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Pause To Celebrate 2021’s Successes

By Jeffrey Shields posted 12-21-2021 10:49 AM


CEO Notebook |

Your school’s extraordinary efforts have made an extraordinary impact on your school community.

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Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
NBOA President and CEO

You probably have many reasons to quickly turn the page on 2021 and not look back. The challenges you experienced, managed and led through on behalf of your schools will, we hope, be once in a lifetime. I share this sentiment in many ways.

Do not, however, miss the opportunity to celebrate this year’s amazing accomplishments with your team. Think about what you were able to accomplish when the world turned upside down. In the past 12 months, you have redesigned practically every aspect of education and created new protocols as public health guidance continually shifted. You helped manage physical and mental health concerns among faculty, staff, students and families. You may have experienced loss within your community. This period has not been easy for any of us. Thank you, sincerely, for your extraordinary efforts.

As I reflect on 2021, I’m heeding my own advice and taking time to celebrate the ways NBOA pivoted throughout the pandemic to serve and support our smart, problem-solving, innovative membership. This year, NBOA:

…delivered the 2021 NBOA Annual Meeting as “an all-virtual experience.” This was a brand-new adventure for us, which engaged well over 500 schools, 2,690 participants and 104 exhibitors. It was ground-breaking in many ways, and the lessons learned will impact the delivery of future NBOA annual meetings. Thank you to the schools and business partners that took a leap of faith with us and connected, shared solutions and exchanged ideas, like we do every year at the must-attend NBOA Annual Meeting. Above and beyond the delivery format, I will never forget Duncan Wardle’s vivid illustrations that inspired us to innovate, our virtual dance party with Cynt Marshall, and with great humility, the recognition of Baylor School and Mount Vernon School with the first-ever presentations of the Jeffrey Shields Award for Innovation Excellence in School Business Operations. These sessions and many others made it a truly memorable event.

Not only business officers but all school decision-makers will be beneficiaries of this long-awaited effort.

…announced the NAIS-NBOA data collection collaboration. I cannot begin to count how many times over the years that I’ve heard members ask, “Have you ever thought of collecting data with NAIS?” This year, the collaboration launched, and for the first time, this fall, NBOA schools submitted DASL-BIIS Financial Operations data. Not only business officers but all school decision-makers will be beneficiaries of this long-awaited effort. Carefully scrubbed data from approximately 830 independent schools —nearly double the data sets we’ve collected in past years — will soon port over to NBOA’s BIIS data platform to populate your reports, benchmarking tools and financial sustainability tools, including NBOA’s financial dashboard and CFI calculator. You can anticipate reporting will open in early January — and also expect more robust data analysis and reporting from NBOA in the year ahead.

…established the NBOA Business Officers Council. To expand upon the governance and programmatic reach of the association and to create leadership opportunities beyond the NBOA Board of Directors, we convened the NBOA Business Officers Council. The twelve-member council, currently chaired by Meeta Nosrati, chief financial officer at The Old Trail School in Bath, Ohio, helps identify current and emerging needs and inform the development of programs, products and services most relevant to the chief financial officer position in member schools. Most importantly, this group keeps the association’s finger on the pulse of our business officer members, who have increasingly diverse needs at small, mid-size and large day schools, as well as boarding schools. Thank you to the volunteers who have stepped up to help us serve this key constituent group more effectively — and to all of NBOA’s dedicated volunteers.

Much will be written about 2021, most likely concerning the trials and tribulations of an exasperating year, when COVID-19 seemed finally to be managed for a brief few weeks, but then reared its ugly head as we prepared for another school year. I genuinely believe, however, that the emphasis should not be on the many challenges we battled this year but on how we responded to them, and yes, succeeded despite them all.

I wish you all a happy holiday season and happy new year!

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Follow NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields @shieldsNBOA.

From Net Assets NOW, December 21, 2021. Read past issues of CEO Notebook.


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