Chief Financial Officer | Crane Country Day School
Crane Country Day School
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Type: Full Time
Crane Country Day School
Chief Financial Officer
Santa Barbara, CA
Crane Country Day School is a warm and vibrant place where students and Staffulty work hand in hand to discover lessons each day. Joy and rigor can be found at every turn whether watching kindergartners create colorful self-portraits or seventh-graders walk down to the creek for the day’s biology exploration.
Since its founding in 1928, Crane has been committed to stimulating the minds and spirits of children from kindergarten through eighth grade. In addition to a thorough foundation in core academics including English, math, science, social studies, and Spanish, Crane also provides a deep dive into design and engineering, visual and performing arts, and athletics for all of its students. Balancing intellectual rigor and creative expression, the program challenges students to think critically, find their voices, and care for one another and the world around them.
The stunning 12-acre campus, featuring 17 buildings and nine acres of open space, is ideally suited to Crane’s philosophy of experiential education. Indoor and outdoor spaces are seamlessly connected, with students enjoying breathtaking views of mountains, trees, and gardens as they move through the day. Centered around signature trees, three quads contribute to the strong sense of community. The Olive Tree Quad is surrounded by the school's original 1928 classrooms. The Mulberry Tree Quad connects the Lower School grades to the library and art studios. The Oak Tree Quad, added in 2016-17, is framed by classroom and office spaces around an amphitheater. Athletic facilities include two large fields for general physical education, soccer, and flag football as well as an array of courts for basketball, volleyball, and whatever current invented-game Crane students are playing.
Crane Country Day School at a Glance
Crane County Day School is dedicated to providing an experiential education characterized by a thoughtful balance of academic challenge and creative expression. We thrive as a community that builds character and confidence, while celebrating the joy in learning.
Facts and Figures
2022-23 School-wide Enrollment (K-8): 263
Lower School: 154
Upper School: 109
Students self-identifying as students of color: 25%
Employees (Staffulty): 60
Average tenure of Staffulty: 8 years
Location: 12-acre campus in Montecito/Santa Barbara, situated between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean
Endowment: $8.1 million
Operating Budget: $9 million
Financial Aid: $1.3 million to 24% of students
Total Funds Raised, 2021-22: $1.5 million
Parent Participation in Annual Giving: 97%
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, California Association of Independent Schools; member, National Association of Independent Schools
Opportunities and Challenges Awaiting the Next CFO
Crane’s next CFO will join a financially sound and well-run institution with healthy admissions, strong donor support, a beautiful physical plant with almost no deferred maintenance, zero debt, and a growing endowment.
The school is thriving in spite of the daunting challenges it has confronted over the past five years. During the 2017-18 school year, the region suffered a disastrous series of fires followed by heavy rains that resulted in a catastrophic debris flow throughout Montecito. Crane’s campus was undamaged but remained inaccessible for many weeks, requiring the school to establish several temporary campuses spread over a radius of 20 miles. Since 2020, the twists and turns of the global pandemic have necessitated a host of creative adaptations to the school’s program and operations.
Undeterred, the school’s leaders have continued to embrace the future. Crane’s latest strategic plan, adopted in 2020-21, focuses on six key actionable initiatives to further Crane’s mission, strengthen its financial foundation, differentiate the school, and ensure that all Crane community members thrive. The CFO will have an important role to play in several aspects of the plan, including the implementation of two new building projects and thinking creatively about compensation and benefits to attract and retain the highest-caliber individuals.
Crane employs the hybrid word Staffulty (staff and faculty) to emphasize that all of the adults working at the school constitute a unified group with a shared commitment to the development of students. Regardless of their specific roles or responsibilities, all members of the Staffulty are involved in many aspects of the school, including participating in daily assemblies, guiding workshops, and leading trips. The next CFO will likewise be expected to engage enthusiastically in the life of the school, benefiting from and contributing to the profound sense of community that is a hallmark of the Crane experience.
The Position: Chief Financial Officer
Reporting to Head of School Joel Weiss, now in his 23rd year as head of Crane, the CFO oversees five direct reports: the controller, the accounts manager, the school nurse, the maintenance supervisor, and the director of technology.
The CFO is also the de facto director of human resources at Crane, overseeing the approximately 60 members of the Staffulty. In both daily operations and long-term strategic initiatives, the CFO works closely with admissions, advancement, and communications & marketing.
Finance, Strategy, Planning
Provide school-wide strategic leadership, analysis, and management of finances and operations.
Oversee all financial reporting, including the development and approval of the annual operating budget, periodic reports of operating results compared to the budget, and cash flow analysis. Audiences for financial information include the board of trustees, the finance committee, the Head of School, and other administrators.
Oversee the administration of the school’s endowment; implement investment decisions of the investment committee; and coordinate with investment managers ensuring effective endowment allocations, performance, and reporting.
Evaluate the business office’s strengths and weaknesses and develop goals and systems that will improve department performance.
Oversee the annual financial audit and the filings of tax returns.
Ensure that the school follows all local and state reporting requirements.
Maintain appropriate professional memberships and associated survey expectations.
Help implement and administer all employee benefit programs including health insurance, retirement, worker’s compensation, life insurance, and other related plans.
Collaborate with the Head of School and other senior administrators on providing leadership regarding employee hiring, termination, compensation, and management.
Manage and make decisions regarding all of the school’s insurance programs: property, casualty, medical, workers’ compensation, and D&O.
Provide sound and consistent employment policies, adequate staffing levels, compensation, and appropriate benefits programs for all facets of school operations.
Oversee school operations including personnel, maintenance, and outside vendors.
Oversee and manage all Business Office operations including budgeting, accounting, financial modeling and analysis, payroll, human resources, risk management, and benefits.
Coordinate with the maintenance supervisor concerning the oversight of the physical plant, grounds, and any construction as well as planning for all replacements and renewals to the physical plant.
Serve on the school’s senior administrative team and lead or participate in several other committees.
Serve as chief staff liaison to several board committees, including finance, audit, building & grounds, and investment committees by working closely with the various committee chairs, organizing agendas, generating meeting materials, and presenting at meetings.
Collaborate effectively with and provide support for advancement, admissions, and other departments.
Publicly represent the school in a positive and proactive way, collaborating with other local institutions, neighbors, and public officials.
Work collegially within a diverse community and communicate effectively with diverse populations. Demonstrate an interest in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging work and participate in professional development as related to DEI work.
Desired Qualifications and Qualities
Education and Experience
Bachelor’s degree required, MBA or CPA preferred.
At least 10 years of senior-level experience creating and executing financial planning and management strategies.
Experience in an independent school is preferred, but individuals new to schools with strong financial and leadership skills are very welcome and encouraged to apply.
Experience serving on senior administrative teams and working with nonprofit boards.
Experience in human resource management, employee benefits, and payroll procedures.
Demonstrated ability to take complex subjects, distill them, and communicate them to varied audiences.
Demonstrated experience in the development of analysis for strategic decision-making, such as key cost drivers, competitive analysis, market analysis, organizational strengths, and weaknesses, etc.
Knowledge of business and not-for-profit accounting policies, procedures, practices, and software programs.
Skills and Competencies
Superb communication skills, including excellent written, verbal, and presentation skills.
Ability to think and plan strategically and creatively.
Ability to supervise, manage, and delegate multiple functions and activities.
Ability to remain calm, flexible, and work effectively under pressure.
Commitment to equity and inclusion practices.
Skillfully interprets and applies understanding of key financial indicators to make high-quality decisions.
Skillfully gains the confidence and trust of all constituents through honesty, authenticity, and integrity.
Ability to make sense of complex, high-quantity, and sometimes contradictory information to effectively solve problems.
Sees ahead to future possibilities and translates ideas into strategies.
Maneuvers comfortably through complex policy, process, and people-related organizational dynamics.
Applies knowledge of the operating environment to advance organizational goals.
DRG is conducting this search on behalf of Crane Country Day School. Interested candidates should submit, as soon as possible, materials including the following:
A cover letter indicating why they are particularly interested in and qualified for the position.
A current resume.
A list of references (references will not be contacted until the finalist stage of the search).
Application Deadline: October 6, 2022
Start date: By January 1, 2023
This position description is based upon material provided by the Crane Country Day School, an equal opportunity employer. The CFO search committee is excited to meet interesting candidates with diverse backgrounds.
With more than 30 years of experience and nearly 400 schools served, Wickenden Associates ranks among the premier firms specializing in both Head and senior administrative searches for private and independent schools.
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