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Unsung Hero: Patricia de Zaldívar, American School of El Salvador

By Net Assets posted 10 days ago

Patricia de Zaldivar

Leadership |

De Zaldívar has been instrumental in creating a more sustainable future for her school — both environmentally and financially.

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 2019 recipients. Stay tuned to for additional profiles.

Title: Director of Finance and Operations

School: American School of El Salvador

Years in position: 24

Years in an independent school business office: 24

Superpower: Sustainability steward. “With Patricia’s leadership, the school has [made] sustainability one of its pillars for development and growth, making efficient and effective use of its resources while sustaining the environment. The school is the first institution in the region that is [seeking] LEED and WELL certifications for campus infrastructure, which also serve as learning tools for students.”

Budget master: “The school is in a great financial position, with cash reserves and a low debt ratio. Even though we are in a country that has been affected by a financial crisis, prudent budget management has allowed the school to maintain financial health in spite of adverse economic conditions.”

Strategic thinker: With a background in industrial engineering and economics, de Zaldívar applies a strategic focus to the maintenance of the school’s 30-acre campus. She played a critical role in the development of a master facilities plan, including the construction of three interactive learning centers.

Community connector: As an alumna and former parent of the American School of El Salvador, de Zaldívar is continually thoughtful about the school’s unique history and community. “[Even] if she wasn’t an alumnus or former parent, I would think she would still be the way she is — finding purpose in what she’s doing, trying and working hard to be the best.”

See a full list of the 2019 recipients and read more about the Will J. Hancock Unsung Hero Award. will post additional profiles of Unsung Heroes throughout the fall — check in to learn more about other recipients. 

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