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No Time for Silence

By Jeffrey Shields posted 06-09-2020 11:34 AM


CEO Notebook |

Recent events are disheartening, but we all have a role to play in strengthening our communities.

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
NBOA President and CEO

Amid managing the impact of the worst health crisis of our lifetimes, which has disproportionately impacted communities of color, we are also responding to the incredibly sad and unnecessary death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. Protests in response have unfolded all over the world — with one focal point just two blocks away from NBOA’s headquarter office. They serve as a stark reminder that while the long struggle for civil rights in this country has made some strides, we have not come nearly far enough, and we have much further to go.

I was initially reluctant to add my voice to those of other independent school leaders whose work more clearly impacts diversity, equity and inclusion programs within our schools. However, silence could be wrongfully misinterpreted as apathy or lack of support. Neither could be further from the truth. This is no time for silence. Every day we strive to support learning communities where every student is valued, every student is seen and heard for who they are, and every student matters. If the world into which we send our students does not yet live up to those same values, shouldn’t we ourselves commit and re-commit to create that world?

 If the world into which we send our students does not yet live up to those same values, shouldn’t we ourselves commit and re-commit to create that world?

As for NBOA, our diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) statement, which was approved this past February, communicates that as a national association, we strive to create a community of professionals that is welcoming, where every individual can feel safe. Our membership and brain trust of NBOA, which includes business officers, controllers, human resource professionals, accounting managers, payroll benefits coordinators, and facilities and technology staff, has an important role to play in our school’s culture. As leaders working to sustain the school in perpetuity, business officers and their staffs have a responsibility to guide their schools towards not only financial health but also the fulfillment of their school’s missions that include both just and inclusive learning communities.

There is much to be done. While the work may seem daunting, if each of us works within our spheres of influence, I truly believe the compounding effect will ultimately lead us to more just offices, schools and communities. To accomplish this, NBOA will continue to seek support and guidance from member volunteers to assist the organization in fostering an engaged, informed and diverse membership. And with their help, and to the best of our abilities, we will seek to ensure that each member experience is free of the bias and barriers that exist elsewhere. 

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Follow NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields @shieldsNBOA.
From Net Assets NOW, June 9, 2020. Read past issues of CEO Notebook.


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