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Competing for Kids Bookcover

Newport Independent School's Superintendent Kelly Middleton Releases his Third Book: Competing for Kids

Newport Independent School's Superintendent Kelly Middleton has published his third book entitled Competing for Kids, which looks at 21 customer service strategies the best companies are practicing and applies them to education so public schools can remain competitive. 


As a public school teacher and administrator for thirty years, Middleton is not a stranger to the needs of public education. In 2007, Middleton warned us in his first book Who Cares? about the new competition for the public school system and the implications and challenges it presents. In 2018 we are seeing teacher protests and strikes across the United States as a result of these challenges. Competing for Kids gives public schools a way to combat this competition and provide the best education for students attending public schools. 


In Competing for Kids, Kelly gives us real world examples of how public schools can battle all forms of competition. The book includes a training guide for all departments within a public school system like food service, secretaries, transportation, teachers and administrators. As he says in Who Cares?: “Unless all areas within a public school focus on customer service, we are going to be in the same boat with the U.S. Mail System, Cable T.V. and we are going to be as archaic as telephones tethered to walls by a cord.”


There are approximately 50 million public school students at an average cost of $12,000 to educate them each year for a total annual cost of $600 billion. There are approximately 3.2 million full time teachers with an average salary of $58,000 per year for a total annual cost of $185 billion. The approximate cost of the federal food service program is $20 million each year and another $20 million is spent on student transportation. This incredible amount of money explains the trend of many home school organizations, private schools and charter schools raising recruitment efforts towards enrolling public school students.


Middleton says public schools must not only recognize the current battle for students, but must also put into place superior customer service strategies that meet the needs of students and parents.


As Millennials and Generation X parents and students are now entering the public school systems, Middleton ponders in Competing for Kids what implications the way they embrace new ideas and technology have for how they choose to educate their children. If public schools plan on surviving in the 21st Century, developing a system of giving great customer service to students and families, across all generations, must be at the forefront of the school system's strategic planning.


Middleton has been a teacher, coach, school principal at each level of the public school system. Currently, he uses his understanding of each of these positions to be an effective leader as Newport school's superintendent.


Middleton has co-authored two other books Who Cares? and Simply The Best, both are about delivering customer service throughout an entire school system from cooks and custodians to teachers and administrators. Each of his books explain how schools can utilize customer service concepts from the business world in order to improve their school culture and create a better experience for students, families and staff.


You can find his books and articles on his website.


-Staff report