Congratulations to the 2014 Pinnacle Award recipients! The Pinnacle Awards recognize outstanding practices and new ideas that result in significant contributions for school districts and the profession of school business management.
Pinnacle of Excellence Award Recipient
Alita McCoy Zuber
Assistant Superintendent for Business
Ossining Union Free School District
How Deliberative Decision Making Leads to Improved Community Engagement
Recognizing the importance of community trust and engagement in the success of a district’s efforts to improve student achievement, Zuber met with representatives of key stakeholder groups and developed concise, constant, and cohesive themes to educate each group about the financial problems facing the community. These targeted messages helped community members understand the challenges facing the district, which led to community trust and engagement. Even the harshest critics became partners. One capital bond and two budget referendums were approved with the highest voter approval rates in recent history.
Pinnacle of Achievement Award Recipients
Bill C. McGuire, CBO
Deputy Superintendent of Administrative Services
Twin Rivers Unified School District
Inclusion of Technology Endowment Adds Unique Spin to Bond Measure
Just a few years after the St. Helena USD Board was recalled and the district was the subject of a Wall Street Journal article about contentious relationships within the community, McGuire led the effort to bring the community focus back to the students. The result was passage of two $30 million bonds in two years—including one that incorporated a $10 million technology endowment that provides the district with $1 million every other year to keep the district up-to-date with technology.
Deborah M. Randazzo
Director, Internal Compliance
Cobb County School District
Financial Services University – A Self-Service Approach for Online Training
The program, Financial Services University (FSU), consolidates training information, including policies, procedures, manuals, and schedules, into one easily accessible self-serve module for department personnel and others interested in financial service training. Prior to implementation of FSU, training for the district’s financial policies and procedure were handled in the classroom or via one-to-one meetings in person or via telephone—a cumbersome process for a large school system. Now, less time is spent answering phone calls and printing documents and more time and resources can be devoted to improving the education of Cobb County students.
Jeffrey M. Solomon, RSBA
Director of Finance and Operations
Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public Schools
Comprehensive Fee Management System
Unable to find a cash handling system that satisfied all the elements on the district wish list, Solomon worked with several partners to develop one of the first truly comprehensive fee management systems in the nation. With this system, the district has streamlined its business practices and centralized all its schools with one common practice, one form, and one process. The system offers online payment and registration for more than 100 items, including student activities, child care, transportation services, school meal accounts, community education classes and activities, public use of school facilities, parking, and lost book fees.