2021 International Eagle Award Recipient
Charles W. Brazeale, EdD, SFO
Assistant Superintendent for Business and Technology/CFO
City of St. Charles School District
St. Charles, Missouri
Whether it’s leading multimillion-dollar bond issue capital projects for his district, collaborating with the city to build a private fiber-optic network to increase internet speed, or avoiding district employee layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Charles Brazeale asks himself two questions: “What’s best for students?” and "What’s best for our staff?”
Brazeale began his 30-year career in public education as a middle school teacher and high school principal. Then he served as a superintendent of a small rural district before becoming a school business official. Those experiences in multiple positions across education guide his daily work and reinforce his belief that everything the business office does is about the students.
2021 Distinguished Eagle Award Recipients
Mark Altmayer, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Huntley Community School District 158
After 19 years in the private sector, Mark Altmayer became the school business official in one of the lowest-funded districts in the Chicago area; finding efficiencies and funding sources is his high priority. Ensuring the district has the resources necessary to educate students has become his mission and his “why” for the past 12+ years at Huntley Community School District 158.
Altmayer has spearheaded such initiatives as maximizing district Medicaid reimbursement for special education students and working on property tax bills to significantly increase education funding from the state. And, in 2020, the district “flipped the switch” on the largest solar panel installation on school district property in Illinois.
Sharie L. Lewis, CPA
Director of Business Services and Operations
Parkrose School District
This former U.S. Army drill instructor and law enforcement officer has a passion for students, for staff, and for her job. At Parkrose School District, Sharie Lewis has developed training classes to educate administrators and business officials on the fiscal aspects of running a school, federal compliance, maintenance of effort, and budgeting. She also serves as a mentor to new school business officials.
One of Lewis’s hobbies is reading federal compliance provisions and educating school officials on these subjects. She goes to Capitol Hill yearly to meet with members of Congress and advocate on behalf of education. She may not be in the classroom, but Lewis makes sure every moment is a teachable one.
Karen W. Smith, CPA, RTSBA
Chief Financial Officer
Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District
A recognized leader in the field, Karen Smith has 29 years of school business under her belt and currently oversees school business operations in the third-largest district in Texas. Recognizing the importance of collaboration across the district, she developed a training program to teach new principals their fiscal responsibilities and district financial processes. She also mentors new school business officials and presents at local and national conferences.
Smith is passionate about advocacy and helps state legislators understand the needs and concerns of school districts and their students. She was invited to testify before the Texas Legislature on funding for special education, bilingual education, and at-risk students. Parts of her testimony were included in subsequent legislation.