Emily Hatfield, Treasurer/CFO, Olentangy Local Schools

By Emily Hatfield posted 07-20-2021 04:10 PM


Years in the school business profession:
12 years, all of which have been with Olentangy Local. I started as a payroll accountant and worked my way into the treasurer position.

How did you first learn about and then become involved in the school business profession? I was looking for a way to go back to work as my kids got old enough to be in school. At the time, Olentangy Local had a job posting and I thought, oh, this is great, I can use my financial skills and have a similar work schedule to my kids and be close to home while working. And the rest is history.

What is your proudest career accomplishment? I would say earning our Auditor of State Award with Distinction for nine consecutive years is my proudest accomplishment. That is really a challenge because, as our district continues to grow, our finance office staff has not grown since I was hired in 2009. So, with a department of 11, we are operating a $400 million budget and still meeting our audit standards. I think that is fantastic and I'm proud that our staff is invested in working to make sure we are fiscally responsible and transparent for our community.

What do you feel is the most important part of your job?

I think one of the most important parts of my job is making sure that we can educate the community on not just what we do as a department, but really talking about how schools are funded. Continuing to talk about levies: what is a levy, why is it important? And explaining and supporting the return on investment. Your community is paying tax dollars, with schools primarily funded through local revenue, so we really must be able to speak to the return on investment for those tax dollars. What are your students getting? What is the quality of education they are receiving? What is great about our community and where we live? So, the regular functions of our jobs are important, but then being able to articulate it and share that with our community is the most important part.

What is one thing you feel makes your district unique in the state? Growth. I don't know too many districts that have a historical growth pattern of 500-600 students a year over the past decade. Before that, we were growing at a thousand students or more year over year. That perpetual growth means there's constant construction and things are always moving. It's an ongoing process, so it's perpetual change.

What is at the top of your professional bucket list? I think at some point I would like to teach what I have learned within the profession. Being able to give back, I think, is a huge component of what we can do to grow the profession and help support school districts is by bringing forward new, up and coming professionals.

What is at the top of your personal bucket list? Short term it is watching my kids go through school and having my name on their diploma.

I think that's really cool, and I'm pretty excited about that. Long-term, I just want to travel. I want to be able to see the parts of the world that I've never been to before and experience their cultures.

Favorite Food? Chocolate

What would be on the gag reel of your life? I'm very clumsy. So, the gag reel would probably be me tripping over my own two feet, over the sidewalk crack, or all those kinds of goofy things that I do.

Which fictional character would you most like to meet in real life? I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I have been for a long time, and I think it would be really fun to meet Dumbledore and get to be in the Hogwarts castle to take a look around and see what that Wizarding world education is like.

How many years as an OASBO member? 11 or 12 years. Almost since the beginning of my professional career with Olentangy.

How and/or why did you first get involved in OASBO? My boss at the time, Rebecca Jenkins, was the outgoing President on the OASBO Board, and within two weeks of being hired, we were at the Annual Conference. It was just a great experience. It was wonderful to have an opportunity to talk to people who are in my field and understand what's going on and how we impact students in their education.

What has been the best part of being involved in OASBO? My best OASBO experience so far was participating in the Leadership Institute. That was a great experience to really hone skills. I am new to the school leadership role in an organization as big as Olentangy Local. So that leadership training was great, and it gave me opportunities to talk to other colleagues, and work on continuing to grow in my role and be more effective at Olentangy.