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.
Career pioneer: Cash was the first strategic business officer at Atrium 5.5 years ago; previously the school had a bookkeeper. He has “radically expanded business capacity to the school, a foundation essential to the school's overall strategic growth,” wrote Head of School Marshall Carter. This includes assessing “every aspect of our business and facilities operations. All this has made Atrium a considerably more sophisticated, savvy and forward-thinking school, far more aware of market forces, opportunities and best practices.”
Small-school steward: Cash is representative of “the small-school business officer everywhere,” continued Carter. “I do not need to imagine Francis considering a spreadsheet in one moment and an animal trap in another — that kind of thing happens here routinely. His willingness to do whatever needs to be done, with humor, inventiveness and perseverance — and without credit — exemplifies what it means to be a team player.”
Calm in a crisis: Cash successfully managed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on day-to-day operations and recognized its financial implications in its early days. “We have grown our surpluses, and Francis' insight helped us be scrappy, nimble and spend far less to achieve the same safety standards than other institutions.” He also worked with families in a way that they “never felt distanced or alienated from the school.”
Partner to parents: “As a parent, I can say he is incredibly responsive and easy to work with, managing tuition payments and questions swiftly and with ease,” said one board member.