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From the ED 4.25.13

Dear Colleagues,

Two separate moments this past week sent me back to my first day on the job as the Business Manager at Alexander Dawson School in Colorado. The first “moment” was while I was meeting with the faculty for the MISBO New Business Officer Intensive who are all MISBO Board members.  They will be leading, mentoring and presenting at our June event. This program, which is designed for business officers with fewer than five years of experience in the field, is a great opportunity to learn from experienced independent school leaders. I was suggesting to the faculty that real life stories of their experiences in schools would be a great tool to help teach the content they are providing.  Look for the story of my first day in a future newsletter.

The second “moment” happened the next day when one of your peers, who is relatively new, asked a series of questions on the business officer list-serv about the role of the business officer at an independent school. Most of our business officers, as well as the other operational leaders in our schools, have experience and backgrounds outside of the independent school world and the shift to an independent school can be challenging (and exciting). Understanding the culture of independent schools, and specifically of your school, is critical for success. Independent schools function a bit differently than most corporate environments. The role of the Board of Trustees is an important new factor to consider. The focus on mission is a new consideration for most people entering this “industry”.  I have in the past, and will continue to, encourage each and every one of you to fully embrace the independent school culture. Get involved in the educational programs, go on a field trip, read to a lower school class, coach a sport, be a student advisor – do whatever you enjoy! Your involvement and understanding of the program builds relationships and trust with the educational administrators, faculty, students and parents. This provides you a greater, broader and more in depth understanding of your school – allowing you to be more successful at your job.

Several answers to the list-serv question emphasized the importance of networking with your colleagues. At our schools, we tend to be the only person that does what we do, whether we are the Business Officer, Human Resources Director, Technology Director, Facilities Director, etc. No one else at YOUR school may understand the complexity and challenges of YOUR position, but plenty of people at other independent schools are here to help and support you. The MISBO list-serv community is vibrant, ready, willing, and able to help! If you are not currently subscribed, please contact Cheryl Goode at or at 404.921.3810 to gain access.

Also, we are compiling two Top 10 Lists for the Business Officers attending the New Business Officer Intensive:

  • Top 10 data points you need to know about your school – for example – enrollment, number of acres, number of buildings, etc.
  • Top 10 documents you need to know where they reside – for example – IRS determination letter, insurance policies, etc.

If you have some ideas, please send them to me at  These lists and information are applicable to any of the operations positions – human resources, facilities, technology.  Let me know your ideas for these as well and in the near future we will compile and publish your thoughts.



Marc Levinson
Executive Director, MISBO

From → MISBO

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