The highest honor in school business, recognizing outstanding and unique contributions made by school business officials to their districts and the profession.

Congratulations to the 2023 Eagle Award recipients!

Learn more about the 2023 Eagle Award Winners

2023 International Eagle Award Recipient

Marvin Dereef Jr., SFO
Chief Financial Officer
Fulton County Schools
Atlanta, Georgia

As CFO of the 89,000-student school system, Dereef is respected for his exemplary leadership, thoughtful approach to stewardship of taxpayer dollars, and focus on students, staff, and the community. During his 14-year tenure at Fulton County Schools, he has helped the district receive an AAA credit rating from Moody’s as well as scores of awards from ASBO International and the Government Finance Officers Association. As part of the leadership team, he plays an important role in implementing the district’s Bridge to Success three-year comprehensive plan to utilize federal COVID-19 funds to help students recover from learning loss, develop leaders through high-quality professional learning, improve and expand existing programs, and ensure the continuity of district operations.

Dereef’s commitment to the profession is evident in his volunteerism. In addition to mentoring other school business professionals, he served on the ASBO International Board of Directors, is a frequent presenter for ASBO International conferences and workshops, has served on several ASBO committees, and has written for School Business Affairs magazine.

2023 Distinguished Eagle Award Recipients

Howard G. Barber, CPA, SFO
Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations
Old Rochester Regional School District & Massachusetts School Superintendency Union #55
Mattapoisett, Massachusetts

To say that school business officials juggle many hats is an understatement when considering Howard Barber. Barber serves four school districts with enrollments ranging from 410 to 1,100 students and reports to five school committees. He leads all budgeting and financial service processes, manages all non-academic departments, and serves as the chief procurement officer for all contracted services. He works toward aligning all district initiatives while communicating the financial/operational challenges and opportunities afforded to each, ensuring all members across all districts are supported equally.

Barber makes volunteering a priority. An active member of Massachusetts ASBO and ASBO International, he has served in various leadership positions, including MASBO president and as a member of ASBO’s Editorial Advisory Committee and Education Advisory Committee. He is a frequent presenter at association conferences, is a Boot Camp presenter, and has written for School Business Affairs magazine.

Tamara L. Mitchell
Assistant Superintendent for Business and Financial Services/CSBO
Joliet Public Schools District 86
Joliet, Illinois

Tamara Mitchell is in her eighth year with Joliet Public Schools District 86, the third largest PreK–8 elementary school district in the state, serving a diverse population of 10,000 students. Like many districts, Joliet PSD 86 is challenged by aging facilities and aging, inefficient mechanical systems. Mitchell works collaboratively with the director of facilities to address high-priority projects as quickly as possible and to take a proactive approach to facilities planning. With overwhelming community support, the district passed a referendum that will address many facility needs, including replacing two aging junior highs with brand new facilities.

Mitchell’s commitment to leadership is evident in her service to the profession. She is the president-elect of the Illinois ASBO and will assume the presidency for 2024-2025. She is an active member of ASBO International, serving as a member of the Editorial Advisory Committee, writing for ASBO publications, and presenting at the association’s annual conference.

Julie P. Novak, RTSBA
Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations
Fort Sam Houston Independent School District
San Antonio, Texas

Two of the Fort Sam Houston Independent School District’s core beliefs are centered on serving the military child and providing a safe and caring environment. Working with Joint Base San Antonio–Fort Sam Houston, Julie Novak coordinated the implementation of the school resource officer program, which has grown to two full-time officers serving the district’s 1,600 students. Novak also led the implementation of a safety app that allows any employee to initiate a lockdown and has focused on making the physical environment more secure.

Committed to giving back to the profession, Novak has served Texas ASBO in a variety of leadership positions, including as president. Her volunteer work with ASBO International includes as a presenter at several annual conferences, conference session reviewer, and author for professional publications.

View past Eagle Award Recipients