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Position: Chief Financial Officer, New Haven Public Schools
Municipality:New Haven
Close Date:4/1/2014

New Haven Public Schools

Chief Financial Officer

Job Description



New Haven Public Schools (“NHPS”), a recognized leader in the school change movement, is seeking to hire a Chief Financial Officer, a new position in the District.  NHPS is a large urban public school system serving the 123,600 residents of New Haven, Connecticut.   With a budget of nearly $400 million, its 46 schools educate more than 21,500 students with a curriculum designed to give them the best individualized education possible. 


Concerned about the widening academic gap between students in the New Haven schools and the rest of the state, the NHPS Board of Education has set the aggressive goals of closing the academic achievement gap, cutting the dropout rate in half, and insuring that every student is prepared academically and has the financial resources to attend and succeed in college. 


Understanding that true school reform is necessary to meet those goals, NHPS has committed to programs that utilize the newest techniques and evidence based practices to achieve success.   Its focus on community engagement, a portfolio strategy of school specific programming, teacher evaluation and development, school leader quality, and parental involvement has been the key to maximizing the students’ opportunities for academic success.  While NHPS has gone a long way towards meeting those goals--as parents celebrate the improvements in the schools and students improve their academic performance, graduation rates, and college attendance--NHPS recognizes that true reform requires continuous improvements and takes the best efforts and commitment of all of its stakeholders—the students, the parents, the teachers, the school administrators, the elected officials, businesses and foundations, the City, State and Federal governments, and the rest of the community at large.  


A constant challenge for NHPS is adequate funding to support its operations.  The municipal funding situation has been and remains challenging while costs have increased, and competition for state and federal grants and other funding sources is very high and not guaranteed.  As a result, NHPS needs to develop new and creative sources of income while at the same time performing continuous process improvements in order to maximize cost savings and the strategic use of resources.  In addition, the district believes financial systems have potential as levers for school improvement in themselves, through the equitable and empowered distribution of resources to schools.  Towards these ends, NHPS has reorganized its management team and has decided to hire a Chief Financial Officer who will manage the day to day budget and financial operations and be responsible for ensuring NHPS is and remains on a healthy financial track.


The Position:
New Haven Public Schools is seeking a very intelligent, strategic, highly skilled, energetic and experienced financial professional who has proven leadership in significant management positions to become its new Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”).  Reporting directly to the Superintendent of Schools, the CFO will be responsible for all financial management activities and will provide counsel and advice to the senior management staff and the Board on all financial matters.  The CFO will oversee and implement financial policies and plans for NHPS and will provide overall management and direction for the accounting, budgeting, and grant management functions.   The CFO will also be able to think and communicate strategically about fiscal issues related to the changing environment faced by schools systems around the country.


The successful candidate must be able to work closely and collaboratively with the Superintendent and other members of the senior management team, and be able to integrate smoothly into the senior management at NHPS, fitting into the organization’s culture.  He or she must work with the Board, the staff, and key stakeholders (including the Mayor’s office and the Board of Alders) in a clear, supportive and direct manner.  The successful candidate will have strong interpersonal skills, excellent written and oral communication skills, a hands-on management style and the ability to address and solve problems or issues as they arise. In addition, he or she will be diplomatic, of the highest integrity, and possess sound judgment as well as a sense of humor.


Specific Responsibilities include:

·        Oversees and manages the financial operations and staff for the NHPS system.

·        Oversees all finance and accounting functions and staff for both the general fund and the special fund

·        Serves as a member of the Superintendent’s executive management team and participates as appropriate in developing NHPS’ strategic plan, setting policy and monitoring performance.

·        Ensures timeliness, accuracy, and usefulness of financial and management reporting for NHPS management and the Board of Education, as well as City, Board of Alders, state, and federal partners, foundations, and other external parties as needed.

·        Assures that the Fiscal Department is supervised, trained and motivated to maintain the highest levels of teamwork and partnership with other functions and departments within the school system.

·        Designs finance and budgeting systems that reinforce interschool equity and school portfolio strategies, including school-based discretion in financial planning and budgeting.

·        Develops strategies for, communicates about, and oversees development of all initial and ongoing operating budgets.

·        Creates financial models and forecasts; provides clear and complete communications to support or explain financial data.

·        Provides oversight and advice to parent groups and staff members at schools to help them understand and manage different funding sources (in particular PTO/PTA's).

·        Represents the school district on financial issues in public meetings as well as before corporate executives, elected officials, and public agency administrators, including in evening and weekend events.

·        Coordinates, prepares and oversees all fiscal audits; insures that NHPS is in full compliance with all municipal, state and federal legal and regulatory financial requirements. 

·        Performs risk assessment and protection, and communicates risk information to the Board, the Superintendent and the leadership team.

·        Helps to manage capital budget in collaboration with the Chief Operating Officer and the district’s construction and facilities partners.

  • Provides financial oversight and planning for all BOE accounts, including general funds, special funds, and affiliated funds such as the Food Service and Daycare accounts.

·        Oversees cash flow planning and ensures availability of funds as needed, in collaboration with the City.

·        Works with members of leadership team to ensure maximum participation by program staff in the budget development and implementation process.  Monitors organization performance against budget and recommends required actions to control spending.

·        Insures the accuracy and reliability of all financial data; assures all financial transactions and reporting systems are supported by consistent and ongoing user training and are audited periodically for use and integrity.

·        Reports and interprets financial information to the Board and serves as a resource for interpreting Board-level requirements as mandated by the Mayor and other oversight agencies.



·         Bachelor degree in finance, accounting or related field required; advanced degree in a related field, MBA and/or CPA strongly preferred.

·         Minimum of 7 (seven) years related experience, preferably in a large, complex government organization and/or school system.

·         Demonstrated leadership ability, team management and interpersonal skills.

·         Knowledge of generally accepted accounting practices and principles as relevant to government and public school systems.

·         Knowledge of internal control systems used for general accounting principles and specialized nonprofit industry accounting practices and procedures.

·         Expertise in publicly funded education programs strongly preferred.

·         Acumen in maintaining accurate financial records and preparing clear and accurate reports for informational, auditing and operational use.

·         Ability to read, analyze, interpret and explain complex financial data.

·         Ability to work independently, prioritizing workflow to meet critical deadlines and paying exceptionally close attention to detail.

·         Excellent written and oral communication skills.

Salary will be commensurate with experience. 

The New Haven Public Schools is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to a diverse workforce.  For more information on the New Haven Public Schools, please visit their website at www.nhps.net.

To Apply:
New Haven Public Schools
has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search.  Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:

Jack Lusk, Managing Partner


Anne McCarthy, Senior Director

Harris Rand Lusk

261 Madison Ave., 11th Floor

New York, NY  10016



We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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