November 2, 2023 — In response to an expansion, the Kansas City Teacher Residency (KCTR) is now The Educator Academy, reflective of its goals for the future. We talked to Andrea Bright Harrell, operations manager for people and branding at the Educator Academy, to learn more about their rebranding journey.
1) Why did you decide to change your name and brand identity?
Our previous name, Kansas City Teacher Residency, limited us to both the geographical region of Kansas City and to residency programming. With the expansion of our work, we wanted a name that reflected the future goals. We have become more than a teacher residency program within Kansas City and we wanted a name that represented that current reality. We also wanted a new brand that represented the innovative approach we take to education. Our group is diverse in background, race, and age, and we desired a brand identity that reflected the diversity of our people. Also, we wanted a brand that communicated the professionalism of educators while still being warm and inviting to those who may not always feel welcomed in traditional education spaces.
2) How long has this process been in the works?
We began the rebranding process in 2021. It first started with the revision of our mission, vision, and values which gave us a clearer sense of where we were going as an organization. From there, we were able to dig into our name, tagline and then visual aspects like our color palette and logo.
3) What steps did you take to launch your rebrand?
We had multiple avenues for stakeholder engagement through surveys and focus groups. We wanted our new brand to resonate with our stakeholders so we needed their input throughout the process. Once the branding was complete, we soft launched at our end-of-year Community Celebration. This is an annual event in May to celebrate our teachers and the accomplishments of the year. By giving them an early preview of the brand we were able to inform and engage current stakeholders before the change fully took place.
For publicly launching the brand, we outlined and prioritized the most outward-facing items first (ex. website, email address, etc.) with more internal documents being updated on a rolling basis. We also worked with an outside agency throughout the rebranding process which was crucial for the tangible elements like our logo.
Read more about the Educator Academy and their rebrand in their press release.