County BOE holds CSFO interviews May 30 at FHS auditorium

Published 2:47 pm Friday, May 31, 2024

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Escambia County Board of Education officials conducted interviews for the vacant chief schools financial officer position May 30 at Flomaton High School’s auditorium.

Two candidates – Carrie Moore and Avery Ford – were each asked a series of questions by BOE Attorney Broox Garrett, who served as the moderator.

At present, Moore serves as the clerk for the town of Flomaton, and Ford is the CSFO with the Conecuh County Board of Education.
Both were asked to describe an accomplishment/s they’re proud of; what they see the role is as CSFO; discuss their knowledge and use of technology and software needed as the CSFO; their strengths and weaknesses; explaining and implementing school system budgets; assisting and performing year-end closings; how the bid law works; how to handle a scenario in which a local booster club donates $100,000 with $60,000 of labor provided by school employees; what steps they’ll take to create a culture of high expectations from their department; and others.

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Both interviews lasted more than an hour each.

Some of the answers to the above questions included:

  • Describe an accomplishment they’re proud of.

Moore, a W.S. Neal graduate, said in Evergreen, the town put in a splash pad.

“I grew a lot as a person,” Moore said. “From start to finish, that splash pad was for the kids.”

Ford, a Brewton native, said his greatest accomplishment is a current project that’s ongoing within the CCBOE – a multimillion-dollar athletic facility for track and field and softball, among other athletic programs.

“We were able to get the project completed without touching local funds at all,” Ford said.

  • What do you see the role as CSFO is?

“It’s more than a job title,” Moore said. “It’s humongous. It’s an ever-evolving moving target that you’re trying to hit constantly.”

Ford said it’s more than just numbers.

“It’s telling the story behind the numbers,” he said. “It’s being able to communicate if we’re over or below budget, but being able to manage those funds, and try and meet the needs of the students.”

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Moore said her greatest strength is documentation.
“I document everything,” she said, adding that she utilizes a scanner to record documents. “I’m a firm believer in making sure everything is documented. One of my weaknesses is that I am one of the most organized-disorganized person you’ll meet.
“It never impedes my momentum of staying on top of things,” she said.

Ford said one of his strengths is critical analysis and seeking trends. He added that a weakness of his is at times, he tends to read too much into the numbers.

“I’m guilty of being stingy,” he quipped.
• Who are the system’s stakeholders?

Moore said the kids (students) are the stakeholders, but that’s not accurate.

“To me, the kids are your ultimate end game,” she said. “Every decision you make trickles down to them. The correct answer are the tax payers, they are the ones who hold the purse strings.”
Ford said education is a service industry.

“We are here to provide the best education for the students as possible,” he said. “We, as a financial department, can’t be the reason why they can’t get the things they need.”

  • Why should you be selected as CSFO?

Moore said she’s confident in her work, adding that’s something that she feels called to perform.

“I love to learn,” she said. “I want to absorb as much as I can. I truly believe this is something I know I can do. This is something I was built for.”

Ford said he’d be a good fit for the school system.

“I think I would be a good fit for Escambia County because I can bring some tools, and help accomplish goals for the system,” he said.

Both asked questions of the board, including one about board audits, goals and expectations as the CSFO.