Dawn Jacobs has a confession: “I am an accidental fiscal officer.”
Jacobs originally intended to pursue a career in the stock brokerage industry and finance. “I still love keeping my eye on those stocks and market indicators,” she says.
She took time off from her career when she had young children, and when she went back to work she received a call from the school district she attended as a student. “They were looking for periodic substitutes to work across the district,” she remembers. “I received a call to work a few days in the business office; I never left.” Twenty-five years later, Jacobs has accrued over 10 years as chief financial officer and has completed the Ohio Treasurer Certification, an MBA, and SFO certification.
Jacobs has served Ohio’s Huron City School District, nestled along the shores of Lake Erie, as Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer since 2014. The district has just under 1,400 students from Pre-K through grade 12. The students attend classes in four school buildings: Pre-K–2, 3–6, 7–8, and 9–12.
Jacobs is most proud of the financial results of her district during the past three years. “The administration and staff have worked very hard to implement spending strategies and discipline,” she says. “Spending cycles are being implemented and long-standing facility projects are incrementally being completed.”
Her team has worked hard to touch and renegotiate every contract that operationally touches the district. “Over the last three years the district has brought spending in line with the revenues and produced a positive cash flow each year. This has offset the scheduled state revenue losses, delaying any additional levy request from our community,” Jacobs explains.
Jacobs cites both the electronic and printed resources from ASBO International as helpful and relevant. “I have referenced articles from SBA when discussing topics with my board and look to the website as an ongoing resource. I have also completed the SFO certification. What a great asset to my professional life,” she says.
Jacobs has three pieces of advice to offer school business officials who are new to the field: “First, the job is never done. Second, don’t stress over things you cannot control. And third, bring your best game every day.”
“Not every day will be a success,” she says. “You most likely will not complete what was on your list for the day, but if you bring your best attitude and smile through it all, you’re doing the best thing for yourself and your organization.”