In my inaugural blog for 2021, I’m purposefully electing to take a respite from the national crisis that we witnessed taking place at the U.S. Capitol last week, and even the day-to-day regime of protecting our learning communities amid the worst we’ve seen of the COVID-19 pandemic, to bring you unabashedly good news. The NBOA Awards program has sought to honor the very best of the best among the NBOA community since its inception. I’m pleased to share that the Awards Selection Committee met recently to review numerous nominations from across the country to select this year’s honorees.
The 2021 NBOA Ken White Distinguished Business Officer award recipient is Donna Pacchioni, who served as chief financial officer at Hawken School in Gates Mills, Ohio, for 17 years before concluding her successful tenure there in June 2018. Most recently, Pacchioni has served a nearly three-year term as interim chief financial officer at Kentucky Country Day School (KCD) in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to Pacchioni’s exemplary work at both Hawken and KCD, she has provided leadership to the community of independent schools both in the Midwest and nationally. Her contributions include membership in the Midwest Business Managers, Association of Business Officers of Independent Schools (ABOIS) and board service at the Independent School Data Exchange (INDEX).
At NBOA, Pacchioni is concluding a six-year term on the Board of Directors, during which she chaired the Strategic Initiatives Committee, served on the Executive Committee, and most notably, co-chaired the NBOA Strategic Planning Task Force, which has provided a roadmap for the association’s success the past four years. In addition, Pacchioni has served as faculty for multiple Business Officer Institute programs and has shared her expertise in Net Assets magazine, amongst many other contributions to the association and industry. Furthermore, she is currently a board member of the Dougbe River School of Liberia and a finance committee member at the Urban Community School in Cleveland.
The 2021 NBOA Sarah Daignault Outstanding Support for Independent Schools Award is awarded to Tina and Paco Rodriguez, founders of SAGE Dining Services. In the 30 years since its founding, SAGE has expanded to provide dining services to hundreds of independent schools across the U.S. and Canada, feeding more than 200,000 people every day, with 2,800 full-time and 600 part-time employees. Tina Rodriguez is currently chief financial officer and general counsel of SAGE and oversees SAGE’s finance and legal operations. Paco Rodriguez is president of SAGE. Prior, he served in the school and college division of a large food service company, and as an associate at McKinsey & Co., a worldwide management consulting firm.
Both Tina and Paco Rodriguez are sought after by the independent school community as speakers and webinar hosts on topics of nutrition, leadership, local food procurement and dining service management. SAGE has been a partner and supporter of NBOA since 1998. The company has sponsored cohort receptions at the NBOA Annual Meeting for many years, and in 2015 supported the first edition of Practical Guidance for Independent Schools Business Operations (now in a second edition), the only comprehensive review of an independent school’s business and financial operations to ensure legal compliance and best practice. Tina and Paco Rodriguez sponsored the Business Leadership for Independent Schools Program, a graduate certificate program offered in partnership with John Hopkins University and a precursor to today’s NBOA Leadership Academy, and also taught the capstone on leadership.
The opportunity to recognize members of our community allows us to shine a light on their singular and unique commitment to our schools, leadership and character that are valued by the NBOA community.
The opportunity to recognize members of our community allows us to shine a light on their singular and unique commitment to our schools, leadership and character that are valued by the NBOA community. Amidst the tumult of the past few days, and dare I say last year, it is certainly a pleasure to do so.
Please congratulate these three outstanding leaders! And help us celebrate their commitment to independent schools at the 2021 NBOA Annual Meeting: An All-Virtual Experience, where each recipient will share remarks on Tuesday, February 23, during the “State of NBOA and Leadership Awards Presentation” general session at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.