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: Assistant Head of School for Finance and Operations
School: The Howard School, Atlanta, Georgia
Years in current position: 11
Years in an independent school business office: 11
Financial educator: Chase came to the Howard School in 2011 with a background in nonprofit management; she was formerly the controller at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. She used her background to “educate every employee who managed a budget on the essentials of nonprofit budget management,” explained head of school Anna Moore. “She taught them to plan their expenses, monitor costs and finish each fiscal year within their allotted budget. She took the mystery out of finance, and with their new understanding, employees embraced best practice.”
"She took the mystery out of finance, and with their new understanding, employees embraced best practice.”
—Anna Moore, Head of School
Responsible expansion: Today, Chase manages a budget twice the size of her first Howard School budget, on a campus with 115 more students than in her first year at the school. She has helped the school build two buildings and a second campus road, while responsibly growing faculty and staff over time. “Meredith has shown the community that it's possible to expand programs and facilities, and still live within one's budget.”
Fundraising pro: Chase partnered with the advancement office to plan, implement and execute a capital campaign that raised $14.5M from individual, foundation and corporate donors.
The “gold standard”: Chase “does wonderful things for others, yet rarely does she look for glory. She simply does the work because she cares. The school community depends on her and looks up to her. She is the gold standard."