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A Workshops Case Study

The Sum is Greater than its parts: ERS-Aspen CFO Network

“This is the most important and the only real professional development I receive in this role (as CFO). Perhaps even more critical is that I leave the meetings with renewed inspiration to keep at this incredibly challenging work of transforming school systems even while I work to respond to the daily crises that always emerge.”
Matt Stanski
Director of Financial Operations, Anne Arundel County Public Schools
Aspen cfo event april 2018 v2
"The network helps me do my job better by enhancing my understanding of finance's role as a school leaders' thought-partner..."
"The network helps shift the CFO mindset from a finance manager to a resource provider and strategic partner. It provides access to top national education and finance leaders, policy experts, and other CFOs."

THE CHALLENGE

CFOs from the nation’s largest districts face many of the same challenges. This network offers CFOs the opportunity to compare benchmark data, discuss and work through tough challenges, and share best practices with their peers to jumpstart strategic action.

HOW DOES ERS MAKE THE NETWORK EFFECTIVE?

ERS invites a select group of Chief Financial Officers to wrestle with the most challenging issues district financial leaders must handle. The twice yearly closed-door network meetings encourage relationship building and learning from each other’s successes and lessons learned on topics such as ESSA reporting, sustainability for teacher leadership and career pathways, school planning cycles, and developing an effective budget process.

Current members of the network include CFOs of Achievement First CMO, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Cleveland, DC, Denver, Fresno, Hillsborough County, Los Angeles, Oakland, Palm Beach County, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Shelby County (Memphis), Spring Branch, and Tulsa. 

Network meetings often include other members of a district leadership team. For example, chief human resource officers were invited to discuss redesigning teacher compensation systems and chief academic officers were invited to discuss strategic school design.

To help the CFO be successful, ERS provides follow-up workshops and webinars for their teams. “Budget Partner Retreats” bring the CFO support teams together to explore the principles of strategic school design and to develop district-specific strategies to better guide principals in making effective resource use decisions.

THE OUTCOMES

Participants consistently reported high levels of satisfaction (85%+) with the usefulness and value of the retreats:

“The work that Aspen and ERS do has positioned us to think about our (CFO) roles differently to strategically support the district...it builds a longer-term planning perspective...it shapes our thinking and changes our reality of today, balanced with other requirements, and it makes sure our resources are aligned tightly to our strategic plans.”
John McDonough, former CFO and Interim Superintendent of Boston Public Schools

“The network helps me do my job better by enhancing my understanding of finance's role as a school leaders' thought partner in improving student outcomes and, as important, it is an opportunity to engage with other CFOs who may be further along in being that thought partner.”
Nolberto DelgadilloCFO, Tulsa Public Schools

“The network helps shift the CFO mindset from a finance manager to a resource provider and strategic partner. It provides access to top national education and finance leaders, policy experts, and other CFOs, and it allows members to reshape the resource conversations locally as well as on the national level.”
John Scanlonformer CFO for Cleveland Metropolitan School District

“The CFO network provides me with the opportunty to connect with colleagues and experts from across the country, allowing me to continue to grow and improve as a CFO.”
Mark Ferrandino, CFO, Denver Public Schools
 
 
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