Candidate for Vice President
Bill Sutter, SFO
Chief Financial Officer
Boulder Valley School District
Bill Sutter has been the CFO of the Boulder Valley School District for the past five years, with 18 years prior experience in the district’s accounting and budget departments.
He received an MBA from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder and an undergraduate dual degree in business administration and history from the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
A member of ASBO International since 2005, Sutter currently serves as a third-year director, as well as a board representative on the Meritorious Budget Award Advisory Committee and Policy Committee. He served as the president of the Colorado Association of School Business Officials for two years, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, and has served in leadership roles for various Colorado school finance organizations, including the State Financial Policies and Procedures Committee. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Colorado School Finance Project.
RESPONSES TO ASBO BOARD QUESTIONS
The Association of School Business Officials International is the premier organization for advancing the profession of school business leaders. The Association serves and assists a global network of members and partners to promote excellence and accountability through high-quality professional development, collaboration, and the dissemination of best practices throughout that vast network.
With advocacy, recognition, and certification programs, the Association affirms the highest standards of professionalism, service, and knowledge of the school business leader.
The Association seeks input and feedback to address concerns, implement new ideas, and provide the highest value to its members and partners.
Question 1: Why is ASBO International’s mission important to you? How do you support that mission in our daily work?
The mission of ASBO International is even more inspirational and on target today than just a few short months ago. Every component of our organization’s mission–leading the profession forward, professional growth opportunities, a global network of support, providing the necessary resources–ultimately ensuring every student has the opportunity to receive a quality education, all have played a critical role in supporting and guiding SBOs through the COVID-19 pandemic.
As I think about the roles that school business officials play in their organization–fiscal management, facilities management, food services, transportation, technology, executive leadership and procurement to name a few, are all the roles that were needed in a moment’s notice. It was the SBO who was working every supply chain avenue to get PPE for staff who were working the front lines of the pandemic. It was the SBO overseeing the technology solutions and devices for students to access distance learning. It was the SBO creating emergency feeding programs to ensure nutritious meals for students in need. It was the SBO developing facilities cleaning plans and managing access during a crisis.
While these critical operational activities were occurring, ASBO International staff were quickly developing and rolling out online programs and maintaining the connection to the critical work in the moment. As a global organization reacting to a global pandemic, SBOs have been sharing ideas and issues through the Global School Business Network. As an SBO in my own district, I strive to maintain that broad perspective of the organization and how each and every operational task is ultimately focused on improving outcomes for students. As an ASBO board member, I ensure the staff have the strategic direction and resources to fulfil the mission for students around the world.
Question 2: What are the characteristics of an exemplary board member? What strengths would you bring to the position?
The journey from ASBO board candidate to ASBO board member has been more rewarding and enlightening than I ever envisioned. The commitment to ASBO International that all my fellow board members have modeled over the last three years has been invaluable to me as a leader. The characteristics that make us all unique are part of the recipe for an exemplary ASBO board member, however a few I have seen rise to the top.
An exemplary board member must be empathetic and embrace the diversity of thoughts, cultures and experiences for effective board participation. We all have our life and work experiences that bring us to where we are, and learning about fellow board members is critical to be effective.
Next, to be effective, a board member must have a willingness to share thoughts and ideas. These could be confirming of others, or an opposing perspective. Either way, communicating effectively creates optimal solutions and outcomes for the organization and membership.
Lastly, as a steward of ASBO member resources, the ASBO board member must have the highest level of integrity to maintain that trust with the ASBO membership that they are acting in the best interests of the organization. The ASBO board member must act with integrity, honesty and the highest ethical standards.
As the candidate for ASBO Vice President, I believe I bring a balanced outlook to board participation. I listen with an open mind, offer ideas and modify my position when new, relevant information is presented. I seek input from others and utilize a broad range of ideas to move the organization forward and ensure the envisioned future where ASBO International is globally recognized, respected, and consulted as the leading authority in the school business profession.
Question 3: What are some of the lessons learned during the past 12 months that SBOs should consider as they look to the future?
There are several critical lessons of the past few months that I believe will guide SBOs in the months and years to come. These are not necessarily new lessons, but a reinforcement of what makes SBOs a critical component of public education–the need for adaptability, resiliency, compassion and courageous leadership.
PK-12 public education does not generally change very quickly. 2020 has brought rapid change of a scale that was almost unimaginable. Perhaps we will see that becoming nimbler and more flexible will be the outcome as a result. It is easy to become complacent with the status quo–it is undoubtably easier than change, however that change can push us and our organizations into a place that is better for all students.
It has become even more evident that public education is a critical component of the economic engine of the world. We all understand that public education must adapt to this new normal, providing students with access to talented educational professionals for meaningful instruction, while providing custodial care in a safe and supportive space to allow parents to return to work.
The current world events have created an exceptional need for compassion. With unemployment at record levels, a deadly virus affecting friends, neighbors and loved ones, and stress at near breaking levels, having compassion for others is a key component of getting through this and coming out the other side stronger than ever.
Lastly, navigating the unknown in the near-term and long-term has highlighted the need for SBOs to lead with a steady hand on the current situation and a clear vision for the future. We cannot become mired in the crisis but must manage thoughtfully through the crisis to allow students, staff and the community to thrive.