MASBO Confers John F. Conway Distinguished Service Award
Reading, MA — At its 55th Annual Institute educational conference held virtually last week, the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials, Inc. (MASBO, a non-profit organization that provides professional development for public school financial officials), presented one of two of its organization’s John F. Conway Award Distinguished Service Awards to Gail Dowd, Chief Financial Officer in the Reading Public Schools The award recognizes the accomplishments of MASBO members relative to enhancing the effectiveness of a school district in addressing its educational mission. It was established in 2005 and comes with a $1000 contribution to the district in honor of the recipient.
Ms. Dowd played a lead role in a successful $4.15 million override ballot question that was supported by the taxpayers in 2018; the first successful override in Reading in over 15 years. As a result of sound leadership and persistent, tenacious dedication; the override ballot question was supported by over 60% of the voters. In addition, she introduced fiscally innovative and creative efforts include restructuring and reorganizing Central Office, improving procurement guidelines, and tightening up fiscal practices to eliminate unnecessary spending. During the last few years, the savings from Ms. Dowd’s efforts have been re-invested into other infrastructure projects and have provided much-needed funding to strengthen learning and teaching in the Reading School District, which included updated technology hardware and infrastructure, job-embedded professional development that allows for continuous improvement in curriculum and instruction, well-maintained facilities conducive to learning, and a self-supporting food service program.
Ms. Dowd has been part of a team that has developed a strong trusting relationship with town officials and the community. Under her leadership, the budget process has been extremely transparent and outlines how each dollar is spent and why the resources are needed; but Ms. Dowd’s contribution to the Reading Public Schools goes beyond her role as Chief Financial Officer. She is a critical part of the District Leadership Team and the Central Office Leadership Team and has played a key role in many teaching and learning initiatives, including curriculum framework implementation, technology integration, early childhood education, and extended day programs. One of her most impactful contributions to the school district has been during this past year of the pandemic. She has led and overseen the entire operations sector of our response to the pandemic, including as a member of the Town-wide Incident Command Team. Moreover, she is working closely with the Director of Nurses, Director of Student Services, and the Superintendent to implement a COVID-19 pool testing program for students and staff in our school district.
Ms. Dowd practices the highest moral and ethical values. She has earned a high level of trust with the community and with her colleagues. She is not afraid to give a critical analysis of a situation if it is in the best interest of students and the mission of the Reading Public Schools. Her long-term vision for continuous improvement, congenial personality, strong communication skills, exemplary analytical knowledge, and leadership skills are all key qualities that make her worthy of this recognition.
MASBO is grateful to KenMark Office Systems/Axion Business Technologies (A Visual Edge Technology Company), a MASBO Solution Provider, for their sponsorship of this award.