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:

  • Participants are nominated and selection is competitive.
  • Each participant is teamed with a mentor.
  • Training involves hands-on experience.
  • Tuition is free to participants. FCMAT underwrites this professional learning activity.

Desired Outcomes for Participants:

  • Understanding of fundamental issues that drive school business policies in each major functional area: school finance; accounting and budgeting; facilities and construction; special education; contracts and procurement; risk management; child nutrition; charter schools; and others.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and application of school business principles and processes in district operations.
  • Demonstrated leadership and communication skills.

The goal of the FCMAT CBO Mentor Program is to help California LEAs fill CBO vacancies with qualified CBOs. FCMAT works with the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO) to link this training program to the CASBO CBO certification program so that graduates are eligible for CBO certification if they successfully pass CASBO’s CBO examination and after evaluation and approval by their mentor and the CASBO CBO certification program evaluator.

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.

Steering Committee

The steering committee for the CBO Mentor Program is:

  Michael Fine, FCMAT Chief Executive Officer

  Michelle Giacomini, FCMAT Deputy Executive Officer

  John Von Flue, FCMAT Chief Analyst 

  Carolynne Beno, Ed.D., CFE, FCMAT Intervention Specialist

  Andrea Dodson, FCMAT Intervention Specialist 

Participant Qualifications

A successful candidate for the 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
  • Interested in becoming a fully qualified CBO
  • Written and oral communication skills

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 northern, southern, and central California. It is also a program goal to have a balance of small and large LEAs, county offices and charter schools. If a candidate is not selected, it does not necessarily mean that they are not a viable candidate. Candidates may reapply in the following year and are encouraged to do so. A large number of qualified candidates compete for a limited number of slots each year.

Mentor Qualifications

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

  • Directly involved in school business support.
  • Practitioner experience as a CBO (10 years or more of experience preferred).
  • Hands-on technical experience in all facets of school business operations.
  • Holds a degree in a business-related field, CBO certification, or demonstrated workplace experience.
  • Demonstrated performance developing business personnel.
  • Commitment for minimum of 6-8 hours per month of one-on-one mentoring with participant.
  • Able to provide work study supervision to participant in accordance with curriculum guidelines.


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