If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what your school district patrons are really thinking—and why—then Think Like a Patron (Without Losing Your Mind) is for you. Based on 20 years of research data, this book explains what your patrons really care (and want to know more) about, what they’re somewhat interested in, and what makes their eyes glaze over. Filled with real-life examples and specific recommendations you can put to use right away, it’s the workbook for modern school district administrators who want to Think Like a Patron (without losing their minds).
Since 1992, I’ve crawled inside the heads, so to speak, of patrons in districts of all shapes, sizes and socioeconomic conditions. I’ve asked them how they think their school district’s people are performing, whether or not the school facilities are up to their expectations, if the programs are of suitable quality, and whether or not they feel (as taxpayers) they are being both well-served and understood, in addition to a myriad of other topics. Most of the time, these questions have been part of research conducted to inform a school district’s decision-making about a potential ballot proposal. At other times, it’s been a benchmark assessment that precedes a plan to strengthen district/patron relationships, or a follow-up study designed to check progress. Over the course of this work, I’ve discovered that most patrons are passionately interested in a handful of topics related to their local school district and its performance, moderately focused on another set, and don’t think much at all about yet another group of topics.
Ken DeSieghardt is the CEO and partner of Patron Insight, Inc. (www.patroninsight.com) a company that has been helping school districts large, small and in between better understand what their patrons care about since 1992. A graduate of the University of Kansas who received his research training from The Burke Institute, Ken is a frequent regional and national speaker on topics related to building district/patron relationships. He writes a well-respected blog on school communications topics, and is a co-founder of the Americans for Public Education, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to champion all that is right about public schools. Ken, his wife, Sara Beals (a CPA), and their two children live in Stilwell, Kansas, where Ken enjoys reading, writing, and playing the occasional round of very average golf.