Candidate for Vice President
Terrie Simmons, RSBA,
Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance
Sunset Ridge School District 29
Terrie Simmons, RSBA, CSBO is the
Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance, Sunset Ridge School
District 29, Northfield, Illinois. Her ASBO service includes Board
of Directors (2010-2012), Vice Chair By-Laws Committee, Meritorious
Budget Award Reviewer, Eagle Institute, Board Liaison for MBA Advisory,
School Finance and Legal Aspects Committees, and the International Board
Terrie is a Past President of Illinois ASBO and served IASBO Board of Directors (2001-2008). Active with IASBO since 1993, she has served on committees including the Executive Director Search Team that selected Dr. Michael Jacoby, Technology and Professional Development, Member Services, Volunteerism and External Relations Board committees and a founding member of the Illinois Education Roundtable. She chaired the IASBO Budgeting & Financial Projecting and Cash Management Committees and served on the Leadership Development, Technology, School Finance, and Accounting Committees. Terrie has presented at ASBO affiliate conferences, numerous IASBO workshops, at IASB/IASA/IASBO Joint Conferences, and served as adjunct professor for Northeastern Illinois and Roosevelt Universities.
ASBO is the most valuable link to access expert advice for and from
school business administrators around the globe. Our members
world-wide desire a reputable, reliable association we can depend on to
provide professional development to expand the knowledge, competency,
proficiency and leadership skills of school business officials.
ASBO will focus on developing our future leaders and retaining
membership. Recognizing external forces demand changes in the profession
constantly, ASBO will remain committed to ethical standards,
professional integrity and accountability while implementing changes in
our member services for the next generations.
ASBO is and will continue to be the premier source of accurate information on federal legislative and regulatory issues affecting the school business profession. ASBO will work closely with the US Department of Education and other professional associations to formulate effective solutions to school funding and reporting requirements. International representation within the membership will be a focus as ASBO members collaborate to provide best practices in school business management for 21st century learning environments.
Schools today are serving a more diverse student population than ever before. There are increased expectations for educational reform, for raising student test scores, and for preparing students for a world that none of us could have ever imagined. At the same time, resources continue to decline. How best can school business officials help their school systems effectuate these changes?
Now more than ever, it is critical for school business officials to
be involved in the decision-making process for instructional and support
programs. The SBO must possess knowledge of curriculum
requirements including state and national standards and recognize that
21st century skills are evolving forcing changes in educational
delivery. We must understand the diversity of our communities we
serve and their educational expectations. By having a better
understanding of the instructional and support programs we can provide
insight into cost versus benefit and effectively allocate limited
resources. Our input must be based on a deep knowledge of the
entire program. Equally important, administrators must continually
review existing programs to make sure they are still meeting critical
needs and often make reductions where appropriate. When we expand
our knowledge on where curriculum needs to go we can lead creative
thinking on driving down costs.
School business officials may be the only staff member trained in business concepts in our school systems. We should be questioning all processes, procedures and activities of running the business of schools and if these systems no longer have value or have decreased value consider changes that will free up resources to be used differently or cut expenses. Embracing the technological revolution to improve efficiencies, explore sharing services with other schools, and streamlining operations are necessary. SBOs must provide the leadership to effectuate positive results. It is our job to plan processes for change with other administrators and school boards, then reallocating resources to make things happen. By using our analytical skills we can help our school systems assess what should stay, what should go, what should change, and be directly involved in developing new strategic plans.
The American educational system is continually being compared to those in other countries. Comparisons include student achievement, length of student day, funding, and facilities. Looking at other countries to which we have been compared, is there any one country’s educational system, or bits and pieces from countries that seem to “get it,” that the United States could use as a model for educational reform?
The United States will be most successful with educational reform by using bits and pieces from other countries. Most countries agree students perform best in safe, quiet, and comfortable school facilities with good air quality and lighting. Therefore the adequacy, condition and management of school property affect student achievement. Longer school days provide greater opportunities for students to learn.
It is important to understand generational differences. Delivery models that include greater use of technology, problem solving and collaboration engage students. Differentiation is necessary to meet varying interests, needs, talents and aspirations of students. Students should learn multiple languages. Cultural competence will enable effective collaboration.
Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, Indian and European students perform admirably on reading, math, and science tests. However, I find Finland’s national education system intriguing and believe we could learn from their successes. Finland students have won world-wide praise because they have earned some of the highest test scores in the world consistently since 2000.
Finland has no private schools. Parents have choice in schools,
but the options are all the same. None charge tuition fees.
There are no standardized tests, except an exit exam in the voluntary
high schools. The Ministry of Education tracks national progress
by randomly testing sample groups. All teachers and administrators
must hold a master’s degree or higher. The main driver of
educational policy is cooperation, not competition. The goal of
the Finnish educational system is not excellence, but equity.
Education is an instrument to even out social inequality. America
has a problem of economic inequality of society. If we strive to
reduce this inequality, might we be more competitive abroad?
The school business official typically wears a number of “hats,” having to be a generalist in educational support rather than a specialist in budget, as most would think. While budget and financial management are the main functions of the SBO, many SBOs spend a majority of their time dealing with a variety of other issues. Given the wide range of knowledge and expertise the SBO must have, how best can ASBO International prepare its members for the SBO “world of work?”
My district is small so I am the perfect example of a member who wears many “hats” every day. I recall experiences when ASBO has done an excellent job of providing timely information to assist me in multiple areas of my job. For example, almost two decades ago, I was planning a large construction project to handle rising enrollment, purchasing and implementing new financial software, drastically overhauling our budget procedures and financial presentations, selling bonds to finance construction, and preparing an unprecedented intergovernmental contract with neighboring municipal agencies. Workshops at the ASBO annual conferences, networking with other ASBO members and serving as a reviewer for the new Meritorious Budget Awards program afforded me the opportunities to learn what I needed to be successful with each of these endeavors.
ASBO’s Annual Meeting & Exhibits and online resources offer professional development at our fingertips. School business officials learn best from their peers and seek opportunities to engage and contribute. Utilizing technology to share information and encourage online networking, ASBO will provide a wide range of knowledge and expertise the SBO must have. Using the social media platform we will share our collective knowledge and house best-practices research. ConnectEd, the Web-based community for members to collaborate and share resources, School Business Affairs magazine, Accents Online, School Business Daily, and School Business Minute are all excellent sources of timely information SBOs need in our daily work lives. To ensure we serve the membership effectively members should speak up often to let us know what they need. Two-way communication will ensure we fulfill ASBO’s purpose “to lead the school business profession by providing growth opportunities and a network of support.”
The wide range of responsibilities coupled with
the strategic and public level of this profession requires strong
leadership skills and training to prepare the SBO for all facets of the
job. ASBO’s Executive Leadership Forum and Eagle Institute
are excellent leadership growth opportunities. I envision ASBO
featuring articles to prepare us to be better managers by understanding
the latest curriculum trends and educational pedagogy. The
Professional Committees will continue to offer hot topics workshops at
the AM&E but also online available 24/7. ASBO International
will keep the U.S. members informed on what is happening in Washington
and be an advocate on school business matters. Our international
members will share their knowledge and experience so that we can learn
from their educational systems and strengthen our global network.
The Association has made great strides in achieving our BHAG to be
“recognized, respected, and consulted as the expert in the school
business profession.” We must constantly be looking for new
and better ways to earn this reputation.