Professional Learning

CBO Mentor Program

The FCMAT Chief Business Officials (CBO) Mentor Program is designed to help meet the need for qualified and well-trained California local educational agency (LEA) CBOs. This year-long program provides classroom training that takes place over 12 two-day sessions (Friday and Saturday). Each participant will be assigned a mentor who is a qualified and experienced CBO, or recognized expert in their field, and who is available to support and assist their participant as needed throughout the year.

Program Overview

The FCMAT CBO Mentor Program is unique because of the following four major components:

  • Each participant is teamed with a mentor.
  • Participants are nominated and selection is competitive.
  • Training involves hands-on experience.
  • There is no tuition cost to participate; participant and/or LEA must cover travel expenses (FCMAT underwrites the program costs of this professional learning activity).

The program focuses on developing strong, effective leadership skills. Participants will improve their understanding of fundamental issues that drive school business policies in each major functional area, including school finance, accounting, budgeting, human resources, facilities, maintenance and operations, contracts and procurement, risk management, charter schools, and others. The curriculum is updated annually to reflect the current functions and responsibilities required of an LEA CBO, and the program meets the California Association of School Business Officials' (CASBO's) CBO exam eligibility requirements.

Do you work in or aspire to work in a local educational agency (LEA) with fewer than 5,000 students? 

Click here for information on the Small LEA CBO Mentor Program.

What Makes This Program Different?

  • Participants are nominated and screened based on identified criteria.
  • Each participant is assigned a mentor who is committed to the success of the participant.
  • Mentors must meet designated criteria and be approved.
  • Classes are fast-paced and designed for interactive work. 
  • The mentor provides feedback to the participant throughout the program.

Are You Interested in Becoming a Participant?

Participants are selected based on a variety of factors. The selection committee considers the viability of the application and the strength of the nomination and seeks a balance of candidates from all regions of California. Another program goal is to have a balance of individuals from school districts, county offices and charter schools, with various backgrounds. Space in the program is limited. If not selected, candidates may reapply the following year and are encouraged to do so. A large number of qualified candidates compete for a limited number of slots each year.

Participant Qualifications

A successful candidate for the FCMAT CBO Mentor Program should currently have or show potential in the following areas:

  • School finance.
  • Computer and spreadsheet software literacy.
  • Sensitivity to confidential issues.
  • Logical thinking skills.
  • Analytical abilities.
  • Facilitation skills.
  • Leadership.
  • Ability to communicate well with others in both writing and speech.
  • Interested in becoming a fully qualified CBO.

Mentor Qualifications

Individuals qualify to become a mentor if they meet the following criteria and apply annually for consideration:

  • Passionate about helping others.
  • Demonstrated success developing personnel.
  • Directly involved in school business support.
  • Practitioner experience as a CBO (10 years of experience preferred).
  • Hands-on technical experience in all facets of school business operations.
  • Hold a degree in a business-related field, CBO certification, or demonstrated workplace experience.
  • Commitment for a minimum of six hours per month of one-on-one mentoring with participant.
  • Be a great communicator, with the ability to:
    • Be a patient, active listener who is willing to answer questions, provide feedback and help participants find solutions.
    • Articulate advice and experiences in a way that is easy to understand.
    • Ask questions that encourage personal growth.
    • Create a safe environment where participants can feel comfortable receiving criticism without feeling discouraged or judged.

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