We are pleased to provide you with comments made by Board Chairs, Owners, and Heads of Schools who we have worked with.
Direct references are also available.
Head Support/Enrollment Management/Student Recruitment
“South Suburban Montessori School enlisted the expertise of Reed Sumida of Independent School Performance Group (ISPG, Inc.) almost two years ago. We initially reached out to Reed to look for help with a re-alignment of the school’s administrative responsibilities. This project was specifically aimed at guiding, mentoring, and helping our Head of School function at a more strategic or higher level rather than on the day-to-day tasks of the school. The positive and professional guidance, experience, and wisdom provided to us through this initial project then lead us to enlist Reed’s expertise with designing and implementing a strategic marketing plan for South Suburban. This marketing plan included looking at internal and external marketing initiatives, helping to define our school’s key messages, and implementing a consistent admissions process.
Reed was an invaluable resource to our school. He was respectful and professional yet not afraid to ask the tough questions and say the necessary things. His foresight and accurate assessment of our school’s position allowed us to precisely recognize our strengths and resource and how to use those to our advantage. He helped us clearly identify our challenges and how to minimize and manage those challenges for the betterment of the entire school community. He did all of this while always recognizing and respecting our unique philosophy of education and the school’s mission.
Reed continues to be an important member of our school community. He continues to check-in, advise, support, encourage, and guide our community whenever needed. He is only a phone call or email away and we know that we can always look to him for guidance and support. We are very grateful to Reed and ISPG for what he brought to our school community. His knowledge, expertise, and encouragement have forever changed the strategic direction and the growth of our community.” Amy Mackie-Barr, Head of School
Capital Campaign/Facilities Procurement
“Reed Sumida of ISPG was, and is, an invaluable resource to our school. It is reasonable to say that if we had not hired him, our school would not be in existence right now.
Our school was in its 7th year. It had outgrown its space and had already attempted to move away from its formative space. It went poorly. We had come back to that space, but had to leave within the year. We investigated leasing, but it was prohibitively expensive, risky, and had no long term sustainability. We investigated buying, but we had no idea how to raise the capital needed.
In the midst of all this, we discovered Reed. He explained what he could do for us and it sounded great. We consulted his references who had amazing things to say about him. He did a video interview with our school in which he candidly and good-naturedly answered many of our questions. We decided to hire him for the initial consultation and capital planning process. He came out and met with our families. He understood our very unconventional model pretty much immediately which is no small feat. The families very much felt he listened to them and he assessed them as having the capacity to do a capital purchase of the size that we needed.
We paused before executing the capital campaign. There was one last prospect of a possible leasing situation that we wanted to pursue. It was a property we had looked at that a developer had purchased before we could do so. Reed worked with us closely in pushing the deal as far as we could in our favor. With his help, we made tremendous progress in achieving improvements to the deal, but, in the end, leasing just did not make sense. We appreciated very much Reed’s patience and guidance through that even though he knew, in the end, it would not work out.
And this is something we appreciated very much with working with Reed. He always took our suggestions and directions seriously. He would lead us through what a scenario might look like. He would detail the risks and help us to explore as far down the path of that direction as we chose. In the end, his warnings would be validated, but it was important for us to see that as well. His patience and understanding in this process were never exhausted.
We did hire him to execute the full capital campaign. He came back out again and set the stage for our families to find a path they were comfortable with. It took a couple of months of meetings and committees, but we finally executed on the capital plan and building purchase.
Reed helped to assemble a team of professionals, but, more importantly, he instructed us on how to use them effectively. He pointed out many potential traps in what the professionals may or may not do and helped us navigate that successfully.
Reed often warned us that it would be a roller coaster ride and he was right. His experience, skills, and confidence were absolutely critical to our eventual success.
But even beyond all that, what I valued most was simply his good nature and respectful gentleness. He treated everyone we dealt with in a very pleasant manner. We felt extremely comfortable with him talking on our behalf to others particularly as he also was amazingly accurate in his description of our school.
Reed helped us, and our whole community, come into our own strength. It is very much like the old story of stone soup except we had a master chef available in the form of Reed. We brought the resources, but he helped us understand that we had those resources and how to use them.
In the end, we bought the building we wanted and kept our tuition low. All the wondrous years to come is, in very large part, due to Reed and his steadfast guidance. None of us can imagine having done what we did without him and we know that if we ever need him, he is but a phone call away to offer great insight and advice.” James Taylor Arts & Ideas Sudbury School” – Enrollment Management/Student Recruitment
“King’s College School hired Reed Sumida just over a year ago to help us with our marketing in order to increase our enrollment. The whole process of working with Reed has been delightful from start to finish – and hasn’t finished yet! Even though our formal contract was finished months ago, Reed is still an invaluable member of our team, continually advising us as we work to put into practice what Reed advised and helping us when sticky situations arise.
Reed is the consummate professional. He helped us identify what was working and what was not working, while still maintaining and respecting who we are, what we had created so far, and our philosophy of education. Reed’s work did not change who we are, but rather helped us identify our strengths and our essence and express ourselves more clearly and consistently in all our actions. Reed helped rally all of us – faculty, staff, parents, and students – around our school community and helped us to understand and celebrate who we are.
Since Reed worked with us, our retention rate has increased substantially and our recruitment of new students has doubled. We now have a new Director of Admissions, chosen and trained by Reed, who follows up on every call and is able to clearly, competently, and compassionately discuss our school with prospective parents to help all concerned decide if we are the right school for them and their children.
We are very grateful to Reed for what he has brought to King’s College School, and for his continued support, encouragement, and guidance. I most highly recommend Reed Sumida and would be happy to answer any questions that prospective clients of Reed’s may have.” – Barb, Principal Grade 3-12 school
“Reed was a great source of wisdom, perspective, and advice during very delicate and difficult negotiations with the board of trustees. I highly recommend him as you enter into contract negotiations or run into board governance issues.”
Dan, Head of K-8 school
Enrollment Management/Strategic Planning
“If you have decided that you are ready for change, and you are looking for guidance, then I can highly recommend Reed Sumida. Reed is a consummate professional. His ability to communicate with administration, staff, and parents is unparalleled. (The meetings with our parents were highly successful.) Reed’s experience in schools …….. has given him the tools and the knowledge to make a positive difference in your school.
Reed is honest, dedicated, very energetic and thoughtful, and it is a real pleasure to deal with him. I have contacted him several times for additional information and Reed has answered my questions immediately. Our school has truly benefitted from Reed’s involvement. It is now a more dynamic and interesting place. Our enrolment has gone up and it’s an exciting place to be. I have learned a great deal and the future is looking rosy. Thank you, Reed!” Anne D. – Owner of three PreK – 8th-grade schools.
Boarding School Enrollment Management
“ISPG was hired by St Margaret’s School for girls to assist with decreasing enrollment. Reed and David conducted a number of focus group sessions with a variety of stakeholder groups and determined a number of issues which St Margaret’s then worked towards fixing. Our website was re-designed and made more user-friendly, as well as our online advertising re-targeted to better convert inquiries into applications.
Reed also completely re-deployed our advertising budget much more effectively and efficiently which resulted in a 50% savings while our enrollment figures increased.
During the time that Reed and David worked with St. Margaret’s our enrollment increased 10% and our boarding population grew to capacity. We were very happy with their work, he and his team are very easy to work with, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him for your school.
Richard Beil, Governor, SMS
“When I stepped into the position of Director of Advancement at a private church-affiliated school in Hawaii the President of the School engaged ISPG to jump-start our development efforts.
Reed Sumida and his staff from IPSG set out a blueprint for the next 9 months that developed a strategy to increase the amount of money raised and the number of individuals contributing to our fundraising efforts. Members of our Advancement Office needed to increase focus and understanding of their responsibilities. Procedures and timelines for various events needed to be written and archived to give direction for future events. Finally, an achievable budget was developed in collaboration with the entire Advancement staff to ensure each of us took responsibility for achieving our goals and living within our budget.
ISPG delivered on every promise. We increased the response from our annual appeal from 6% to 14% and actual donations were up more than 50% from each of the past 7 years.
ISPG provided more time and training than was stated in our consulting contract. Reed was available by telephone every day. I must say I called him a lot during the first months and then our team started performing and I needed less of his expertise. Reed delivered more than was expected. When Reed completed the consulting contract our team’s morale was high and we felt good about the work we had accomplished and confident we would improve in the coming year.
Reed and his staff are good people and can be trusted to do what they promise. I am available to speak with others who are considering ISPG.”
Ron Hochuli – Director of Advancement, 150-year-old 6th – 12th-grade school.
“I could not imagine a more professional, highly skilled, and effective organization than the Independent School Performance Group. It is a privilege to have worked with them and to pen this recommendation. The most impressive aspect of ISPG’s service is their constant availability and willingness to invest (time) with you on the telephone or by email. Reed (has a) keen ability to listen, discern, and evaluate. Over the past school year, ISPG was contracted by my board of trustees to assess and overhaul our Admissions and Marketing processes and procedures. Reed Sumida spent several days with us and countless hours on the phone and in training with our new Director of Admissions. Reed fully maximized every minute that he was with us.
As the new Head of School, Reed took precious hours during the day and evenings to instruct and encourage me and to answer my questions. He was incredibly helpful and insightful.
Due to the success of ISPG’s work with us in our Admissions and Marketing Departments, our enrollment is up 50%, and attrition down 30%.
David Brooks was hired to support me with a Head of School assessment and then support for four months. David’s kindness, compassion, and availability were incredible. He is soft-spoken and kind, brilliant in his approach to solving problems and moving forward.
Reed is a master of his trade. He is articulate and has incredible experience working with many different kinds of boards and schools. I continue to employ ISPG as much as possible and will do so throughout my career. I highly recommend ISPG as a solution to any issue you might be facing as a school.” Dr. Eileen J. Councill-Head of School, New York City, Preschool – 8th, enrollment 160
“I just want to thank you for your expertise and helping us get over this first hurdle. Without your guidance and knowledge, we would still be trying to figure out how to limp through another year.” Cal J. Principal – Montessori School, Preschool – 5th, enrolment 85
“Reed Sumida is a valuable resource for our school. His support to us during our admissions review process has helped us to more than double our enrolment rate. He is a knowledgeable professional and a key part of our school’s success. I highly recommend his services to all schools that want to serve a larger population of students.” Michael B. Head of School, Prek-12th-grade school
Capital Campaign/High School Expansion/Board Governance
“Mr. Sumida presented as always, a professional appearance and was clear and concise in his presentations to parents. The parent body was overwhelmingly positive and Urban Academy has since purchased a beautiful heritage building that we will move into in 2007.” Laura D. Board Chair, Fine Arts JK-11th, enrolment 125
“Mr. Sumida provided the Board of Directors with governance workshops that were invaluable in providing structure and guidance for our Board. Mr. Sumida is competent and professional in fulfilling his responsibilities” Dr. Anthony C. Chair, Board Chair, University Preparatory, JK-12th
Enrollment Management/School Formation
“I’ve made one of the best decision to have you as the consultant for my school. I am very aware that our marketing and admissions have not been working for us but we had no knowledge of how to improve it. You have shown us how to fix it and implement it.”
Diana D. – Director, Montessori School, newly formed school
“Inspiring, very informative, motivating, supportive”. Mary P. – Waldorf School, enrolment 300
Capital Campaign/Board Governance
“Mr. Sumida is highly knowledgeable and experienced in his field, resulting in excellent guidance. We trust him implicitly to advise us.” Kristin C. Principal, Montessori School, Preschool – 8th, enrollment 120
“Reed Sumida’s integrated approach built the project team, designed and delivered presentation and proposal materials, developed new financial relationships for the school and managed the whole process with on-time delivery. Mr. Sumida’s professionalism was evident in all phases of the project. It was particularly highlighted in the company’s understanding of the school’s culture, ability to motivate a disparate volunteer and community group and by providing opportunities for participation in the process. This was all achieved by dedicated attention to communication, which ensured broad-based acceptance and facilitation of the program.” Gail G. Past Board Chair – University Preparatory School, JK-12, enrollment 750
Enrollment Management/Strategic Planning
“I have considered your organization a very real answer to prayer as we often felt inadequate for the task the board had given us.” Grace B. Board Member, Christian School, enrollment 85
Facility Procurement/Capital Campaign
“After renting a school vacated by the local school district, our parent board decided to purchase the building as it came up for sale. Great idea, but how to do that with $50,000 only. Enter Reed Sumida, who led the Board and parent group through the purchase of the school. I heartily recommend Reed Sumida to you as a person knowledgable and experienced in such large undertakings involving financial institutions and the commitments involved there. Reed has remained an advisor to our school over the years. Retaining him as an advisor is the key to ensuring your purchase and operating venture remains viable, as Board changes over the years somehow causes a loss of vision, in the short run and the long run, and thus a school could easily run into trouble. So, I recommend hiring Reed Sumida, and I strongly urge your Board to not only consider but ensure longterm involvement, for your success.” Bonnie W. Principal, Montessori School
“I would again like to emphasize the gratitude of all of the families involved in the purchase of the school. Without your help, we would no longer have a school for our children.” Randy L. Board Chair – Montessori School, Preschool – 8th, enrollment 100