the se​arch for Excellence

lives here ...

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School Heads and Leaders, Welcome to ...

Whetstone School Consulting

~ improving and Refining the external affairs and operations of independent schools~

 Komorebi (木漏れ日) (koh- mo- reh- bee) is a Japanese phrase that means "sunlight streaming through trees"  or 

"the dappled light made by sunlight filtering through trees" - much about perspective

At Whetstone, we help school leadership understand, manage and refine both incoming and outgoing perspectives as we help to grow market awareness, brand strength and enrollment demand within the market footprint. 

We also provide specific services for School Boards and School Heads

in an affordable, cost-effective framework.

Since 2020​

Continue to services with this direct button or see our "2022 Industry Overview" below.


The 2022 southeast Independent School Overview 


The Southeast Independent School Scene -  2022 Edition

The entire Southeast is seeing strong population growth.  In recent years, business for independent schools has been up and down especially given the recent-years rising economy and then the pandemic. Business up until the pandemic spring was in the "green" and schools had felt a secure sense of supply and demand with healthy enrollments. Then March 2020 came. This secure feeling that schools operate with during good, stable times is the exact time when strengthening brand and possibly enrollment or programs is the best, strongest hedge against tough times. It is the very moment when independent schools must not become complacent but rather, must act intentionally and use the time to strengthen their businesses and better understand their customers and business model more clearly than ever. 

Now in 2022, we live in what feels like another world.

The private school scene is changing along with the arrival of a new generation of parents and this requires independent schools to be very self-aware and to refine their systems and ask themselves the "right" questions if they want to remain relevant going forward.

How has education changed since 2000? What has changed for schools in the last 20 years? 10 years? For most places the answer is "a lot" and the answer for independent schools in the southeast is no different. So much has indeed changed and change is occurring faster than ever it seems for most schools as a new generation of parents have more options. What a difference a year makes. 

This is a moment where independent schools can show value to new, curious, potential customers. 

Families today have more choice than ever before regarding their educational options, combined with more pressure than in past years regarding this all-important decision. 

Because of all these factors, parents, smartly, are looking for answers more than ever before. 

This is true in many communities across the country. Education has become a main topic again.

 Independent schools operate through the health of their enrollment systems and so the health of any given school's enrollment system is extremely important. Parents considering private school options should have very welcoming, clear, informative and smooth enrollment processes. Parents today are also being pulled in many financial directions and this challenge for private schools is as great as ever. Parents considering private schools often feel some degree of stress and anxiety about the process and the upcoming outcome. 

Some good news - schools can help with this. 

Affordability has replaced selectivity as the main issue for many families. Still, some families are not concerned with the cost as much as they are with simply getting "the best" for their child. 

Attracting more families, expanding admission funnels, sharpening the value proposition and being more aware of customer concerns is where schools must be sharp and clear. Schools must be aware of their customer profile and among other things, keeping their current families fully invested - and empowered. WSC is dedicated to the improvement of the independent school industry by helping schools with different aspects of their operations such as customer service and experiences for families, the processes and systems schools use and the ultimate outcomes yielded by private schools. The outcome goals for schools should be happier families, stronger enrollment demand, clearer internal awareness, stronger community brand awareness and better financial security.

The Most Important Customer

Borrowing from some of the greatest American business minds, the concept that the most important customer, is the customer you already have, is a very real and true concept.

Growing the Tribe

So yes, we are all members of tribes and schools are great examples of this. Our best recruiters are our current tribe members - our parents. Arming them with info to help us grow is crucial. Schools must cultivate this organic workforce.

Feeding the Sawmill

Every single person at the school is a member of the Admissions Team. This is true and every person at the school needs to know what that specifically means for them and what the​y can do to help. We all have a duty to help keep the logs coming in at the sawmill.

Feedback anyone !?!

School pride. Awareness. Humility. Adaptability. These are some aspects that school communities must manage and balance for excellence to occur. Schools must be intentional about seeking excellence and feedback is key. Surveys are our friends - and very helpful ones.

Walking the walk...

John​ny Cash called it, "walking the line" but the idea is the same in that schools must act on information and ideas and having an internal system for managing feedback as well as systems to propose and even implement changes is key to excellence. Change for the better is the action needed in the pursuit for excellence.


With almost 30 years experience working in the private school scene of Chattanooga and the southeast U.S., William Newberry has seen the changes and challenges of the private school market firsthand. Having worked with thousands of families over the years and having visited and worked with hundreds of schools across the southeast in recent years, his knowledge is well honed and current for sharing best practices. Previously serving on the administrative staffs of McCallie School, then Baylor School, William has a strong history of work experience to help schools find smart, creative ways to seek excellence in their business.


Whetstone School Consulting

824 Scenic Hwy, #7 , Lookout Mountain, TN, 37350