Unsung Hero: Lisa Dwelle, The Steward School

Dwelle’s strategic financial planning and thoughtful board work have helped The Steward School emerge stronger through the pandemic.

Aug 6, 2021


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.

See a full list of the 2021 recipients. Stay tuned to NetAssets.org for additional profiles.

Title: Associate Head of School for Finance and Operations
School: The Steward School, Richmond, Virginia
Years in Position: 18
Years in an independent school business office: 18

Superpower: Health hero: Dwelle “went way above and beyond her job in finance and operations” to manage COVID-specific policies operations, from testing to tracing to distancing, explained Stephanie Bowlin, executive assistant to the head of school. “Lisa always has the health and safety of the school and its' employees at the front of her mind. When employees were eligible for the COVID vaccine, Lisa worked many late nights to ensure each and every employee at the school was eligible for a shot. We would not have made it through this year without her!”

Strategic planner: Since joining The Steward School in 2002, Dwelle has created a strategic financial planning model that has strengthened the school's position and set the foundation for long-term financial growth. During the pandemic, Dwelle worked with the school’s board finance committee to develop several different versions of upcoming budgets, based on pandemic restrictions.

Team player: Over the past several years, Dwelle has broadened her leadership skills by filling in for several directors, due to position vacancy or maternity leave, across marketing and communications, development, human resources and the school spirit committee. “She never shies away from taking on additional responsibilities to help other school leaders … all while fulfilling her own job duties with grace and patience,” said Bowlin.

Other duties as assigned: Dwelle is a parent to graduates of The Steward School. “As a parent of two former students at our school, I know I can count on her to help me navigate some of the issues that employee-parents face. She is protective of [employees’] family time, supportive of their professional development, and accommodating to their needs.”

Photo courtesy of The Steward School.

See a full list of the 2021 recipients and read more about the Will J. Hancock Unsung Hero Award. NetAssets.org will post additional profiles of Unsung Heroes throughout the fall — check in to learn more about other recipients. 



years is the target ceiling for a school plant's financial "age."

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