PMP335: Branding & Marketing Your Schools with Tyler Vawser and Britanny Keil

Will Parker is joined by guests Tyler Hawser and Brittany Keil on this week's episode to discuss how school leaders can market their schools.

Tyler Vawser is the Vice President of Marketing at Apptegy. Tyler leads Apptegy’s Marketing & Media teams, which offer a number of resources to school leaders including guides to school marketing and SchoolCEO suite including a print magazine, website, and podcast, SchoolCEO Conversations . Tyler was the VP of People and focused on recruiting, onboarding, and culture for 3.5 years at Apptegy. Prior to Apptegy, Tyler worked in NYC in higher education and for startups including Museum Hack and Sticker Mule.

Brittany Keil is a writer, and researcher with SchoolCEO, a research and perspectives magazine for school superintendents and other K12 leaders published by Apptegy. Prior to working as a writer full-time, Brittany taught English and Special Education for eight years in Arkansas and in Washington, D.C. Brittany is an alumna of Johns Hopkins University, the University of Central Arkansas, and is a former Fulbright Scholar. 

Here are a few questions we explore:

What are your respective journeys into education and what led you to your work with Apptegy?

Both Tyler and Brittany’s families have worked in the fields that they are currently working in. Tyler’s grandparents had a long history of education leadership in rural Colorado, while Brittany’s family has a history of working in media development. Brittany’s side job as a copywriter while teaching led her to the work she does today. Tyler’s work with startups in NYC led to him working with Apptegy in Arkansas. Since beginning to work there, Apptegy has grown from a small company to one with 400 employees.

Can you explain what topics SchoolCEO covers and what guidance you provide school leaders on school marketing?

Apptegy has created tools to help leaders navigate easier ways to communicate their values. Marketing is every experience others are having in our school. Principals are often the most trusted persons in a community. You must know your core identity and communicate those values to your community. These impressions of your school also influence how others feel about public education in particular.

How is a school like a brand? How can principals play an important role in that?

Schools are a brand; the question is are they being intentional about shaping that brand or is it being shaped for them? Brands are very much fueled by the community that a school serves and how that community feels about the school. School leaders can help play a role in shaping the brand of schools by highlighting the positive stories that happen in their school. 

What lessons have you learned in your own education/leadership experiences and transitions in work that may benefit other leaders? What are some of your favorite takeaways from leaders influencing education today?

Most education leaders love their work and are dedicated to the best for all students they serve. The difficulties of the work should not overshadow the good outcomes happening in your schools. The power of curiosity is what leads to learning – especially when people are given permission to fail while trying new ideas or learning experiences.

Any parting words of advice for listeners, and how can they stay connected with you and your resources?

Stay connected through their website: for podcasts, a newsletter for leaders and more! Here’s a free resource from Tyler and Brittany: The Principal’s Guide to School Marketing.

Think someone else would benefit from this episode?
William D. Parker
William D. Parker