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: Director of Finance and Facilities
School: Omni Montessori School, Charlotte, North Carolina
Years in Position: 7
Years in an independent school business office: 13
Superpower: Ambitious HR: Lauman “never shies away from a challenge,” according to Head of School Cindy Curry. For example, she recently procured a better payroll provider for the school while automating benefits through payroll and transitioning away from in-house invoices. She is currently researching a new multi-employer retirement plan for the school.
Expert project manager: Lauman led the development of the school’s facilities master plan over an eighteen-month period, during which she participated in “countless meetings” and coordinated multiple partner firms.
Positive role model: “What sets [Lauman] apart from others is her positivity,” said Curry. “Not only does she strive to see the best in others, she also consistently asks, ‘What is the right thing to do in this circumstance?’ Things are not always black and white in the business office, and Lori navigates that fact beautifully.”
Evolving leadership: Retiring this year after 13 successful years at Omni Montessori, Lauman has acted in multiple administrative roles in the business office, from part-time bookkeeper to full-time accounting assistant and director of finance. “Throughout her tenure, she sought to understand how and why we have the processes we do to ultimately improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the business office,” said Curry.
Other duties as assigned: Lauman is always the first person to volunteer to help, according to Curry. “Over the years, she has stuffed envelopes, greeted students in morning car line, assisted at the annual auction, covered the receptionist's desk, accompanied students to the bank and so much more.” She also played an integral role in the school’s assessment of inclusivity and multiculturalism, volunteering to be the scribe for several focus groups.