A Long View on Leadership

Our schools will need strong business office leadership far beyond our current crises.

Sep 14, 2021

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
NBOA President and CEO

It’s widely understood that the future of independent schools hinges on not only world-class education, but also our institutions’ long-term financial health and sustainability. Therefore, it’s top of mind for us at NBOA to develop current and future leaders in strategic finance and operations.

As you in schools have been opening your doors for a new school year, we at NBOA have launched a second year of the NBOA Leadership Academy. This program is like no other professional development program offered by NBOA. The opportunity is specifically designed to enhance independent school business professionals’ skills in the critical leadership areas of collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking, to complement the technical knowledge and expertise business officers have in finance and operations.

The opening learning session held last week highlighted findings from recent interviews I conducted with successful business officers. Four themes emerged from these conversations: the business leader’s role as strategic thinker, as educator, as trusted partner and as entrepreneur. In our learning session, program mentors provided several real-life examples of each as experienced in their schools and careers.

Jeff Shields presenting “The Leadership Role of the Business Officer” to the 2021-22 NBOA Leadership Academy Cohort on September 9, 2021.

Twenty of your peers have committed to join our most recent cohort to enhance their understanding of the complex roles and responsibilities of independent school leadership. The cohort represents sitting chief financial officers as well as a diverse set of other school business leadership positions, from schools large and small, boarding and day, from far and wide.

Welcome, Leadership Academy Class of 2021-22:

This program is made possible in large part by our partners in Vanderbilt University’s independent school leadership program at Peabody College, our friends at Bank of America, and four nationally recognized business officers who are serving as program mentors. This year’s program mentors are:

  • Frank Aloise, Chief Financial Officer, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (PA)
    2017 Recipient of the NBOA Ken White Distinguished Business Officer Award and Past NBOA Board Chair, 2013-2015
  • Palmer Ball, Assistant to the Head for Finance and Strategic Planning, St. Joseph’s Catholic School (SC)
    2015 Recipient of the NBOA Ken White Distinguished Business Officer Award
  • Tracey Fudge, Chief Financial Officer, Holton-Arms School (MD)
    Past NBOA Board Chair, 2017-2019
  • Cindy Stadulis, Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School (TX)
    2008 Recipient of the NBOA Ken White Distinguished Business Officer Award

As we have weathered multiple crises over the past year and half, the call for leadership has been answered by business officers time and time again. Leadership is needed by our schools beyond times of crisis, however – we need strong leaders to plan for years ahead. And NBOA remains committed to supporting business officers to help them lead their schools into an innovative and financially healthy future!

Follow  President and CEO Jeff Shields @shieldsNBOA.

From Net Assets NOW, September 14, 2021. Read past issues of CEO Notebook.




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