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Laurie Olson, KPBSD Director of Finance, named ALASBO School Business Official of the Year!

 

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In a crowded ballroom in Anchorage, Alaska, KPBSD director of finance Laurie Olson sat at a table with her staff, and a room full of her peers from throughout the state. The Alaska Association of School Business Officials (ALASBO) annual conference was concluding, and Holly Holman, ALASBO President Elect, and Unalaska City School District business manager, was on stage to present an award. Laurie was listening intently, not realizing that it was she who Holman was talking about when Holman began by saying, "I am honored to make the presentation for the 2015 School Business Official of the Year Award. This award provides peer recognition for outstanding service, innovative plan design and implementation, and other exemplary business practices within school business management…"

 

A bit shocked, as she accepted the award, Laurie said, "I am honored to be selected and proud to be a part of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and ALASBO. I've learned so much personally and professionally through collaboration with my colleagues in both of these organizations."

"The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is very proud of Laurie Olson and I believe this is a well-deserved award from her peers," said Sean Dusek, superintendent. "Laurie is a consummate professional who ensures that our district is highly efficient and supports what is right for kids. Laurie truly loves our students and always focuses our district conversations on why we exist, which is the students and preparing them for their future. We are very fortunate to have Laurie Olson as a leader in our district and I believe she has always been one of the best business officials in this state!"

Holman spoke for several minutes to the crowded ballroom, "Before announcing this year's recipient, I will share with you some facts about this person, as well as quotes and accolades from the recipient's peers, co-workers, and management team. A former superintendent of this business official says: "I appreciate this person's willingness to dig deep when an accounting mystery presented itself. This person researched thoroughly to come up with the history and reasons behind why some things were in the budget a certain way. Rather than change things just because "it's the way we do it now," having the background allowed us to make an informed decision about how to address the situation in the future."

 

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The former superintendent went on to say, "I appreciate this person's mindset to work out glitches or mistakes in the best interests of the students and schools. Errors from others were considered teaching opportunities and this person was always prepared to talk and work things through." Lastly, the former superintendent said, "I appreciate this School Business Official's kindness and patience even when faced with endless questions. This individual's smile and warmth is such a positive influence in the School District office."

 

This School Business Official has been an ALASBO member for over 16 years, has served on the ALASBO board, as well as serving as secretary, vice-president, and president of ALASBO. Peers have described this person as very deserving of this award, and emphasized how this person exemplifies a School Business Official of the Year! This individual has served on ALASBO committees for many years, and has presented at the ALASBO conference numerous times. A peer recalled this business official filling in to present at the School Business Academy at the very last minute without hesitation when another presenter couldn't make it. 

Our esteemed Executive Director, Amy Lujan, said of this person's year as president, "this School Business Official demonstrated steadiness of character. It seemed like nothing could fluster her, and she was always willing to help, and to try a different solution if at first we didn't succeed. Her reliability, persistence and attention to detail make her a joy to work with! These qualities push her school district work to high levels of professionalism."

This School Business Official is a Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations (SFO). Her school district has received ASBO's Certificate Of Excellence in Financial Reporting and also ASBO's prestigious Meritorious Budget Award certificates for many years.

 

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A co-worker says: "This School Business Official has worked for our district for over 20 years. Her roles and responsibilities have grown tremendously over those years due to the intensity of her work ethic, and the quality of her work product. Give her something to do and you can depend on the fact that it will be done well, and on time! One of this person's strengths is the ability to explain to the instruction side of the house the need to comply with all the senseless requirements the accounting side of the house puts in place before they can spend their money. This has been a large contributing factor as to why our district annually receives clean audits! Another strength that this person has is the willingness to take on tough issues and address the elephant in the room when others want to shy away. She makes sure that problems are not allowed to grow, but are addressed and resolved when they are still fixable."

 

A former co-worker said: "She is an exceptionally thoughtful person. After assisting in an exceptionally long day ending in a contentious public budget hearing that ran late into the evening, her colleague was headed Outside on a red-eye flight having missed dinner. This School Business Official unexpectedly arrived at the airport with a Subway sandwich in hand for her colleague. She managed training for the first business office software upgrade in 25 years for 44 schools in 23 communities. As a result of her thoroughness, empathy and understanding of the end-user's needs, there was essentially no push-back on the perception of 'new work' expected of school secretaries."

Another former superintendent said of this individual: "I am thrilled to learn that this individual is Alaska's School Business Official of the Year. To those of you who do not know her, rest assured that she is most deserving of this award. She was the district's Director of Finance for the five and half years while I was the superintendent. During this time she regularly advised me that I was straying too far from her world of black and white and that perhaps I should not put such a positive or negative spin on my financial communication. I mention this to highlight her willingness and insistence on staying in the black and white of finance and to not be swayed by the political side of things, which often tells an incomplete story.

 

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She is the consummate finance director who quietly leads her department without having to do a lot of directing. Her skill level in managing the daily finances of the $150 million dollar budget is first rate as is her ability to, on short notice, incorporate the added duties of a grant that the superintendent just secured. The committee's selection of this individual for this award is spot on- congratulations to her!"

 

This business official's current superintendent says: "I am very excited that our SBO is being honored with this award! Our district is very proud of this individual and believes this is a well-deserved award from peers. This person is a consummate professional who ensures that our district is highly efficient and supports what is right for kids. We are lucky to have a business official who truly loves our students and always focuses our district conversations on why we exist, which is the students. This person's leadership has helped make our district outstanding in all areas, especially instruction because of tireless determination to support all of our classrooms across this diverse district. The bottom line for this School Business Official is individual student learning and preparing kids for their future. We are very fortunate to have this person as a leader in our district and believe she has always been one of the best business officials in this state!"

I am honored to present LAURIE OLSON as the ALASBO School Business Official of the Year for 2015!"

KPBSD is proud of the contribution our dedicated staff makes in our district, and throughout the state.

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