Asst. Head for Finance and Operations | National Cathedral School
Carney Sandoe & Associates
Location: DC, Washington
Type: Full Time
Founded in 1900, National Cathedral School (NCS) is an independent, college-preparatory, Episcopal day school for girls Grades 4-12. Steeped in tradition and a strong belief in the power of young women, the education at NCS is designed to capture students’ curiosity and fuel their academic, artistic, athletic, and personal growth. NCS expresses the philosophy of the Washington National Cathedral and Episcopal Church while embracing the core values of excellence, service, courage, and conscience. In a nurturing environment, dedicated faculty and staff challenge students to lead lives of purpose, meaning, and joy, inspired by the Cathedral, and encourage young women to take risks, think critically, and act with empathy as they prepare to step into the world as global leaders.
National Cathedral School is seeking a seasoned professional to become Assistant Head of School for Finance & Operations (AHOSFO), assuming the role in July 2022. Working closely with the Head of School, the AHOSFO serves as a strategic thought partner and as a member of the Executive Leadership Team. NCS is searching for a goal-oriented senior leader who will embrace the culture and values of the institution and will respect the operational pace of an innovative institution with high standards and expectations.
The new Assistant Head of School for Finance & Operations will inherit a healthy office and financial situation due in large part to the retiring incumbent Faye Ferguson’s dedication and skill during her 15 years at NCS. The School has a $40 million endowment, selective admissions, and a physical plant with little deferred maintenance.
The successful candidate will manage four people in the Business Office. The key member of the office is the Director of Finance is a CPA and provides strong accounting and finance skills to the team. The office also includes a Controller; a Payroll/Benefits specialist; and a Staff Accountant who handles payables and student receivables. In addition, the AHOSFO will supervise the Director of Facilities who has a team of receptionists, housekeepers, and facilities support staff. This individual is a long-standing employee at NCS who is well-regarded for his knowledge and management skills. The food service is outsourced to Flik, with oversight from the AHOSFO, who also oversees the school store and auxiliary programs.
An unusual aspect of this position is its relationship as a chief representative of the School with the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation (PECF). The PECF is the non profit legal entity of which NCS is a part. The PECF also includes the Foundation, an entity that provides shared services to NCS, St. Albans School (boys, G4-12), Beauvoir (coed, PK-3), and the Washington National Cathedral, the institutions whose buildings and campuses occupy contiguous space known as the Close. In all NCS contributes $2 million a year to the Foundation to fund services as well as shared capital projects. The AHOSFO meets weekly with their counterparts on the Close and the Executive Director of the PECF to discuss areas of common interest. In addition, there are governance level meetings at the PECF level that meet periodically (e.g., finance, audit, investment, buildings and grounds). As well, the PECF recently hired a Chief Legal Officer who will play a role in human resources legal issues, policies and practices as well as serve as legal counsel in other areas (e.g., contracts) for all the institutions. In short, working within the PECF structure represents a dual layer of governance and decision-making that requires the utmost in engagement to ensure effective working relationships.
In the next few years, NCS envisions staging a campaign to raise money for endowment. Additionally, the Head and Board will want to look at replenishing operating reserves, ensuring that faculty salaries remain highly competitive, monitoring debt capacity, moderating tuition increases, and determining the right level of enrollment.
Dr. Elinor Scully, currently in her first year as Head of School after leading The Langley School for eight years (and prior to that, she served as the Associate Head of School and the Upper School Head at NCS), is looking for a thought partner with exceptional skills who is dynamic, strong and outward-facing. In addition, the successful candidate will be a detail-oriented, organized person who can manage competing perspectives to recommend and make decisions that are in the best interest of the school. The individual is personable, authentic, grounded, and a problem solver. S/he will work closely with administrative leadership within the School and will develop meaningful and effective relationships with colleagues, will bring critical issues to the table, and have the self-confidence to stand their ground as an advocate for NCS.
Interested and qualified candidates are invited to contact the consultants in confidence. Candidates will ultimately need to submit the following materials as separate PDF documents:
A cover letter expressing their interest in this particular position;
A current résumé;
A list of five professional references with name, relationship, phone number, and email address of each (references will not be contacted without the candidate’s permission) to:
John G. Clark
Senior Search Consultant
DESIRED QUALITIES AND QUALIFICATIONS
Bachelor’s degree required, MBA or CPA preferred.
10-15 years of senior-level experience creating and executing financial planning and management strategies.
Outstanding leadership skills and the ability to work collaboratively and proactively with all members of the community, the Head of School, and the Board to evaluate and improve business processes and operations and to advance the mission of the School.
Demonstrated ability to manage a team of senior direct reports in diverse administrative and operational areas.
A passion for innovation and experience as a relentless problem-solver who takes initiative and contributes as a business-oriented strategic thinker.
A nuanced understanding of the complexities of an independent school.
Outstanding written and oral communication skills.
Since our inception in 1977, we have worked successfully with over 1,800 independent, private, boarding, and charter schools in 48 states and 32 countries to provide exceptional faculty recruitment, head of school search, and strategic consulting services.
We take the time to learn the unique culture of each school, and we invest heavily in forming long-lasting relationships with our hiring contacts. Our recruitment process is a deeply personal one; we often visit our clients on campus to learn as much as we can about the inner workings of the organization.