Unsung Hero: Joan McCabe, Pinecrest Academy

McCabe's financial skills resulted in successful debt refinancing, reduced interest rates and enhanced financial stability.

Jul 31, 2023

Joan McCabe

The Will J. Hancock Unsung Hero Award is given to business officers who have made extraordinary contributions to their schools and exemplify exceptional integrity, knowledge and motivation. At the end of each school year, new Unsung Heroes receive their award from their head of school, often at a significant school occasion such as a board meeting or an all-school ceremony. What makes these Unsung Heroes so special? The highlights below come straight from their colleagues' nominations.

Title: Vice President of Finance/CFO

School: Pinecrest Academy, Cumming, Georgia


Superpower: Financial Foresight: Joan McCabe designed a cost allocation program that gave school leaders a full picture of school expenses and also enabled her to prepare for and adapt to financial challenges brought on by the pandemic, like cash management. McCabe also successfully refinanced Pinecrest Academy’s debt twice, reducing the interest rates in both cases.

“Joan is the consummate professional, with a brilliant financial mind that is always a step ahead of any challenge that arises and two steps ahead of her colleagues, myself included,” said Head of School Jake Rodgers. McCabe's “courage and grit” have been instrumental in Pinecrest Academy flourishingly financially and otherwise; an accrediting body recently noted Pinecrest is a "rocket ship ready to launch."

Anchor officer: McCabe has successfully navigated significant turnover and transition in key leadership positions during her tenure. “As the institution has undergone the growing pains of a school community seeking to clarify and live out its mission and identity, [McCabe] has been the anchor,” said Rodgers.

Budgeting pro: McCabe enhanced the annual budget process by simplifying data collection and streamlining collaboration. The end result allows for open discussions between school leaders and department managers.

Generous spirit: McCabe’s commitment to the school extends to personal, anonymous donations supporting families in need and students' education and activities. “Many of our benefactors, families and even board members do not realize the extent of her generous support of this school.”



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