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SENIOR CONTROLLER (Director of Finance & HR)

California Assosiacion of Independent Schools
San Diego County, California, US
Closing date
Jul 8, 2022

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
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SENIOR CONTROLLER (Director of Finance & HR)


SENIOR CONTROLLER (Director of Finance & HR)



SDFAS seeks a high level independent school business operations expert at the Senior Comptroller level to function as the school's Director of Finance & Accounting (DFA) with Senior Leadership Team status, supervision responsibility of the school's Senior Finance Associate, and reporting directly to the Head of School. SDFAS (375 students in PK-8 with a budget of $8.2mm and approximately 85 employees and with supervision of Senior Finance Associate). For this position, superior financial acumen, independent school experience and strong people and team management skills are required. Prior experience in an independent school is strongly preferred and within a current or former role as a senior business office staff member (Comptroller, DFO or CFO, assistant DFO or CFO). Knowledge or proficiency in French is preferred but not required. CPA or CMA required (or in process).

The Senior Comptroller (DFA) collaborates closely with HOS, Board Treasurer, Finance Committee of the Board and Senior Leadership Team responsible for the smooth oversight and execution of the school's business office operations. The School's leadership structure includes a Director of Operations so as to allow the Senior Comptroller (DFA) to have the available time and resources to place ample energy to focused support of each main revenue-driving department (enrollment, development, enrichment, and new business development of innovative alternative revenue streams).

Higher level vision and strategy responsibilities include modeling and reporting big picture strategy around financial sustainability, including compensation philosophy and alignment with modern independent school best practices; ensuring best practices and cost-effective systems and processes with a view toward maximum automatization, accuracy, and efficient use of human resources.


Independent, co-educational dual language, ~350 students PK-8. Spacious campus at top of beautiful Mount Soledad in La Jolla.
Founded in 1988, we are a unique, dynamic school moving each year toward greater and greater excellence. We offer a compelling combination of small size, bilingual international programs, and dedication to social-emotional learning and nurturing the whole student. A recognized leader in international education among San Diego private schools and within the French-American school network.
Accreditations: French Ministry of Education (one of 52 in the US and 580+ worldwide outside France), California Association of Independent Schools, and Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Exempt, year-round, 4 weeks vacation (+ 5th week before New Year's for all employees)
Senior Leadership Team: regular working hours 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM or 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM and as a exempt employee and member of the Senior Leadership Team additional hours occuring during scheduled time away from campus as needed to ensure the smooth functioning of the school


Head of School and Board of Trustees (Treasurer)


Finance Associate and any others as assigned.
HR function employee(s) - whether HR tasks assigned internally or partially managed for the School through an outsourcing firm)
Oversees the School's relationship as lead interlocutor with banks, investment firms, auditors, accountants, insurance and any other brokers, 403B plan management firm, attorneys for matters related job description functions, or other as assigned.


Authorization to work in the United States for any employer.
Bachelor's degree in business administration, accounting, finance or general management, or equivalent experience; advanced degree in a related field, MBA and/or CPA strongly preferred.
Significant finance office experience as the senior or next most senior employee in the department. Strongly preferred that at least part of this experience has been in not-for-profit school settings (3-5 years minimum).
Knowledge of United States federal and state laws, including California and Federal laws regarding financial reporting for independent schools.
Strong financial and managerial skills with proven experience with an organization of similar size and scope, preferably with an independent school in the United States or internationally.
Excellent public speaking and presentation skills and the ability to use sound judgment and work independently in a confidential manner.
An open and collaborative management style characteristic of a team player.
Demonstrated leader and experienced negotiator with contracts and personnel, comfortable interfacing with a legal team, and working knowledge of building construction.
A record of strategic thinking and helping to lead and execute major capital projects and initiatives.
Strong proficiency in a variety of computer software applications; Excel, PowerPoint, Google applications and Veracross database.
A high level of integrity, curiosity, warmth, a growth-mindset, strong work ethic and a good sense of humor accompanying a desire to live and espouse the mission and values of SDFAS.
Native, near-native or advanced bilingual fluency in French and English is strongly preferred (reading, writing, listening & speaking). Proficiency in other languages is a plus
PREFERRED (NOT REQUIRED): Bilingual language skills with excellent interpersonal, written, and verbal communication in both English and French (and in other additional languages a further plus).


Enacting dynamic 'Next Level' collaboration and mutually supportive coordination/communication between the finance team/business office, academic divisions and other key leadership departments of the school in support of innovation, efficiency and excellence in realizing the school's vision and strategic directives
Directly supportive business development including existing and alternative revenue streams to further the School's financial sustainability goals and achieve the school's strategic vision for people, progas and campus
Serve as an innovation and process efficiency and enhancement though partner to the head of school, primary revenue-generating departments (admissions, development and enrichment), division directors and other senior leadership members and support staff.
Further developing mission and core values-based school culture that is cohesive, validating and respectful of the dignity and worth of every person, while at the same time supporting an evolving school climate change through the critical lens of diversity, equity, inclusion and a focus on cross-cultural competencies
Innovating in creative ways that leverage Covid-era tools, practices and mindsets.

(Non-Exhaustive Detailed List)

Finance and Business Office
Supervise the work of the school accounting and business office personnel and use standard accounting and bookkeeping procedures, to keep an accurate continuous record of the cash and financial position of the school and manage the financial operation of the school so that the institution remains financially stable.
Supervise the collection of any overdue student tuition accounts (A/R)
Ensure compliance with the filing requirements of all appropriate Federal, state and local tax returns and other U.S. and French government reports and compliance with all current regulations.
Establish and monitor internal financial controls.
Prepare a monthly operating statement for the Head of School and the Board of Trustees, or as requested by the BOT in order to provide data for Board meetings.
Provide a monthly report of expenditures for the use of each individual budget center within the school.
Establish a plan and schedule for the preparation of the annual budget that will permit the setting of the succeeding year's tuition at a Board of Trustees meeting early in the calendar year.
Provide for the securing of an annual audit of the school's financial records and financial position.
Oversee all school purchasing, financial investments, banking activities, payroll and benefits programs.
Work collaboratively with the Head on strategic planning, long range financial budget projections, capital projects and overall campus planning.
Coordinate any capital borrowing arrangements and monitor all loans and indebtedness.
Maintain financial relationships with the appropriate agencies of the French government, including the filing of required reports, and ensuring that all of the School's obligations are fulfilled.

Human Resources (Collaborative Management & Oversight)
HR function employee(s) (internally and/or through outsourcing) with decisions regarding salaries and benefits for all personnel, including the evaluation of support staff.
Overseeing (establishment and administration) of personnel programs and policies as they relate to hiring and termination procedures, onboarding and offboarding, time off, workers compensation, training, faculty/staff performance evaluations and compensation (including benchmarking).
In collaboration with HR function employee(s) or consultants, treating, maintaining and distributing a manual of current faculty and staff employee policies and procedures and instructions.
Assisting the Head of School or any employees or HR function employees or consultants, with hiring and termination of all support staff for the administrative offices, including secretarial and clerical personnel and maintenance and janitorial employees.
Overseeing the maintaining of digital and hard copy files in line with legal requirements for all Human Resources files and working with the Head of School and any designated HR function employee(s) to design the tools and timelines needed for effective annual and ongoing documentation of performance feedback and responses to potential or real emergency risk management issues.

Emergency Risk Management
Work with the Head of School to determine an appropriate staffing model and level to properly support strategic plan goals and day to day operational needs with respect to facilities vision, management and oversight, and notably in the areas of deferred and future maintenance planning campus-wide, daily upkeep of buildings and grounds, landscaping and campus presentation, campus beautification and esthetics, functional use, cleanliness, maintenance, repairs, improvements, security and safety, and quality of student and faculty life, functional use, and esthetic values.
To oversee and support processes related to the request made and follow-through needed to support campus needs and set-up/support requests for school events, including and notably for all parameters related to facilities and services.
To manage risk at the school to ensure the safety of personnel and students in their use of the facilities and to maintain appropriate levels of insurance to protect the property and to cover the liability of the school. To support the Head in being aware of and acting in thought-partnership when requested by the Head in mitigating potentially new ERM issues and in responding to current or unavoidable ERIM issues in the most sensible and intentionally managed and coordinated ways.
To oversee school transportation: schedules and contracts and to assess the performance of transportation companies and their compliance with appropriate state laws and regulations.
To oversee and support the director of enrichment programs in their effective management of the food service operation, summer programs and any other enrichment program or international language school partnerships, as well as any new alternative revenue-generating initiative.
To represent SDFAS at various regional, state, and national associations relative to the role of being Director of Finance.
To ensure that all safety systems are fully functioning and that the security systems are operating at the level specified and within the expectations of the School community.
To maintain vigilance for situations that could pose a safety or health hazard and recommend appropriate remedial action.
To advise the Head and Board of any situations which might have adverse safety or legal consequences for the School
To support the school and its leadership and set a tone and an example for what best-practices customer service and mission support.
To perform other duties as assigned by the Head of School.


Commitment to Mission and Core Values
The DFO should truly and enthusiastically believe in the School's Mission supporting the vision of the Head of School and the Board of Trustees. The DFO should be a resourceful, well-organized team player. The ability to work well under pressure and good interpersonal skills should be demonstrated. The ability to get along with diverse personalities, and understand different cultures represented in the school community is a necessary skill. All employees are strongly encouraged to work towards proficiency in both French and English languages and develop a familiarity and understanding of both cultures.

Commitment to DEI
An SDFAS senior leader should strive to develop and reinforce understanding and skill sets for all community members around diversity, equity and inclusion work and recognize it as a priority goal that falls directly within the School's mission to create and sustain culture "that prepares students to become confident, responsible and engaged global citizens" and one that flows directly from the School's five core values of open-mindedness, intellectual curiosity, integrity, empathy and resilience.

Cultural and interpersonal competencies
Demonstrated cross-cultural, inter-relational competencies; self-aware, deep interest people, and active listening competencies; and a commitment to building and sustaining a school culture centered around best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Knowledge about actionable research about implicit biases around race, ethnicity, gender identity, socioeconomic class (and so many other domains). Skill sets for designing learning environments and activities that take into account a person's (including the teacher's) implicit biases and how they can impact how others in the choices we make, language we use, curriculum content, how we implement it, and how we assess learning outcomes and our own competencies as educators.

Autonomous, proactive, self-starter who values clarity at all levels and possesses superior social-emotional and relationship building skills. Functions well in a paced and at times high pressure teaching and learning environment; adapts well to and assists others in adapting to and coping with uncertain and/or changing circumstances; possesses a sense of humor and regularly engages skill sets in self-care, stress-management and/or mindfulness.

Professional development
Intrinsic motivation and desire to further grow and develop as professional educators by seeking xever greater knowledge and deepened teaching and learning skill sets through workshops/seminars, reading/research, peer review, professional networking, piloting innovative projects, taking risks, and constantly practicing self-reflection and collaborating with colleagues.

Communication with parents
Collaborate and build trusting relationships with parents. Effective management of difficult conversations (favoring telephone or Zoom over email; modeling healthy communication; seeking and offering solutions, requesting assistance and input).

General remarks on process
In all activities enumerated above and otherwise involving expenditures or commitments to expend School funds, the DFO will take all reasonable steps to assure that the activities are conducted in an effective and efficient manner and that comparative costs are obtained and evaluated and that competitive bids are obtained where appropriate, so as to obtain the most favorable products, services and prices and to avoid any favoritism or the appearance thereof.


Exempt position. Competitive, commensurate with qualifications and experience (and with ranges established using a number of different industry benchmarks for a school of our profile, enrollment, size and set of job duties).


•Compelling mission and core values; dynamic and inspiring work environment
•Dedicated and supportive faculty, staff and administration
•Medical, dental and vision benefits (100% of premium covered)
•Annual 403B matching up to 5% of base salary after the second year of employment


Covid-19 vaccinations and boosters as required by the School together with agreement to adhere as a condition of employment to all of the school's Covid-19 risk mitigation policies and protocols (if offered the position)
Clean DOJ digital fingerprinting background check (if offered the position)
Proof of negative TB test (if offered the position)


To apply, please send an email to the attention of Mark Rosenblum, Head of School ( with a single PDF scan in attachment comprising:

Cover letter & Curriculum vitae
Personal statement about challenges of independent/international school financial sustainability in the Covid era - one page maximum
Professional references - two to three maximum
(At least one of them from a current or most recent direct supervisor please)

In its hiring practices, SDFAS is an equal opportunity employer
and hires employees without regard to gender, race, religion, color, creed, ethnic or national background, origin, or sexual orientation.

CAIS is an organization of approximately 200elementary, middle and secondary schools in California. The Association serves and strengthens its schools by:

  • setting standards of academic quality and ethical conduct
  • facilitating the professional growth of faculty, administrators, and trustees
  • promoting ethnic and socio-economic diversity
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