Andy started North Star Marketing in 2000, converting a corner of his parents’ basement into a makeshift office. The idea was simple: help organizations connect more effectively with qualified customers. Not much has changed since then. Yes, North Star has a few more people (who do not work from Andy’s parents’ basement), and the range of services has evolved substantially, but the “big idea” is still the same: to use our God-given creative talents to provide Marketing Leadership that creates value for our team, our clients, and our partners. Within the firm, Andy shapes the vision and strategy, advises on client engagements, and supports the team through coaching. In client-facing scenarios, Andy thrives in leading Message Workshops and meddling in strategy. Andy is also the Founder of Via, a web-based software platform that empowers marketing firms to develop and deploy strategy for their clients. When not tending to "work stuff,” Andy is usually hanging out with his remarkable wife and way-above-average kiddos...or cheering for Liverpool FC.
Chief Operations Officer
We actually have video footage of this guy staring at his screen without blinking for 6 hours. We posted it to YouTube, but it went viral and crashed their servers. The good news for North Star’s online marketing clients is he’s working on strategic planning for their accounts. With a strong background in direct marketing and lead generation, Clark’s considerable expertise enables him to speak to both traditional and inbound strategies. When he’s not knee-deep in Google Analytics, you can likely find Clark on the receiving end of round house kicks and knuckle sandwiches from his black-belt teenage daughter.
Director of Client Engagement
Kyle’s personality type is only seen in two percent of the population. We don’t find this shocking. When you read up on INTJs, they are described as imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private, amazingly curious, but not known to squander energy. These are the rare pairings of qualities that make Kyle an exceptional marketing manager.
With backgrounds in graphic arts, IT, and strategic communication, Kyle has a knowledge base that is broad and deep. Before joining NSM, he worked in higher education leadership for 12 years. Today, he partners with organizations across many industries to find fundamental solutions and develop holistic marketing strategies. And when he’s got free time on his hands, he’s still making the most of it — whether working on his latest carpentry project or traveling with his wife. While there aren’t many of Kyle’s “type” in the world, we’re fortunate to have one on our team.
Rob is one of those rare people who is good at lots of things…like soccer, photography, theology, eating gummy worms, etc. He has a unique gift for envisioning a brand and, before it’s even been designed, seeing how it will be implemented on a website, a billboard, a direct mail piece, and a bumper sticker (or, for our clients in the Northeast, “bumpah stickah”). He’s also an inspiring soccer coach, an optimistic gardener, and a way above-average husband and father. Spend a day on a photo shoot with him, and you’ll see why North Star and our clients are blessed to have this guy on the team.
Have you ever seen a programmer sing karaoke? If so, it wasn’t Ryan. While he’s not necessarily the “out-in-front” kind of guy, he’s been doing an awful lot behind the scenes since 2002 to make the tech stuff happen when it’s showtime. His remarkable knowledge of web technologies is staggering. And he likes cats. And he married up. Now, isn’t that a lethal combination?
If you called North Star Marketing as a new client, chances are, you've met Micah. As the Solutions Adviser at NSM, he's had the privilege of working with schools across the country to propose marketing solutions for Healthy Enrollment. But wait — that's not all! Micah leads North Star's Sales & Marketing Team, serves on the Leadership Team, and is the Director of the Caring Team.
It may sound like Micah has a lot on his plate, but his friendly, present, and engaging personality shows that he's serving with joy. What else brings him joy? This proud husband and dad of five kiddos loves singing R&B and soul hits while driving his car — if you're lucky, you'll catch him imitating greats like Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, or Aretha Franklin!
A caring leader in every way, you'll also find Micah serving and loving his church community. Needless to say, Micah is everywhere (no pun intended, but running is also his hobby)! When he's not at work, home, or church, you'll probably catch him cheering his heart out for UNC (yup, he is a true blue Tar Heel fan. Woohoo!).
Sarah is the epitome of the “duck on the water” analogy. Gliding across the water, it looks effortless. Just below the surface, however, the feet are paddling hard. That’s Sarah. She manages our production and helps all of us swim more efficiently. Without her, we’d pretty much all pack up and go home. She’s also a mom with two remarkable children. In fact, we have already signed contracts for both of them to work at North Star when they grow up…and they’re not even out of elementary school yet.
This North Star production manager is one part philosopher (“It’s not the arrow, it’s the indian…”), one part amateur golfer (reference the golf shoes at the office and the weekend score card in the 70’s), one part aspiring photographer (note the ever-changing wallpaper on his Mac), one part neat-freak (you won’t find a paperclip out of place on his desk) and one part humorist (“How does he keep a straight face?”). There’s a lot going on here, which is what makes Tyler such a strong project manager. He moves from project to project, conversation to conversation with an easy-going style that works like a trusty seven iron.
Education Marketing Manager
Laura Eisenga, one of North Star’s Education Marketing Managers, is a native and long-time resident of Sunnyside, Washington. So of course, she shines! Laura brings a wealth of experience in education enrollment, fundraising, and marketing to the table for our K-12 school clients.
Outside the office, she makes time for a fascinating list of personal interests: photography, coaching (volleyball and fastpitch softball), running a small business (embroidery), exploring the Pacific Northwest (and its growing reputation for remarkable wine), and, with her husband, Ben, raising 13-year old twins Addison and Ashton.
On and off the clock, Laura’s creative energy and gifts are helping good things grow, and we couldn’t be more delighted that she is a part of our team!
Education Marketing Manager
When it comes to crabcakes, what makes the difference between “Oh my!” and “meh?” We didn’t know either, which is one of the many reasons we needed to hire Sue Carback. It turns out she is not only a veteran educator, a former admissions director, an enrollment marketing innovator, a proud mom, a happy hiking partner with her husband in all kinds of wild and beautiful places, but also a native Marylander with a finely tuned shellfish palate. (It’s all about the lump backfin and Old Bay, y’all!) Along with our other education marketing managers, Sue is a huge part of the expertise we bring to the table for all our school partners.
Kyle currently holds the record for the tallest guy at North Star. But don’t let the “gentle giant” exterior fool you. Inside, he’s a branding grizzly, web design monster, a print powerhouse. Give him a kickoff meeting and a creative brief, and get out of the way. When he’s not manhandling a Mac, you’ll find Kyle and his wife hiking, paddling or camping…outdoorsy stuff. In fact, some days he even wears hiking boots to the office in anticipation of getting outdoors.
How far is it from Boone, NC to Greensboro, NC? If you’re Sarah Sams, content strategist at North Star Marketing, it’s a few thousand miles, covering 37 countries (and counting) with her husband and daughter. After earning her B.S. in Journalism from Appalachian State, Sarah invested her creative writing efforts in data-driven marketing work in education, luxury travel, newspapers, and non-profits before landing back ‘home' in NC to support our enrollment marketing efforts for schools across the country. Along the way, she picked up bits of five languages, an uncanny taste for hops, a vintage Russian motorcycle (with a sidecar!), mountaineering feats, and more than a few stories from her Eastern European hitchhiking days.
Support and Training Specialist
Building computers, tinkering on various projects, honing his coding chops — Michael loves to learn, and he stays curious about how things work. Those are just a couple reasons he’s an excellent fit for meeting the support and training needs in our development team. We love the way Michael loves to help others learn and see the lightbulb come on for them with a problem they are facing. It’s also great to see the way he puts his friends and family first. Michael and his wife Gentry are raising three amazing children and a little menagerie of fur ball pets.
Perhaps it’s the orderly stacks of papers and folders on her desk, seated at attention like members of an orchestra. Or maybe it’s the P90-X workout she demands of the printer on a daily basis. It could be her Google-like ability to find anything you need in a matter of seconds. Or maybe you could tell by the cello leaning against the wall in her office, patiently awaiting lessons at the end of the day.
Regardless of how you piece it together, you don’t have to be around Misha Foust for long to know that she is the ultimate Benefits Administrator. In her role, she gets to care for every North Star team member by ensuring that benefits are updated, new employees are onboarded with their documents, and every check is deposited (Woohoo!). In short, she is our admin superwoman.
And best of all, for a lady who adores order and precision, Misha has the patience of Job when working with the “creative types” at North Star. (Is that Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G emanating from her office?)
Product Development Manager
Behind every effective marketing plan is a great strategy, and behind every great strategy is a skilled strategist. Over his career, Jeff has worked with organizations across many different industries — from Fortune 500s to small businesses and startups. But it’s more than experience that drives his success. Jeff’s personality makes him uniquely equipped to help North Star’s clients. He’s passionate – both about people and seeing the businesses they operate thrive. He’s results-oriented, which means nothing makes him giddier than showing clients how their investment translated to engagement. He’s not afraid to adapt or learn something new. And he’s patient, which is a good thing, because he’s got six kids…a real life Brady Bunch (minus Alice). When not plotting marketing strategy, he and his wife are planning fun family adventures, including hiking, traveling, and sports. Jeff draws inspiration from many sources, including the larger-than-life Michael Jordan cutout by his desk. In the words of the basketball legend himself, “If you put in the work, the results will come.”
Digital Marketing Manager
Starting his professional career off on Capitol Hill, Leo Schmid soon realized it wasn’t just college kids that loved talking about themselves on social media. And so our digital marketing manager quickly learned how to navigate all the various digital channels, and eventually turned those skills into a career. In addition to bringing his veteran inbound, analytics, and SEO expertise to bear on all our work, Leo helps lead the effort to make the murky waters of social media and marketing automation clear for our clients. Maybe it’s easier for him to jump in the deep end of the pool with our partners because he’s a coastal native from Wilmington, NC, loves the beach, and spending time outdoors.
Education Marketing Manager
Like any nature lover, Susan appreciates a good view, whether it’s the beach, a lake, or even an active volcano (seriously, Mt. Rainier was in her former backyard). But, with years of camping under her belt, as well as a diverse career history, she knows life isn’t all about the destination. It’s about the story that unfolds along the way. That’s why Susan is so good at helping schools. Each one has a unique story to tell, and when shared in an effective way, students and families get to discover their best fit learning environment. Susan studied journalism before landing in graphic design and ultimately earning her B.S. in Marketing. I guess you could say she chose not to be a journalist and became somewhat of a journeyist instead. From joyfully parenting and grandparenting, to working in marketing and enrollment at two private schools, to off-roading and view-seeking throughout the west, Susan has the experience to help her clients achieve their goals and enjoy the ride.
One of Angeline’s most memorable moments was chasing the Northern Lights through below-zero temperatures in Fairbanks, Alaska. From there, she started chasing a lot of things — more exciting destinations, her kids, and dreams of becoming a writer. A former speech pathologist with an M.Ed. under her belt, Angeline knows the education field both in theory and in practice. She’s been helping schools with their digital marketing efforts long enough to know that good content not only reaches the mind, but touches the heart. When she’s not at her desk cranking out compelling content over a warm caramel latte, you can probably find her out buying books, trying new restaurants, or finding a novel destination to explore.
Education Marketing Manager
What do cooking up a delicious meal and executing a great marketing strategy have in common? They both require vision, creativity, attention to detail, and sometimes, a willingness to experiment. It comes as no surprise that Jacob loves being in the kitchen as much as the office. He’s gained insight from around the world, connecting with various cultures through food. While teaching English in South America, Jacob developed an appetite for education that has driven his career in helping schools grow and succeed. Whether he’s brainstorming a new culinary creation or a recipe for healthy enrollment, you can count on Jacob for an impressive result.
What does a Solutions Developer do? We’re glad you asked! No one can sum up this role better than Rudi himself.
“One of my favorite things is when something doesn’t exist; there’s a problem…you identify the problem…propose a solution…create the solution…and then it works! It’s like magic.”
With years of experience in private education, Rudi Gesch helps schools identify what's missing in their enrollment strategy, then works with our creative team to breathe new life into their marketing. Rudi has a deep understanding of the unique challenges private schools face. He’s a self-proclaimed “Christian-school kid,” having attended from kindergarten to college and later leading marketing and enrollment efforts at Christian schools in three different states (IL, NJ, and WI). When he’s not solving complex problems for our education clients, he's likely devoting his time to either church, family, or sports. In the summertime you’ll find Rudi at the beach with his wife and three kids. When the weather cools down, check his living room if the Packers are playing (he’s been on the season ticket waiting list since he was eight years old).
Senior Content Writer
Connecting the right families with the right schools — that’s what motivates Jeremy to create powerful content for North Star’s clients each day. With 17+ years of writing experience (a mix of journalism and online marketing), he understands that solving enrollment challenges is not all about generating leads; it’s about developing relationships, building trust, and connecting schools with mission-aligned families. Jeremy calls North Carolina home, but he’s a true adventurer, recently completing a cross-country RV trip and logging more than 25,000 miles! You might have guessed he loves the outdoors, hiking, and exploration, with a special place in his heart for the Blue Ridge Mountains. When Jeremy's not writing or recharging in nature, you'll likely find him reading, playing acoustic guitar, or hanging out with his wife, teenage daughter, and golden retriever.
Education Marketing Manager
Creativity, dedication, and talent — these are what Elizabeth brings to the table, both in enrollment marketing and her love for theatre. Her passion for the performing arts, even serving as the director for a theatre organization, reflects the leadership she provides for her clients as an Education Marketing Manager at North Star.
Trust us, this only child knows what she wants and has long been determined (and successful) in accomplishing her goals! After all, Elizabeth's extensive experience as a Director of Enrollment gives her great insight into what schools want — and need.
On her breaks, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her husband, two girls, and their pets: One is a "Jackihuahua" (part Jack Russell Terrier and part Chihuahua), and a cat named Luna. On long weekends? She absolutely enjoys immersing in everything theatre — attending a show, talking about a show, or running a show.
I guess it goes without saying; personally and professionally, Elizabeth knows how to execute a stellar performance.
Senior Content Writer
A true creative at heart, Marketta loves everything from writing, paper crafts, and growing cut flowers. It's no wonder this Senior Writer has successfully supported a diverse range of clients, with experiences serving large health systems, newspapers, and even an agency for children with developmental disabilities — and now, she's passionate about writing for schools: "I'm glad that I get to help people make informed choices about educating their children."
Outside of writing, this proud Oklahoma native and mom-of-two's days are filled with fulfilling hobbies. She's currently stewarding a "Little Free Library" in her community and other events such as plant swaps and school supply giveaways. In her spare time, Marketta also loves exploring with her family, near and far, to visit new shops, parks, and restaurants.
With all that Marketta's been doing — whether it's crafting, hosting events in the community, or providing marketing leadership through writing, you can trust an excellent output for everything she gets her hands on.
Erin Ryan Connolly
Senior Content Writer
Writing? That's her game. Erin? That's her name. This Miami, Florida, native has a long (and impressive) history working as a writer and an editor for diverse industries (think finance, real estate, and — you guessed it — education). As a wife and mom, Erin finds her role as a Senior Content Writer at North Star deeply fulfilling: "North Star’s culture, values, and emphasis on work-life balance stood out to me."
In her spare time, Erin enjoys everything outdoors. Ask her to go hiking, fishing, biking, or paddle boarding, and she'll be up for it! This multifaceted gal is also into gardening, jazz music, yoga, and farmers markets.
Have a piece of furniture lying around that you're tempted to throw out? Don't do it just yet! Erin has a talent for repurposing “curb finds” — you can learn a thing or two from her about turning your odds and ends into a prized treasure. And this is why Erin's so good at what she does: Transforming words and ideas into high-quality content.
Education Marketing Manager
Amber is our enneagram “maverick” at North Star; which means she is creative, confident, and passionate about making a difference. Many things bring her joy and fulfillment. Music, singing, writing, heading to the beach, being a loving wife and mom — and now, she's happily serving our clients as one of our talented Education Marketing Managers. "I love that I get to help bridge the gap between schools and families. While schools are looking for right-fit families and healthy enrollment, potential families are looking to invest in their child's future through a well-rounded educational journey. I believe that by bringing these two groups together, we can create a brighter future."
As a communications graduate with a concentration in marketing, Amber brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in delivering strategies for driving healthy enrollment. Before joining NSM, Amber also served as a Marketing and Communications Coordinator for a private Christian school, uniquely positioning herself to understand the needs of our clients today. She prides herself in helping her clients surpass their goals, while cultivating meaningful relationships along the way so that each need is understood and met.
Aside from being top-notch in her professional role, what other delightful things should you know about Amber? She's a Jesus-loving, church-singing, oat milk vanilla latte-drinking southern belle! Amber loves spending time with her husband, two adorable kiddos, and their small maltipoo named Tank. She strives to make every area of her life vibrant. And that is why Amber is the definition of someone who is always finding joy and loving life. After all, that is part of who she is (yes, "Joy" is really her middle name!).