Grace Church School (GCS), a coeducational school located in downtown Manhattan, serves over 700 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12. For over a century, GCS has been enriching its students lives by weaving tenets of Episcopal tradition—social justice, community engagement, ethics, and personal integrity—into a rigorous, thoughtfully evolved curriculum. Families who join the GCS community do so because the school offers an outstanding academic experience alongside a unique climate of social diversity, acceptance, and understanding.
Grace’s youngest students take part in a full range of programs including music; art; computers; laboratory science; instruction in French, Spanish, and Latin; physical education; dance; and drama, in addition to the traditional curriculum. Older students have a wider choice of languages, athletics, and team sports, as well as opportunities for international exchange, in-depth independent study projects, and the option to delve deeply into their intellectual passions by taking courses at nearby NYU and Cooper Union.
GCS is a thriving, vibrant, caring place where committed teachers and eager students are absorbed in the exciting process of learning and growing. At this time, GCS seeks a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who respects the school’s mission and vision and understands the role school plays in a child’s character education and social conscience. Strong candidates will have a track record of success in managing both people and finances, as well as an appreciation for the unique challenges and assets work at a non-for-profit institution offers.
Grace Church School aims to establish in its students firmly rooted confidence in themselves and their abilities. Because we believe that school experience sets the foundation for lifelong intellectual and social growth, we strive to develop in each student mental keenness, physical confidence, pleasure in learning, and the skills basic to understanding one's self and the world. Our structured curriculum, enriched with broad opportunities for creative expression, assumes as fundamental the mastery of a specific range of academic skills, especially the ability to express one's own ideas and to appraise those of others.
Yet the educational goals of the school are broader than intellectual and social development. We nurture in our students a steady, affectionate trust in themselves and their world, made resilient by the interaction of different ethnic, religious, and socio-economic influences. We strive to help each student develop an active ethical consciousness, supported by close acquaintance with Judeo-Christian beliefs and enhanced by the beauty and faith inherent in Grace Church.
We encourage a mutually supportive relationship between family and school. We aim to have students graduate from Grace Church School with a strong sense of self, able to think clearly, function well academically, and embrace coming challenges with confidence.
School type: coeducational, independent, Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12
Student enrollment: 770
Students who receive financial aid: 29%
Student-faculty ratio: 5:1
Average class size: 16
Total faculty: 142
Faculty holding advanced degrees: 75%
Faculty gender breakdown: 60% female, 40% male
The school began in 1894 as New York City’s first choir boarding school with an enrollment of 16 boys. In the 1930s, the school opened its doors to neighborhood boys who were not choristers. And in 1947, Grace became coeducational, enrolling boys and girls representing various religious faiths, and becoming a member of the Guild of Independent Schools of New York City. The school began to expand its facilities in the 1970s to accommodate a growing student body, an expansion that has continued into the 21st century. In 2006, the school purchased the buildings that it occupies from Grace Church. In September 2012, Grace's High School Division opened its doors at 46 Cooper Square to the inaugural ninth grade class, graduating the first class of seniors in May 2016.
The School Today
Since its founding, Grace Church School has integrated ethical consciousness with academic excellence by addressing the moral, personal, and spiritual development of students alongside their intellectual growth.
GCS is an intentionally inclusive community where reverence for the dignity of each individual informs all aspects of school life. The Episcopal school tradition recognizes the unique, intrinsic worth of every person. In this spirit, GCS welcomes families of all faiths and no faith at all. Grace seeks out a rich diversity of students, families, faculty, and staff, and strives to instill in its students a deep respect for differences in race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and culture. In practice, the school’s Episcopal identity is expressed in four key areas of school life: equity, inclusion, and social justice; service learning; chapel and the school Chaplain; and religion and ethics.
Since 1972, Grace Church School has been governed by an independent Board of Trustees and has been a fully accredited member of the New York State Association of Independent Schools and the National Association of Independent Schools.
The Early Childhood experience fosters the foundation of ethics and goodness. GCS’s goal is to instill a joy of learning and an appreciation for the ideas and feelings of others. The classrooms offer a safe environment where friendships are strengthened, new learning opportunities are explored, and individual—as well as group—accomplishments are celebrated.
In Grades One through Four in Lower School, students begin to develop a true love of learning as they assume more responsibility and become engaged and independent thinkers. Grace offers a true elementary school with a traditional approach to academics. Cognizant of the many learning styles students bring to the classroom, lessons intertwine a variety of multi-sensory teaching approaches to foster thinking and learning in varied ways. Children are encouraged to take risks as they learn and move forward, reinforcing the value of mistakes to enrich the learning process.
In Middle School for Grades Five through Eight, students learn to assume greater responsibility and feel confident in the face of more complex academic and social experiences. The value of self-discipline and good study habits becomes increasingly clear as they are introduced to new areas of intellectual, artistic, and social challenge. Classes in Character Education and Service Learning in all Middle School grades enhance the development of students. Beginning in Grade 5, students change classes for each subject and assume the responsibility for following their individual programs.
High School students receive the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to live in the world they will inhabit. To that end, Grace’s curriculum emphasizes critical thinking; problem solving; oral and written expression; aesthetic appreciation; and physical, social, and emotional health, and explores human culture across history and geography, so that students both understand the world they live in and are prepared to make a difference in it. The program supports experiential, community-based, and multi-sensory approaches to teaching and learning that challenge students by drawing on what they know and build their competence and confidence. High School students at Grace Church School distinguish themselves as leaders and innovators, going on to leading colleges and universities.
Visual and studio art allow students to create original art as a means of self-expression. In Early Childhood, children develop visual awareness and perception by learning a variety of art making skills. In Lower School, students are taught basic art concepts and new vocabulary as they learn visual communication skills. Middle School students learn more advanced techniques, which demand more independent thought related to the conceptual and technical aspects of creating art. In High School, students further develop their aesthetic and cognitive abilities through regular exhibitions of student work, as well as visits to working artists' studios, museum and gallery visits, and workshops.
The music education program at Grace helps students to develop intellectual capacity through the enlargement of vocabulary, increase of memory span, logical thinking, imagination, clarity of speech, and recitation skills. Grace’s drama program goes beyond theatricals. Teachers use drama to fuel the curriculum, as a catalyst to mastering a subject and to prepare students for learning as they progress through the divisions. The formal drama curriculum not only trains students in the art of acting, but also delves into theater history and technical skills like set design, lighting, and costumes.
Skill development, sportsmanship, and teamwork form the core of the Grace Church School athletic program. Coaches work to develop abilities in each student-athlete through skill-building, team practices, and interscholastic competition; they also teach student athletes how to balance their sports and academic lives.
Students compete on interscholastic competitive teams beginning in the fifth grade. Team sports include soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, and softball. Individual sports include squash, fencing, tennis, swimming, track and field, and cross country. In the High School Division, there are full Varsity and Junior Varsity programs. Grace Church School is a member of both the ACIS (Athletic Conference of Independent Schools) and the PSAA (Private School Athletic Association).
Grace occupies two separate physical campuses: one at 86 Fourth Avenue (Junior Kindergarten-Grade 8) and another at 46 Cooper Square (High School Division). Combined, these two campuses offer all of the resources students and faculty need to realize the school’s mission and prepare graduates for life beyond GCS. There are seven science labs (with dedicated labs for biology, chemistry, physics, and research) in addition to two computer labs, as well as a Design Lab for Robotics, 3D Printing, and Technology. All classrooms are equipped to leverage smartboard and tablet technology.
The Stokes Library (86 Fourth Avenue) is home to books, periodicals, and subscribed online resources and is an invaluable resource to students and faculty across disciplines. The same goes for the Library and Information Center (46 Cooper Square), which houses books, periodicals, and essential e-resources and databases.
GCS has 10 art studios for 2D and 3D visual and digital arts, plus a wood shop, and performance spaces and practice rooms for dance, music, and drama. Grace has two outdoor playgrounds where students can hone gross motor skills. GCS just added a new 12,000 square foot gymnasium, fitness room, and golf simulator at the Cooper Square campus, which is a fantastic complement to its 10,000 square foot athletic center that contains a climbing wall and batting cage, as well as full size regulation basketball court and volleyball court. Grace further ensures its students learn how to care for themselves and their environment with its Rooftop Greenhouse, a laboratory for students to explore how plants and food are grown in an urban environment, and Teaching Kitchen.
New York, New York
New York City, with an estimated population over 8.5 million, is the most populous city in the United States and boasts a land area of approximately 300 square miles. Situated on a massive natural harbor, New York City today consists of five boroughs, each of which is a separate county of the State of New York. At its core, New York City is an international city; it was once the primary gateway for immigration into the United States and current estimates suggest that hundreds of languages are spoken in New York, making it one of the most linguistically diverse cities in the world.
Any resident or visitor will attest that the attractions offered by New York City are, quite literally, unparalleled. The City offers stunning views from the Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building, and One World Observatory. For those who prefer to keep sightseeing at ground-level, the City has an ever-changing rotation of shows and a breathtaking range of permanent exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Museum, and New York Hall of Science (the list goes on!), as well as at countless small-scale galleries. Additionally, adults and children alike can enjoy thrilling performances on Broadway, and at the Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Barclays Center, among other venues.
The sporty crowd appreciates that New York’s professional sports scene includes nearly every type of game imaginable. It’s never a dull moment for New York sports; NYC is the place where the famous “Shot Heard ’Round the World” and Willis Reed’s limping out onto the court in the NBA Finals were etched into history, and where the world’s best athletes compete in marquee annual events like the U.S. Open Tennis Championships and the New York City Marathon.
Hungry after all of that touring? Culinary choices in New York City are limitless. Want a 15-course tasting menu at a trendsetting restaurant? A porterhouse for two at an old-timey steakhouse? A plateful of Chinese dumplings? The City has thousands of places to dine featuring cuisines from around the world.
All of this is just the beginning of what New York City has to offer. So, it’s quite safe to say that New York City has always been—and remains—unlike any other place in the world.
Opportunities and Challenges
The new CFO will report to Head of School George Davison, now completing his 25th year leading the School, and serve on the School’s senior administrative team. S/he will be a key partner with the Head of School and Board members and direct all financial functions at Grace Church School. Towards that end, the successful candidate will be a strategic and critical business thinker who can breed immediate trust and confidence among his or her staff, colleagues, Board members, and current parents.
The CFO will oversee the work of the Controller, the Assistant Controller, the Human Resources Manager, the Accounts Receivable Manager, and the Accounts Payable Manager. S/he will also oversee food service. Additionally, s/he will work closely with the Facilities managers and the Development and Admission offices.
The current CFO, Frank Kamenar, is retiring after 16 years at Grace Church School. His staff, however, is relatively new to the School, and molding that group into a cohesive team that is responsive to the faculty and students in a timely and efficient way will be a top priority. To achieve that aim, a review of existing processes and systems, including better technological integration among the various offices at School, will be essential.
To create the new High School campus, the School took on substantial debt whose service is being funded through operations and fundraising. As the High School continues to evolve, the School’s financial goal is to fund the debt strictly through operations. The Board is a hands-on Board (in a good way) when it comes to financial data and planning and likes to entertain a variety of multi-year financial models to enhance strategic thinking. Thus, the CFO should be a curious, proactive critical thinker who embraces performance metrics and devises constructs that measure excellence in a number of arenas.
In addition to embracing the mission of the School, supporting its Head and leadership, and representing the School at professional and public forums, the new CFO has a number of primary responsibilities:
Oversee the development, administration, and reporting of the operating (@ $37 million for 2019-20) and long-term budget to the School’s Board of Trustees; Finance, Audit, and Investment committees; auditors; federal, state, and local authorities; lenders; donors; and various School administrative offices.
Oversee the administration of the School’s endowment (@ $38 million as of 3/19); execute endowment and investment policy; implement investment decisions of the Investment Committee; and coordinate with the endowment consultants, investment managers, and custodians, ensuring effective endowment allocations, performance, and reporting.
Building and/or maintaining the School’s short- and long-term strategic financial models.
Working with consultants and outside lenders in obtaining and managing commercial funding; monitoring compliance with loan covenants and ratios (current long-term debt is @ $46 million).
Serve as chief staff liaison to the Finance, Investment, and Audit committees of the Board of Trustees, working closely with Committee chairs and organizing agendas and meeting materials.
Collaborate with the School’s counsel and insurance agents regarding all legal and risk management matters.
Ensure that the School is in compliance with all local, state, and federal reporting requirements.
Publically represent the School in a positive and proactive way, collaborating with other School administrators, neighbors, and New York City officials.
Work with the Human Resources Manager to ensure sound and consistent employment policies, adequate staffing levels, compensation, and appropriate benefits programs.
Help implement and administer all employee benefit programs including health insurance, retirement, worker’s compensation, life insurance, and other related plans.
Collaborate with the Head of School and other senior administrators on providing leadership regarding employee hiring, termination, compensation, and management.
Oversee the annual financial and 403b plan audits and filings of tax returns.
Serve as a member of the Financial Aid Committee.
Provide transparent financial reporting and planning that builds trust among administrators, faculty and staff, students and alumni, parents, and trustees.
Desired Experience and Characteristics
Bachelor’s degree required; MBA and or CPA preferred.
10-plus years of financial and business leadership.
Experience on senior administrative teams and working with non-profit boards.
Experience working in an educational setting or another non-profit organization preferred.
Experience in human resource management, employee benefits (including pension plans), and payroll procedures.
Child-oriented and committed to education.
Ability to understand and embrace the mission of the School.
Strategic thinker who sees the larger picture.
Ability to balance and prioritize the needs of the School.
Ability to manage and mentor staff.
A good listener.
A strong, team player.
Empathetic, open, and warm.
Fair, but demanding; a willingness to say “no.”
Versatile and flexible.
Confident voice in the room.
Superb people skills.
Committed to diversity and inclusion practices.
Excellent communications skills.
Compensation package will be highly competitive and commensurate with experience.
Submit electronically and as separate documents the following materials:
Cover letter expressing interest in the CFO position;
List of five references with name, phone number, and email address of each to: