Member Spotlight from April 26, 2018
“I was a statistic growing up.”
So Amber McDaniel explains her childhood as one of six daughters raised by a single mother dependent on government aid. “I used this as my inspiration to better myself on a daily basis,” she explains.
McDaniel began working at age 16 and has done so ever since. After graduating at the top of her high school class, she received a full scholarship to attend Northwestern State University. She graduated with a degree in business administration in 2007 and then worked for a large retail specialty wine and food chain in Houston, Texas. In 2008, she accepted an accountant position with a company in DeRidder, Louisiana.
“I was very happy to have the opportunity to return home and to be able to continue my career in accounting,” McDaniel says. After a while, she felt her position became repetitive and she became less interested in her work. In 2015, she moved on to school business and began working for the Beauregard Parish School Board in Louisiana as lead accountant.
McDaniel was nine months pregnant during the interview process and “extremely scared” of not getting the position because she would almost immediately need six weeks off to care for a newborn. “I will never forget what our personnel secretary told me,” McDaniel remembers. “She said not to worry and that they were in the business of working to make things better for children. I’m excited to say that I started my position with the Beauregard Parish School Board eight weeks later and I have loved every minute of it.”
The Beauregard Parish School district serves 6,004 students in 12 schools. “We are a small rural school system with a very close and supportive community,” McDaniel says.
“Working in a school district can be overwhelming, as there are many pieces that fit into the puzzle,” she shares. “I faced too many positions in my career where my work became repetitive and boring. I knew that I wanted to be challenged more and that I had more to offer.” McDaniel’s ultimate goal is to learn as much as she can in her current position so she can continue to grow as a school business professional.
McDaniel advises school business officials who are new to the field to approach each day as a learning experience. “There will not be a day that goes by that you won’t learn something new. What’s better than a job that offers something new to learn and apply on a daily basis?”
McDaniel credits ASBO International with giving her a window to the world of school business outside of her rural community. “Without ASBO International, I would never have been able to learn about leadership on such a diverse and large scale,” McDaniel says. “It’s a membership in an organization that serves the same purpose as I do: we work to learn new things, reach new goals, expand our networks, and share our stories in order to best serve our schools and community.”
“Before coming here, I never knew what went into running an education system. I feel like each and every person that who within the school system has a story that is yet to be told. It takes all of our employees, from our custodians to our teachers to our support staff, to run our district smoothly. I’m proud that one day my children will be able to see how hard we work for our school system.”