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Unsung Hero: Emilia Ferreira, The American School of Rio de Janeiro

By Net Assets posted 25 days ago

Emilia Ferreira

Leadership |

Ferreira’s forward-thinking leadership enabled her school to expand risk management while maintaining compliance throughout a period of shifting government regulations.

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: Business Manager

School: The American School of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Years in position: 15

Years in an independent school business office: 15

Superpower: Safety savvy. Under her leadership, the school was able to overcome extreme security challenges and “move forward no matter what impediments presented themselves.” She also “safeguarded the school against the constant fluctuations of government policy…and ensured the highest standards of financial and safety compliance.”

Master manager: Over the past 15 years, Ferreira worked across multiple facets of an international school business office. Her myriad experience includes leading the school through staff transitions, managing government relations and building a second, self-financed K-12 campus. “Quite simply, she is the most accomplished business professional with whom I have ever worked.”

Steadfast leader: Ferreira has been the “unflinching cornerstone” of her school’s efforts to overcome challenges of leadership turnover and public safety. “Never once has she looked ahead with anything but the utmost confidence and love for our school, its community and its mission. She is resilience personified.”

Lifelong learner: “She is constantly seeking to improve and to extend her professional learning. [She models] to everyone that lifelong learning is real, tangible and embodied in her quest to know more, understand more deeply and to leave no stone unturned as she seeks to hone her skills.”

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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