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 2020 recipients. Stay tuned to NetAssets.org for additional profiles.
Title: Associate Head for Finance and Operations
School: The Peddie School, Hightstown, New Jersey
Years in position: 12
Years in an independent school business office: 12
Superpower: Mission-minded: “Principled, respected, committed and hard-working, Mike reminds my colleagues and me of the importance of [aligning the] budget with the values of the organization,” explained Head of School Peter Quinn. “For Mike, the important questions and concerns are never primarily financial — they are primarily mission-related and programmatic. If he sees the alignment, then he works hard to make the budgets line up to serve the mission.”
Master manager: McKitish manages the finances and physical plant operations of The Peddie School, a 545-student boarding and day school spread over 280 acres. Its complex plant includes 22 major buildings, 42 houses, extensive fields and an 18-hole golf course. In addition to managing the buildings and grounds, McKitish oversees employees in food service, security and the business office.
Pragmatist: “Mike brings a professional skepticism to each day, but it is a healthy skepticism. Mike has continued a conservative financial management philosophy that he marries to the school’s philosophy.”
Adaptable: McKitish previously served as vice president of finance and business affairs at a small independent university. “Not previously experienced in secondary schools, he quickly focused on acclimating himself to the challenges and culture here.”
After school: McKitish serves as the school’s baseball coach, “a role no one else in the position has played in the last 40 years,” said Quinn. In his spare time, he is also a volunteer for the Princeton National Rowing Association and The Seeing Eye, one of the oldest guide dog schools in the country, serving on both boards of trustees.
See a full list of the 2020 recipients and read more about the Will J. Hancock Unsung Hero Award. Net Assets will post additional profiles of Unsung Heroes throughout the fall — check in to learn more about other recipients.