Education Marketing and Advancement

Objectivity, transparency, and a collaborative spirit

Mike Connor


Mike Connor is co-author of the National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) book, Marketing Independent Schools in the 21st Century. His white paper, It’s What’s Inside That Counts: Maximizing Internal Marketing, has been digitally published by NAIS and many state, regional, provincial, and international independent school associations. Connor Associates Strategic Services, LLC has worked with over 450 independent, charter, and faith-based schools in the United States, Europe, Africa, and China since 1998.

Connor Associates Strategic Services, LLC is widely known and respected as an expert in predictive psychodemographic modeling to identify and enroll mission-appropriate full-pay families, five-year forecasting of demographic trends which enable schools to "skate to where the puck is heading" in order to secure and diversify the composition of their enrollment, internal marketing image audits and marketing assessments, confidential external perceptual (image) audits and alumni surveys, approaches to enhancing the value proposition, brand and website development and outcomes based messaging, forensic financial research, strategic planning, and his engaging workshops that result in getting the entire school community involved in raising enrollment, retention, and philanthropy.

Connor has presented sessions and workshops nearly every year over the past two decades at national and international conferences. He was the keynote speaker at the national Educational Records Bureau (ERB) Conference in San Diego in October 2012. Connor was the keynote speaker at the national 2013 Conference for the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP) in Nashville, TN, held at Vanderbilt University and Harpeth Hall.   

In October 2014 and 2015 he was a special preconference presenter at the International Leadership Conference for the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS) in Bangkok, Thailand, and Kota Kinabalu, Borneo.  He was also the keynote speaker for the MISBO / FISBO Conference (independent school business officers) in April, 2015 in Boca Raton, Florida.  In October 2016 he delivered the keynote at the (ACIS) Association of Colorado Independent Schools Head and Trustee Conference.

In January 2017, he delivered a full-day advancement, enrollment, and retention management workshop in Bangkok for 70 of Thailand’s 139 International Schools.  He is scheduled to provide similar presentations this year to the Virginia and North Carolina Associations of Independent Schools.

In addition to NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools), ERB, and AISAP, his sessions and workshops have been featured at more than 60 conferences to date, including the European Council of Schools (ECIS), The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), Secondary School Admission Test Board (SSATB), Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE), and at conferences and meetings of various international, state and regional Associations of Independent Schools, including those in South Africa, the Pacific Northwest, Central States, California, New England, Pennsylvania, Delaware Valley, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Southwest, Maryland, and St. Louis.

With an M.A. in Political Behaviour from the University of Essex, England, Connor has spent nearly 34 years in public, charter, and independent K-12 schools and colleges. He has a 360° perspective from a variety of positions. He is an experienced teacher, counselor, academic dean, admission director, development director, director of communications, director of advancement, and an education marketing and advancement consultant.  Mike is often called upon to conduct onsite school leadership retreats for trustees, administrators, and teachers.

His articles on strategic planning, integrated marketing, and international programs appeared in CASE Currents and Independent School magazine. His work establishing the first international exchange program between private boarding schools in China and the United States earned the attention of the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Education Week.

Watch Connor Describe the 6 Elements of Identity and Branding in this short video: