practices in independent school admission and enrollment management, it is Christine Baker and the Baker Group who come to mind. Leading the profession with the annual Chatham Experience and the Crow’s Nest Institute, Chris is best known for her independent school leadership in admission, enrollment management, and marketing strategy development. She is highly regarded nationwide for the Baker Group’s work in successfully translating enrollment management practices into practical short and long term strategies for its more than 600 independent school clients.
Chris has just completed an NAIS-sponsored book on Enrollment Management, released this year. Having devoted thirty years of her career to education, Chris’ school and college experiences include serving as Director of Admission at Milton Academy for seven years and working for ten years in the college admission offices at Boston College and BabsonCollege. It is at BostonCollege, the birthplace of enrollment management, that Chris learned the importance for schools to develop an integrated approach to enrollment that extends from the initial point of inquiry through to alumni status. And it was at Milton that Chris identified the college enrollment management practices that best translated to an independent school culture.
Because of her vast experience with college and independent schools, Chris has been the foremost translator to school communities of how enrollment management practices can be most effectively implemented to enhance a school’s positioning in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Chris is a popular speaker at regional and national conferences, addressing colleagues at both the college and independent school levels. She received her Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration from Boston College and her undergraduate degree from the University of Masssachusetts.
A graduate of Union College and Wesleyan University, Jim joined our consulting team in September, 2010. His broad knowledge about education along the entire PK-College continuum uniquely enables him to help clients understand and anticipate potential problem areas as well as resolve immediate institutional challenges. Jim’s areas of expertise include: strategic enrollment planning, market research, communication, financial aid, retention, technology and annual and capital fundraising.
Jim has been the chief enrollment officer at Manhattanville College (NY), Chatham Hall (VA), Kingswood-Oxford School (CT) and Providence Country Day School (RI). In addition, he served in dual capacities at two private schools, overseeing enrollment and development at K-O and PCD. In the enrollment arena, Jim used his analytic and creative talents to increase enrollment, improve selectivity, raise admission standards, develop an international student marketing program, create merit scholarship programs, introduce the concepts of enrollment management and strategic enrollment planning, expand research-based marketing programs, integrate new software and website marketing initiatives, and provide leadership for discussions on branding. Throughout his career, Jim has provided strong, entrepreneurial leadership in the pursuit and achievement of goals in both enrollment and development.
John M. Niles
A graduate of UNC, Chapel Hill and Middlebury College Bread Loaf School of English, John joined our team in 2011. His career in admission, development and communications work spans 40 years, 30 of which were spent as director of admission at St. Andrews school, DE (1978 – 1990) and Groton School (1990 – 2007). He served in a dual capacity at St. Andrew’s as director of development and admission for three years during his 12 year service as admission director. Before joining the Baker Group, John established the first communications office at Groton, continuing his work in publications and website development after 17 years as Groton’s admission director. He brings years of mission-driven enrollment management and communications experience to Baker Group projects at individual schools and to schools collaborating to answer shared strategic questions with research based information.
Ellen has been a valuable member of the Baker Group managing the design and analysis of constituent surveys since the firm’s founding in 1999. With an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College and a MS and PhD from the University of Michigan, Ellen’s administrative and research background have included working as the Registrar and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Rider University, as a Research Analyst at Rutgers University in the area of institutional research and planning, and as Vice President of Applied Education Research in Princeton, NJ. Among her research responsibilities at Applied Education Research, Ellen oversees work on the Independent School Admission Survey and on the College Board’s Admitted Student Questionnaire .
Information Systems Consultant
Will has over 20 years experience in information systems, Data Management and Application support. He has worked with and for corporate and individual clients to develop customer-focused, real-world understanding and knowledge. Combining advanced technology and communication skills, he is able to understand needs, present solutions and find meaning in data and processes. His civic involvement includes public school finance and serving on the Town of Holliston, MA School Building Committee for a four school construction and renovation project.
A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Chrissy’s position at the Baker Group includes conference planner, bookkeeper and systems manager. Her most valuable contribution however is her historical perspective on clients and projects as she has been with the Baker Group since its inception in 1999.
Crow’s Nest Faculty Members
Scott is the Head of School at Hawken School in Cleveland, Ohio. Scott has served in the admission offices at Cranbrook School, Lake Forest Academy in Illinois, and Phillips Academy, Andover, MA. Scott is one of the independent school experts on access and affordability and market analysis. He is well known and respected for his marketing expertise as well as his cutting-edge experience with technology. Scott is a member of the NAIS Admission and Marketing Committee and a faculty member of the TABS Admission Academy.
Monique is the Head of School at the College Preparatory School in Oakland, CA. She has served as the Assistant Head of School at the Hawken School in Cleveland, OH and as Director of Development at Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA. She has worked in education and marketing since 1983 and currently serves as a trustee at Thacher School in Ojai CA. She began here secondary school career as Director of Admission at Northfield Mt. Hermon School in Northfield, MA and served as Assistant Director of Admission at Brown University. Monique is a natural strategic thinker and has been instrumental in strategic planning efforts for every school at which she has worked.