Professional Learning

CBO Mentor Program

The FCMAT Chief Business Official (CBO) Mentor Program is a one-year program designed to produce qualified district CBOs. This year-long program provides classroom training that takes place in 10 two-day sessions (Friday and Saturday). Each participant will be assigned a mentor who is an experienced CBO or recognized expert in their field and is available to support and assist the participant as needed throughout the year.

The FCMAT CBO Mentor Program is a joint endeavor of several partners: the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO); the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA): Business and Administration Steering Committee (BASC); and School Services of California, Inc. (SSC). FCMAT underwrites the program, which is free to participants.



Program Overview

Objective of Program

  • Provide an innovative training experience to CBO candidates with high potential.

Desired Outcomes for Participants

  • Understanding of fundamental issues that drive school business policies in each major functional area: school finance; accounting and budgeting; facilities development; maintenance, operations and transportation; contracts and procurement; risk management; food service; charter schools; and others.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and application of school business principles and processes in district operations.
  • Demonstrated leadership and communication skills.

Curriculum Emphasis

  • Work-study and applied learning by project assignments supported by an assigned mentor.

Curriculum Delivery

  • Monthly instruction and project review by practicing professionals.

Participant Qualifications

  • Participants must be nominated, and nominees must be approved by a selection committee.

Course Completion Requirements

  • Nomination, selection and attendance at 10 sessions.
  • Completion of monthly assignments reflecting strategic and technical competencies in the functional areas of school business.
  • Positive evaluations from assigned mentor and program coordinator.

What Makes This Program Different?

  • Participants are nominated and screened based upon 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. Participants will be required to complete individual assignments, group projects and presentations for the class.
  •  The mentor will do a pre and post assessment of the participant to determine strengths and identified areas of growth and will provide feedback to the participant throughout the program.

Steering Committee

The steering committee for the CBO Mentor Program is:

  • Michael Fine, FCMAT Chief Executive Officer
  • Shayleen Harte, FCMAT Deputy Executive Officer
  • Francie Heim, Lead Instructor
  • Bill McGuire, Lead Instructor
  • Richard De Nava, Mentor Coordinator

Participant Qualifications

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

  • Involved in some facet of school business (desirable, not required)
  • School finance
  • Computer literacy, spreadsheet software
  • Sensitivity to confidential issues
  • Logical thinking skills 
  • Analytical abilities
  • Facilitation skills
  • Leadership
  • People skills, ability to communicate well with others
  • Career objective to become a fully qualified CBO
  • Written and oral communication skills

Participants are selected based on a variety of factors. The selection committee looks at the strength of both the application and 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 districts, and that private industry, county offices and charter schools are represented. Many candidates come from the business side of schools, but the program also seeks representation from facilities, food services, instruction, operations and technology. 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

  • Currently holds position of chief business official or actively involved as a retired CBO
  • Extensive experience as a CBO (10 years or more of experience preferred)
  • Hands-on experience in all facets of school business operations
  • Holds a degree in business-related field, CBO certification, or demonstrated workplace experience
  • Has demonstrated skill in developing business personnel
  • Can commit to a minimum 8-10 hours a month of one-on-one mentoring with candidate
  • Able to provide work study supervision to candidate in accordance with curriculum guidelines

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