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Unsung Hero: Michael Chamberlain, The Seven Hills School

By Net Assets posted 08-07-2020 11:39 AM


Leadership |

A mentor to all, Chamberlain has helped The Seven Hills School navigate operational challenges with confidence.

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 for additional profiles.

Title: Director of Finance and Operations
School: The Seven Hills School, Walnut Creek, California
Years in position: 10
Years in an independent school business office: 10

Superpower: Cool Under Pressure: “Arriving on the scene during the 2008-9 economic downturn, [Chamberlain inherited] a construction project that was running late and over budget, and tasked with managing the architect and construction companies who were at odds with each other. [It] was a baptism by fire,” said Head of School Kathleen McNamara. Over the past 10 years, Chamberlain has instituted new technological systems while guiding the school through multiple leadership transitions. “He has been the ultimate air traffic controller, keeping various constituencies calm while steering the back of the house.”

Natural communicator: Chamberlain always leaves time to touch base with faculty, staff, students and parents, as well as all employee candidates. “He is caring, compassionate, clear and forward thinking.”

Renaissance man: “Michael is a true Renaissance man who has deftly guided The Seven Hills School through a number of leadership transitions and strategic plans, [which has] made us a stronger community and a more cohesive organization. In his professional life, he is a diplomat, a realist and a dreamer. He is a master chef, a deep thinker and a lover of music and art. All his gifts and experiences have made him a wonderful team member, coach and guide.”

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 summer and fall — check in to learn more about other recipients.


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