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Unsung Hero: Michael Dyson, Gladwyne Montessori School

By Net Assets posted 30 days ago


Leadership |

After stepping into his father's role at Gladwyne Montessori School, Dyson has helped strengthen community connections and establish a standard for business excellence.

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: Chief Financial Officer
School: Gladwyne Montessori School, Gladwyne, Pennsylvania
Years in position: 7
Years in an independent school business office: 23

Superpower: Dedication: “Michael's devotion to the school is unique and truly comes from his heart,” said Head of School Carrie Kries. Dyson’s father was Gladwyne Montessori’s preceding CFO. When his father suddenly passed away, “one of the most beautiful ways Michael could show his devotion to his father was to swoop in and take on the role,” said Kries. “It is evident to me that the depth of Michael's connection to Gladwyne Montessori is connected to his abiding love and respect for his father. I find it powerfully moving that Michael took on that role with humility and continues, 20 years later, to give to our school completely from his heart.”

Problem solver: Dyson possesses “a determination to work through absolutely any challenge while maintaining a keen eye on the mission,” said Kries. “Whether we are faced with a student that may need to be counseled, a teacher whose performance is lacking, or a purchase that is not in the budget but having it would significantly enhance the experience of our students, Michael is ready, without an ounce of hesitation, to jump into the conversation with me and serve as a sounding board and problem solver.”

Business excellence: Across all aspects of the business office, Dyson is “meticulous, thoughtful, forward-thinking and comprehensive. His management and oversight of the school’s budget is impeccable and reliable.”

Trusted colleague: “Michael possesses a strong and unwavering moral compass that guides every decision he makes, [and] I can count on him to maintain confidentiality in all circumstances. Michael has the ability to listen, process and respond in a way that is respectful, even when he disagrees, and as a result, our school organization is better able to move on difficult decisions with clarity and strength.”

Beyond the numbers: “Most CFO’s stay in their offices, managing and crunching numbers. Michael makes it a point to step away from his desk every time there is a student assembly or a family gathering. It is such a pleasure for me to see the joy on Michael’s face when he experiences these events because I can see the satisfaction he must feel knowing that the children are clearly growing and benefitting as a result of the rather mundane decisions that we have made behind the scenes.”

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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