Before she found her way to school business, Shaquita Burke was introduced to the field while traveling to conferences with her husband, a school business official.
“Spending time with him and his colleagues, I witnessed the commitment and passion they shared for the work they were doing in their respective school systems,” Shaquita says. “With each effort to maximize their fiscal resources, they were creating learning environments for every child to do their best work. Their passion was contagious.”
An accountant by trade, Shaquita began to research how to transition to school business. She became the director of finance at Vicksburg-Warren School District in Vicksburg, Mississippi, three years ago.
In addition to learning how to do more with less—a problem that exists everywhere, Shaquita says her biggest challenge has been overhauling dated processes designed to satisfy adults and turning them into measures that return the focus to children.
“I have utilized my private sector experience to effect change and refocus efforts on serving our true customers,” she says. When people are asked how their actions affect children, their answers often focus on what needs to be addressed. “I have found that most people will adjust their position and get on board when there are clearly defined expectations and consequences to their actions,” Shaquita says.
Shaquita is proud of her achievements during her relatively short time in school business—she attended the 2016 ASBO International Annual Meeting & Expo as an Emerging School Business Leader. She points out that those who were skeptical when she took on her current position are now staunch supporters. And outside the office, Shaquita is thrilled to have been able to return to her other passion—volunteering as chairperson for her local Relay for Life event.
“I see being a member of ASBO International as an opportunity to explore resources beyond the geographical borders of my state or the United States,” Shaquita says. “Many of our kids think they only have the options that we, the school leaders, put in front of them. As their advocate for a better tomorrow, I have the opportunity to collaborate with global professionals who may have successfully discovered options I have not yet explored.”
Want to be an ASBO International featured member? Email Theresa Boulware, membership manager. We love to share our members’ stories!