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Chief Financial Officer, Guilford County Schools



Accounting & Finance
Greensboro, NC, USA · Statesville, NC, USA
Posted on Tuesday, October 3, 2023

About Guilford County Schools (GCS)

Guilford County Schools (GCS) is the third-largest district in North Carolina, serving nearly 70,000 students across 124 schools in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Appointed by the Board of Education in 2022, Superintendent Whitney Oakley is the first superintendent from Guilford County to lead the district. Dr. Oakley is leading the district through a pivotal phase in its development, focusing on graduating students who are ready to be successful citizens and leaders of the world and ensuring that the $2 billion in voter-approved school bonds to build, rebuild, and renovate aging schools are managed and executed to meet the community’s needs. Members of GCS’s leadership team will play a critical role in helping the district reach its top priorities which focus on student achievement, equity and excellence, talent development, school choice, and organizational effectiveness.

About the Chief Financial Officer Position

Reporting directly to the Deputy Superintendent of Business & Operations, the Chief Financial Officer leads the team in stewarding the fiscal resources that will allow Guilford County Schools to accomplish its key goals outlined in Dr. Oakley’s Better Together Strategic Direction. This person will direct GCS’s financial strategy to support effective budget planning, maximizing available funds, and ensuring an equitable distribution of resources for the day-to-day operations to support the district’s vision for student success. The Chief Financial Officer must be an experienced and accomplished finance and accounting professional, a key advisor to the Cabinet members, and a collaborator with other departments and stakeholders (internal and external) that support the district’s improvement. The team includes Purchasing, Payroll, Accounts Payable, Accounting, and School Accounting/Budget.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities

Equity Leadership and Student Success

  • Cultivate a commitment among all district staff to enable all students to achieve high standards.
  • Confront preconceptions and model open dialogue around race, culture, class, and other issues of difference.
  • Demonstrate cultural proficiency, sensitivity, and equity to ensure students’ needs are met.
  • Assess the distribution of resources with a clear racial equity lens, ensuring allocations provide the best resources to equitably and effectively meet the needs of all GCS’s students, families, and schools.

Strategic District Leadership

  • Implement strategic financial strategies that maximize available funds and ensure equitable distribution of resources across the district to support student success.
  • Provide strategic leadership to develop the district’s annual budget and multi-year financial plans in conjunction with the Superintendent and other Cabinet leaders.
  • Spearhead the annual capital planning and monitoring processes so that capital expenditures reinforce broader programmatic goals.
  • Maintain knowledge of State and Federal laws governing the oversight of school district finances. Partner with the state, county, and other local organizations with regard to fiscal impacts and strategy as needed.

Finance Team Leadership and Management

  • Represent the district, as needed, on budgetary matters in a variety of venues, including public hearings, Board meetings, media briefings, and external stakeholder and community meetings.
  • Manage the performance and effectiveness of the Finance Office, including the successful implementation of financial and budget goals, effective controls and monitoring of the district’s budget, efficient operational processes, and excellent service to schools and district offices.
  • Forecast short- and long-range cash requirements and obligations as a basis for sound financial and equitable funding mechanisms.
  • Direct the team in the preparation and presentation of monthly budget reporting and annual projections for all aspects of the GCS budget; collaborate with the team to ensure accuracy of analysis and data in departmental reports.
  • Emphasize the importance of the Finance Office’s essential role in serving the district’s students, families, staff, and community partners in interactions and communication with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Ensure successful annual financial audits and the completion of any required federal, state, or county financial reports.

Systems, Support, and Execution

  • Ensure the successful implementation of the new Enterprise Resource Planning system, Oracle.
  • Provide project management oversight and for priority short- and long-term initiatives; develop tools to track progress and monitor key performance goals.
  • Implement adequate internal controls and ensure adequate accounting records to document compliance with local, state, and federal laws and ordinances.
  • Serve as a critical thought partner and support for department leaders on budgetary matters and build their capacity as fiscal stewards of the district’s resources.
  • Create proactive systems that garner feedback from stakeholders to inform the budget process, budget transparency, and fiscal stewardship for departments and school-based teams.
  • Effectively communicate and share data with broad audiences to improve transparency, trust, and confidence in the district and to promote sharing learning.

Talent Management and Professional Learning

  • Lead and coach an effective team that will unite around a common vision of operational excellence and support.
  • Support staff to develop, implement, and evaluate project plans and strategies to achieve goals and objectives.
  • Cultivate positive relationships among staff internally and within the broader district, including principals, support staff, and the larger community.

Key Competencies

The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following:

Vision and Courage to Ensure All Students Achieve

  • Demonstrate belief and hold self and others accountable for reaching high academic achievement for all students.
  • Foster and inspire a clear and compelling vision.
  • Be courageous in addressing matters of equity, race, and bias in decision-making.

Leadership, Influence, and Effective Communications

  • Communicate effectively, tailoring messages for the audience, context, and mode of communication.
  • Navigate politically complex structures, relationships, and dynamics to challenge ideas and enable thoughtful decisions and positive outcomes for students.
  • Maintain visibility and work collaboratively with diverse stakeholders at all levels.
  • Prepares the Deputy Superintendent of Business & Operations and Superintendent for effective decision-making conversations, anticipating and organizing key questions and data that support productive discussions to direct key fiscal priorities.
  • Builds coalitions and works collaboratively with diverse stakeholders at all levels of the organization.

Strategic Planning and Effective Execution

  • Exhibits outstanding critical thinking skills, including the ability to analyze data, identify trends, pinpoint problems and root causes, ask probing questions, and develop innovative solutions.
  • Demonstrates excellent execution and leadership skills and the ability to successfully lead employees in balancing multiple projects with clear deadlines.
  • Possess a deep understanding of systems-level operations, management, and organizational design in order to deliver desired outcomes for the district.
  • Collaborates with civic and political leaders in the commitment to securing more equitable state funding for schools and districts.

Team Leadership and Management

  • Gains the trust and respect of all staff, cultivating personal accountability among staff for excellent service, problem-solving, and efficient budget processes.
  • Build and lead a large, diverse staff; delegate and leverage the team effectively to achieve ambitious goals.
  • Assess team and individual skills and identify development needs; provide feedback and support to improve practice, build capacity, and maximize talent.
  • Promote professional learning and utilize effective adult learning techniques.

Minimum Training & Experience
  • Bachelor’s in Accounting, Finance, or a related career field from an accredited college or university. MBA, Master’s, and CPA designation are strongly preferred.
  • At least ten (10) years of progressive, full-time, professional experience in budget leadership, public policy, public administration, or business management.
  • Direct experience in budgeting, budget preparation, financial monitoring, and financial analysis and evidence of success leading and managing a multi-million dollar budget. Public sector work experience is strongly preferred.
  • Five (5) years of senior-level supervisory/administrative/management experience, preferably in a large urban school district.
  • Thorough knowledge of various types of public budgeting practices, policies, procedures, and challenges.
  • Experience in implementing comprehensive financial management systems, practices, and policies for an organization of significant size.
  • Ability to navigate uncertainty and ambiguity, and to prioritize work efforts to execute overall strategy.
  • Eligible for NC Administrator license preferred, but not required.
  • Eligible for a valid NC driver’s license at the time of hire.

The salary range for this position is negotiable, beginning at $170,000, and commensurate with prior experience. In addition, a comprehensive benefits package is included.

The Guilford County Board of Education believes in the dignity of all individuals and the worth of their labors. To this end, the Board will ensure that all applicants for employment and all employees are employed, assigned, supervised, promoted, compensated, and terminated in full compliance with state and federal equal opportunity statutes. No applicant for employment or current employee will experience discrimination based on race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, physical handicap, sexual orientation, or disability.