I spent nearly two decades serving McDonogh, the private school where I served as a Board member or Board committee member. During those two decades, the school’s financial picture improved as McDonogh transformed itself.
With the growth in McDonogh’s student enrollment initially stimulated by the addition of a kindergarten in 1992, the Finance Committee continued to refine its operating model. The Committee also continued communications to the Board about the school’s finances and how some of the strategic needs should be funded.
As I discussed in my previous article about student enrollment, McDonogh’s Lower and Middle Schools had a fixed structure for staffing, based on the number of primary sections assigned to each grade. There were specialty teachers in Art, Music, and Shop for each of the schools, and the Lower School had teaching assistants for each of the kindergarten sections.
As we developed the 10-year operating projections for The McDonogh School, it was important to communicate and, in some cases, educate the Board members on the interrelationships between the various operating and financial components.
When I moved to Austin, I donated my files from the years I served on the McDonogh School Board of Trustees to the McDonogh archives. I thought that it would be useful to craft a series of articles reflecting some of the work we did during a period of transformation for the school.
Thirty years ago this month, I attended my first meeting as a member of the McDonogh School Board of Trustees. I won’t forget the luncheon at which I was invited to join the Board. The Board Chair, Tom Petty, informed me that board members of non-profit schools needed to contribute at least two of the three Ws to the institution. The Ws represented work, wisdom, and wealth. At the age of 36, I was fairly certain which two were mine.