Prospect Sierra School in El Cerrito California ( www.prospectsierra.org ) is a K-8 school enrolling 460 students on two campuses in a diverse and dynamic East Bay area of San Francisco. A community where kindness is valued and evident, the school’s strong, positive, diverse, and inclusive community engenders strong loyalty. 47% of students identify as people of color, and 34% of the student body receives tuition assistance. Prospect and Sierra Schools were founded in Berkeley in the early 1980s and merged in 1997 to form the K-8 school that it is today.
Prospect Sierra gives students the tools to build a better world by integrating rigorous academics with a deep understanding of human emotions. Every day the talented teachers help students connect academic experiences with ideals like ethics and empathy. The result is deeper intellectual engagement, greater self-knowledge, and compassionate relationships. Prospect Sierra students emerge with the courage to be great people, not just great students.
Prospect Sierra is a member of the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and the People of Color in Independent Schools (POCIS) while also being a NAIS Model School of the Future, an Ashoka International Changemaker School, and a US Department of Education Green Ribbon School.
Prospect Sierra seeks an experienced, strategic, and emotionally intelligent Chief Financial Officer to lead the school’s business office and financial operations. This is a tremendous opportunity to join a positive school community and high functioning, collaborative and supportive senior leadership team as the school moves forward in realizing strategic initiatives. The successful candidate will be a goal-oriented individual who will embrace the culture and mission of Prospect Sierra School; who has excellent social and emotional skills; and who has deep experience in financial leadership and management.
Prospect Sierra students are passionate about learning. Our exceptional teachers inspire students to seek deep, meaningful understanding; to develop strong academic skills; and to become creative and independent thinkers. Prospect Sierra cultivates compassion, fairness, respect, and individuality within a community that celebrates diversity, authenticity, and service.
Structure and Program
In addition to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), the Business Office includes the Accountant, and the Human Resources and Business Associate, both of whom report to the CFO. The CFO will work closely with the Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee, led by an active Chair. The Finance Committee provides input on and approves annual budgets, major financial decisions, and strategic financial planning. The CFO reports to the Head of School and works alongside an exceptionally talented and collaborative Senior Administrative Team, which includes the Directors of Admission and Outreach, Development, Communication, Diversity and Inclusion, Facilities, Technology and Innovation, and Division Heads of the Elementary and Middle Schools.
Prospect Sierra’s finances have always been strategically and thoughtfully managed, with the goal of maintaining long-term stability. As a result, the school enjoys a strong balance sheet and significant reserves.
Besides overall management of the school’s financial operations, the CFO will be expected to lead long-range planning and implementation of strategies to keep tuition increases low while raising faculty salaries and benefits.
The ideal candidate will be a vibrant professional with a successful track record in financial management, strategic planning, and leadership. The successful candidate will authentically embrace the school’s mission, culture, and community.
The CFO oversees the business operations of the school, including the school’s financial sustainability, best use of resources, prudent business and management practices, financial planning, budgeting, purchasing, and accounting. The CFO’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
Accounting: Supervise the Accountant to ensure the accuracy and efficiency of the school’s accounting system and banking resources to maximize the use of funds (operating, debt service, capital, contracted services, endowment and other restricted).
Financial oversight: Oversee financial statements, consolidations and other financial reports necessary for internal management, state and federal requirements, and Board committees. Work with Head of School and Board regarding the financial status of the school, providing advice and research as requested. With Head of School, coordinate and manage financial planning, including preparation of annual budget.
Risk Management: Work with Finance Chair, Head of School, and Senior Administrative Team to develop regular assessments of school programs, policies, procedures, and facilities to minimize risk exposure. Perform insurance renewals, claims, compliance.
Financing/Banking: Ensure good banking relationships, bond compliance. Monitor cash flow and investment that maximizes school assets.
Legal Requirement: Keep abreast of laws that affect school practices and policies, and propose education to school employees and action as needed.
Human Resource Management: Supervise the Human Resources and Business Associate in providing faculty and staff with support on employee benefits. Ensure user-friendly systems and procedures that support individual needs. Supervise the update of the Employee Handbook annually. Provide input on new employee induction. Prepare annual employment agreements.
Tuition Assistance and Account Oversight: Evaluate and recommend tuition assistance awards to the Tuition Assistance Committee. Act as point of contact for tuition assistance and emergency assistance requests. Promote good customer service with employees and families.
Schedule and prepare for annual audit with Accountant.
Perform other duties and/or special projects as assigned by the Head of School and Finance Committee.
Serve on the Senior Admin Team, Board Finance Committee, Board Development Committee, Professional Development Committee, Board Buildings and Grounds Committee; attend Board meetings.
Additionally, the Chief Financial Officer will possess:
Enthusiasm for collaborating with others, with an interest in, and aptitude for, building and supporting effective teams, being both a team leader and a team member
Strong communication skills as a presenter and as a good listener
Deep experience in financial planning and management
The ability to inspire others, and generate enthusiasm toward the achievement of goals
An appreciation for diversity and inclusion, with the willingness to engage in thoughtful dialogue on sensitive topics
Strong goal orientation with the abilities to prioritize, analyze, organize, and move initiatives forward
Impeccable integrity, kindness, good humor and compassionCreativity, entrepreneurial spirit, intelligence, and flexibility.
This is a great opportunity for an individual with excellent experience and strong people skills to join a highly respected independent school and take a key leadership role in enhancing the school’s financial health.
Interested individuals should submit a current resume and a letter of interest to:
Tamara Matuschka, Assistant to the Head of School Prospect Sierra School 960 Avis Drive El Cerrito, CA 94530 firstname.lastname@example.org 510-809-9022
Inquiries will be treated confidentially and review of candidate files will begin immediately. Prospect Sierra is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
About Prospect Sierra School
Prospect Sierra is an independent, co-ed K–8 school located on two campuses in El Cerrito, California. Our mission “inspires students to seek deep, meaningful understanding; to develop strong academic skills; and to become creative and independent thinkers.” The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) recently featured Prospect Sierra as a Model School of the Future, among only seven schools worldwide, in its publication A Guide to Becoming a School of the Future. Please visit our website, www.prospectsierra.org, for more information about the school.