Cheers to Camaraderie in 2023

Amidst the holiday cheer, the NBOA staff reflect on a year of accomplishments, celebrating milestones and setting a course for the future.

Dec 12, 2023  |  By Jeff Shields, FASAE, CAE

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
NBOA President and CEO

As we light our candles and deck the halls during this festive season, I can't help but marvel at the small miracles we in the independent school community have accomplished this year. For those of you in schools, I hope you are feeling proud with the fall semester nearly under your belt. I can report that the merry band of colleagues known as the NBOA staff is feeling pleased about this autumn’s work on essential programs, products and services, as well as new initiatives, like the Mission-Anchored Compensation Strategies research and resources released in late October.

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing each and every NBOA staff member — who are now distributed from Seattle, Washington, to Raleigh, North Carolina — at our annual December “staff planning” retreat. It was pure joy to be together for two days of professional and team development. We celebrated work anniversaries for four colleagues, at the five-, 10- and 15-year marks — making the average tenure on NBOA staff now 7 years and climbing!


Our icebreaker for the December all-staff meeting involved buying Toys for Tots and sharing personal stories. Cheers to Felix Rivera, association services coordinator, for managing the festive decorations.

Then we spent significant time launching a new phase of DEI work for NBOA with the help of the Wells Collective, which will result in a more comprehensive plan. We shared our professional strengths and learned how we can grow as a team through Gallup’s CliftonStrengths exercise, led by Vanderbilt PD pro and consultant Krystal Clark. We wrapped up the week with a generative discussion on generative AI, led by One Schoolhouse’s COO, Erin Rehel.


Kalea Selmon of the Wells Collective led a session orienting the NBOA staff ahead of developing a new and comprehensive DEI plan that will build on previous work.

This will be the last all-staff meeting at our current DC headquarters — we will be downsizing to a smaller space in 2024 — and we toasted our time there with some personalized Coca-Colas, courtesy of the creative and convivial learning team, which is itching to get to Atlanta for the 2024 NBOA Annual Meeting. I know I am, and I hope you are too.

As we prepare to bid adieu to this eventful year, I hope you can reflect on the camaraderie we have within our schools and across them. May your holidays be filled with laughter, wonder and warmth. Here's to an extraordinary year ahead, brimming with opportunities for our incredible independent school community!


The NBOA staff in the lobby of our current DC office, with personalized Cokes in anticipation of the 2024 NBOA Annual Meeting in Atlanta. Thanks to former NBOA staffer Lauren Anderson for stopping by and taking this snap!



Jeff Shields

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE

President and CEO


Washington, DC

Jeff Shields, FASAE, CAE, has served as president and CEO of the NBOA since March 2010. NBOA is the premier national association serving the needs of business officers and business operations staff at independent schools. Shields, an active member of the American Society of Association Executives, has been recognized as an ASAE Fellow (FASAE) and earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) professional designation. His current board service includes serving as a director for AMHIC, a healthcare consortium for educational associations in Washington, DC, as well as a trustee for the Enrollment Management Association. Previous board service includes serving as a director for the American Society of Association Executives, as a director for One Schoolhouse, an innovative online school offering supplemental education to independent schools, and as a trustee for Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC. Shields holds a BA from Shippensburg University and an MA from The Ohio State University.

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