School Business Affairs December 2019

44 DECEMBER 2019 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS J ennifer Bailey entered the work- force as an auditor for the federal government but began looking for a change in lifestyle when her son was a toddler. She accepted an assistant business administrator position with a local charter school and after a few years she moved to a charter school manage- ment company, where she learned she pre- ferred to be more closely connected to the impact her work could have on students. In 2016, Bailey joined the Environment Community Opportunity (ECO) Charter School as school busi- ness administrator. Founded in 2005, ECO enrolls 275 students in grades K–8. Located in Camden, New Jer- sey, ECO faces high competition to attract students. Bailey says the area also struggles with a shortage of teachers. When Bailey joined ECO, she was encouraged to join ASBO International by her predecessor. “When I realized how much support was available, I felt like I’d been missing out for years,” she says. “I really enjoy reading the threads on the Global School Business Network, seeing there are people 10 states away with the same questions. It is really helpful to have that ‘big brain’ database to glean knowledge from other people.” Bailey says she strives to be approachable, particu- larly when communicating about payroll and benefits. “For some reason it seems taboo to talk about pay. I try to be transparent and open without overstepping bounds. I always encourage people to ask questions.” Bailey attributes much of her leadership style to that of a previous boss, whose straightforward and sup- portive approach placed a lot of trust in employees to do their jobs. “Of course, you might make a mistake, or not know something, or need to take care of some- thing at home, but just talk about it. As long as I know what’s going on, we don’t have a problem.” Bailey advises school business peers to make use of the tools and assistance that service providers offer. “This may be specific to smaller offices where you are the person responsible for everything, but try to out- source the things that aren’t critical for you to do. It can save so much time.” When away from school, Bailey is often cheering on her two sons in baseball, football, basketball, or wres- tling, though she can always find time for a good book, particularly if it is science fiction. Spotlight on Jennifer Bailey, MBA EAGLE INSTITUTE Québec City, Canada JULY 14–17, 2020 PROUD SPONSOR REGISTRATION OPENS JANUARY 6 Act Fast! Spaces are limited.