Many students never consider that someone is working behind the scenes to manage all of Seattle Academy’s social media accounts and data, but that person is Andrew Spitzer. He is in charge of 60+ Seattle Academy school related branded accounts, but that is the easier part of his job. He also examines weekly and quarterly big data as it relates to Seattle Academy’s digital marketing and communication initiatives. However, most of the work he does upstairs in the Vanderbilt offices often goes unrecognized by the students at SAAS.
Andrew has always been passionate about connecting people around causes to build a community, so he steered his education in that direction. Andrew is from Spokane, and attended Eastern Washington University where he earned BA’s in both Communications and Business Administration Management. Then he moved to Seattle to go to graduate school at the UW. There he got his Masters of Education in Educational Administration, Policy and Leadership with a focus in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership working in Development and Fundraising.
After college, he worked as a graduate assistant in the University of Washington Athletics Department, fundraising and communicating with donors to aid the renovation of Husky stadium. He also helped launch the Young Tyee Club that reaches out to the untapped age group of 22-30 year olds to strengthen the younger University of Washington alumni network. This program encourages alumni to return to campus and connect with the school, especially by coming together around Husky Athletic events.
In between University of Washington and Seattle Academy, Andrew worked as a digital marketing and communications consultant through a preferred vendor company inside Microsoft. He spent three years developing his professional administrative and management skills, in an exciting and fast-paced tech industry, but ultimately he wanted to get back into educational administration. He looked online and found information about Seattle private and independent schools currently in the process of capital campaigns. He discovered a job listing at SAAS, and connected with some faculty to confirm that SAAS’ mission aligned with his own personal goals.
Now at SAAS, Andrew again communicates with alumni to invite them to join our digital community and reconnect with faculty, staff, and fellow graduates. Additional parts of his job include supporting the SAAS Rising capital campaign, which encompasses all the new buildings like the STREAM and the future Cardinal Union Building opening Fall of 2018. Recently, he brought the current 6th graders, who will be the first ever graduating class in the new middle school building, to write on the walls of Cub building before it was demolished. Another fundraiser he organized was the “I Heart SAAS” drive, which went towards our annual fund.
The social media aspect of his job takes up about 20% of his time, and he views it as just one tool in his tool belt as a marketer and digital communications expert. Social media is just another storytelling platform that he uses to bring people together. Andrew believes it is special because it provides each user a unique experience – not everyone’s Facebook feed looks the same. That is what drives the industry, and what keeps social media evolving but always working towards the goal to connect humans.
Andrew says that SAAS’ primary goal in their media presence is to inform, and he always tries to “drive people back to the Inside SAAS page, which describes this community.” This is a convenient outlet to recognize staff, students, and parents. Andrew always has to be conscious that various audiences perceive his posts in all kinds of fashions and forms. He tries to be active and lively and to show off the abundance of visually appealing events happening at SAAS. However, according to Andrew, “Our personality speaks for itself,” so it is easy to show who we are as a school and brand.
Andrew understands that leading by example is the best technique when using social media. This is true for the example he sets to outsiders and people in the SAAS community.
Upper school teacher and Cardinal adviser James Watson is constantly learning from Andrew. When Andrew first joined SAAS, he introduced himself to James in order to offer help with social media for The Cardinal. “[Andrew] was immediately able to help us with our presence on Facebook and Twitter,” James says. “He trained the students and me to schedule posts so that they show up on feeds at the most popular times, embed images, and analyze stats that reflect traffic on social media sites.”
“Andrew consistently attends Cardinal meetings, providing judgment when needed and really connecting with the kids here,” James says. He also remarks how Andrew quickly understood the goals of The Cardinal and incorporated them into the school’s vision for communications. “The result is that we are able to do an even better job of showing the world what our students do and think, and who they are, James says.”
The next time you click through the Inside SAAS page to find the lunch calendar, take a moment to scan the current headlines on the site. This page acknowledges the accomplishments of peers, faculty, and families that surround us at school every day.
The SAAS sites never point directly at Andrew, which is an intentional decision so that if a day comes he can turn the brand over and have it still represent the school’s rather than his own image. This is just one example of Andrew’s forward thinking mentality when designing social media. He always considers the future. Each SAAS page presents an impressive example of Andrew’s hard work in action, and gives us reason to be proud of our school and community!