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. In 2012, Chris edited The Enrollment Management Handbook, an NAIS-sponsored guide for Trustees, Heads of School and Admission Officers who want to know more about Enrollment Management.
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, successfully translating enrollment management practices into practical short and long term strategies for more than 600 independent school clients.
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.
Lauren Schadt Baker
Senior Marketing Consultant
Lauren is the Baker Group’s marketing communications consultant helping independent schools build their brand strategies. As a veteran of the advertising world in both New York and Boston, Lauren led and managed the development of brand campaigns for consumer products, technology companies and non-profit organizations. She served for several years on the Board of Trustees and as a volunteer at Marian Court College, a small, private college that catered to first generation students from low-income families. Lauren recently joined the Phoenix Charter Academy Foundation Board which raises private funding to support the programs of The Phoenix Academy Charter Schools serving at-risk teens. In addition, Lauren is a long time board member of the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health where she led the organization's rebranding effort. Her continued passion for social responsibility is evident through her current work to increase awareness and raise funds with a number of causes for children, education, health and social services. Lauren actively serves on the Regional Board of Directors for American Red Cross of Massachusetts and is a founding member of the Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders.
Lauren holds an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Lauren Baker currently serves as the First Lady of Massachusetts alongside her husband, Governor Charlie Baker.
Charles S. Nolan
Charles aka “Charlie” Nolan is one of the country’s most successful and highly regarded college and university enrollment managers. For 44 years Charlie led enrollment management efforts at Bentley University, Boston College, Washington University in St. Louis, Babson College, Santa Clara University and Olin College of Engineering, where he was the founding Dean of Admission in 1999 and later Vice President. He retired from Olin in 2015.
Charlie's admission and enrollment management philosophy is perfectly aligned with the Baker Group. His success is rooted in data analysis, which informs decision-making and strategy development. His college enrollment management perspective is a welcome addition to the Baker Group's experience with over 700 independent school clients. Charlie has changed college and university culture by emphasizing the practice that enrollment management is not a one person, one office or division responsibility, but an institutional attitude. He also believes that a "boutique" like approach to admission is fundamental to meeting enrollment goals. Every prospective student and her or his family should be treated with highly personalized care throughout the entire enrollment cycle.
Charlie holds a BA from Curry College, a MAT from Bridgewater State University (MA) and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Boston College. His thesis: “Academic Expectations and Realities of High Quality Freshman Students: A Concern for Enrollment Managers.” He co-authored “Enrollment Management at Babson College” with Susan West Englekmeyer and C. J. McNair, Global Cases in Benchmarking, Robert C. Camp, ASQ Quality Press, Milwaukee, WI, 1998.
With admission experience in several colleges and independent schools Erik, a former “Counselor of the Year” in Massachusetts, brings a rich and varied background in education to the Baker Group.
Erik has worked in the college admission offices at Williams College, Bates College and Colby College. His most recent independent school admission experience was at Pomfret School in CT, as the Assistant Head of School where he managed both the admission and college counseling offices.
As a college counselor with more than 25 years of experience (Belmont Hill School, Buffalo Seminary, Pomfret School, and the White Mountain School), Erik has served as a faculty member, mentor, and presenter at numerous regional and national conferences and workshops. He has visited hundreds of college campuses, meeting with admission personnel, faculty, and students. In his role as a senior level admission officer at Bates, Colby, and Williams, he was a major contributor to three highly successful programs and learned important college enrollment management practices which he has successfully translated to independent schools. Erik has led admission teams to achieve unprecedented success in highly competitive markets, consistently meeting and exceeding the school’s goals. Regardless of the venue, he has been consistently noted for his leadership, his thoughtfulness, and his steady approach.
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.
Sherry has a wide and varied background with more than 30 years of experience in business, the arts and non-profit organizations. She specializes in administration, marketing, public relations and events management. In addition, when Sherry is not working at the Baker Group she works as a weaver and paper artist, and co-owns Five Crows Gallery & Handcrafted Gifts in Natick, MA. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism from West Virginia University.
Crow’s Nest Faculty Members
Scott Looney, Head of School at Hawken School in Cleveland OH since 2006, is one of the most influential voices in the national independent school arena. Scott is a widely published author and frequent lecturer on the affordability and demographic challenges facing independent schools. Prior to Hawken, Scott worked for 11 years at Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, as Assistant Head of Schools, Director of External Affairs, and the Director of Admission and Financial Aid. Scott also served as Director of Admissions at Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois, and Assistant Dean of Admissions at Phillips Academy in Massachusetts. As a leader in progressive education, research and data-driven decision-making are at the core of Scott’s leadership success, and he has been sharing his secrets at Crow’s Nest every summer since its inception.
Monique Devane, Head of School at the College Preparatory School in Oakland California since 2011, is a cherished thought leader in the independent school world. Wherever she goes, Monique has an amazingly positive impact. Prior to College Prep, Monique was Associate Head of School at the Hawken School in Cleveland, Ohio, Director of Development and External Affairs at the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Assistant Head of School and Director of Admission at The Thacher School in Ojai, California and served in several capacities, including Director of Admission and Financial Aid at the Northfield Mount Hermon School, Northfield, Massachusetts. Monique’s background in organizational behavior coupled with her recent graduate work in Positive Organizational Development & Change takes conversations around leadership to the most thought-provoking level. Monique’s rare blend of humor, warmth, intellect, creativity, experience, vision, and spunk are why she is such a revered Crow’s Nest faculty member.