At Allovue, we’re always working to expand and improve not just our products, but our human resources to make sure we’re meeting and exceeding district needs and expectations.
Tell us a little about yourself and what made you realize you wanted to have an impact on public education.
Thanks, I’m thrilled to be here. My journey to Allovue has undoubtedly been an exciting one. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I saw inequities in education firsthand, but I did not understand why it was happening or the eventual impact that it could have on a person’s life. It wasn’t until I got to college and started to engage with some of the research on the achievement gap that I realized that this was a national problem with no easy answers. I knew then that I wanted to make an impact, but at that point, I had no idea that I’d end up working in education finance and school operations.
So how did you get involved in finance?
After spending a few years in the corporate world and a short stint in the finance department at Harvard University, I came across a fellowship with Education Pioneers, who placed me with a strategy consulting firm that helps school districts better understand their use of people, time and money. With this company, I spent a year assisting districts around the country on financial analysis and decided that I liked education finance. So, I went back to school to study public finance and budgeting and eventually earned my Masters in Public Administration at the University of Georgia.
Wow, that must have been quite the shift. What experiences did you have during your grad program that influenced your future work?
While in grad school, I worked for two years with Atlanta Public Schools in Georgia, helping their finance department with budget preparation and analysis. I also spent a summer working with Dr. Marguerite Roza in her Edunomics Lab, analyzing and reporting on district implementations of student-based budgeting systems across the country.
After graduate school, the Broad Residency accepted me into their program and matched me to a charter school in Memphis, TN. There, I was responsible for all financial and operational aspects of a regional expansion plan. That experience prepared me for my next role in Cleveland, OH where I served as a Model Operations Leader. Instead this time, I didn’t have to build a school from the ground up. This charter school already had four schools in operation, serving over 1,500 students. During my two and half year stint, I worked to open two additional schools, and we grew to serve close to 2,000 students.
People often struggle to tie dollars to students. Can you tell me about a time in which you saw impact (positive or negative) of finances on students?
Unfortunately, over the years, I’ve seen many examples of districts making financial decisions that have negative consequences for students, but I like to think positive, so I will choose a good one! One principal who comes to mind, worked hard to find savings in her budget so that she could hire additional staff resources that focused on the social and emotional well-being of the students at the school. Empowering principals to actively manage large portions of their school budgets truly allows them to work in the best interest of their students.
It seems like you found your niche within education finance. Did you always know that you would end up in this field?
Not at all. I started undergrad as a chemistry major for two years. I was obsessed with the television show “CSI” and wanted to be a forensic scientist. Unfortunately, the actual field wasn’t as provocative as the show made it seem, and I was miserable! So, I spent the next semester exploring my options.
I took a sociology class that I felt connected how and where I grew up to who I was becoming as an adult. However, it wasn’t until I took a sociology of education class that I finally found my “calling”, so I double majored and graduated with a B.A. in Sociology and Education Policy from Trinity College.
What has been your proudest accomplishment thus far within your career?
In New Jersey, I worked as a consultant on a project team to help the school district better understand and manage their finances. My team dissected everything, from their spending habits to their personnel decisions and provided guidance on what to do and most importantly, what not to do. With the guidance and advice of my project team, the district agreed to implement student-based budgeting and was able to allocate resources much more equitably than before, to the benefits of the students who needed it the most.
What excites you most about the work you do with Allovue?
I’m most excited about the potential to impact lots of districts and even more students. As much as I enjoyed working with charter schools, the impact of your reach is limited to the students within the school. Being able to identify and evangelize best practices and implement them at a district level allows us to reach and positively affect more students.
I’m also excited to work with a mission-driven team, who has spent considerable time and resources creating a product that produces tangible value and efficiency for districts.
It seems your career has also made you well-traveled. Of all the cities you’ve lived in, which one is your favorite?
Memphis. The barbecue and the culture are second to none.
Any hidden talents you’d like to reveal?
I was a star rugby player while at Trinity College.
If you were to tell one person “Thank You” for helping you become the person you are today, who would it be and what did they do?
That’s easy, my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Herdsman. She believed in me and pushed me, no matter what. She went above and beyond to help me recognize my potential, and since then, I’ve been on a different path. I know my life would have had a very different outcome without her encouragement and support.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allovue works with districts and state departments of education across the country to allocate, budget, and manage spending. Allovue's software suite integrates seamlessly with existing accounting systems to make sure every dollar works for every student. Allovue also provides additional services such as chart of accounts and funding formula revisions.