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The Strategic CFO

Re-imagining the Job of the School District CFO

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Districts need Strategic CFOs.

The challenges facing our nation's school systems — a higher bar for student learning, greater student needs, and flat or decreasing revenue — illuminate an opportunity for chief financial officers to transform what financial leadership looks like in their districts. Therefore, a Strategic CFO doesn't stop at business as usual: they are more than a chief accountant who ensures compliance and settles books — they are a strategist and visionary who ensures that district and school leaders invest resources in the district's highest priorities for students, now and into the future.

What does good look like for both new and veteran CFOs? And how do Strategic CFOs approach their work?
Written in collaboration with The Broad Center, The Strategic CFO identifies three mindsets and five core functions for CFOs looking to change the status quo and align resources to strategy. Drawing on best practices for personal and organizational leadership, this guide elevates stakeholder collaboration, describes the shifts needed to move from typical practice to strategic practice, and offers reflection questions to help inform current practice in your district. 

Want to join the conversation? Use the hashtag #StrategicEdCFO on social media!


The Strategic CFO is a tool that follows up on our 2014 publication, The New Education CFOwritten in collaboration with The Center for American Progress.

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