Taylor goes above and beyond business as usual
July 27, 2020
A successful district wouldn’t be possible without the people running everything outside of the classroom: transportation, nutrition, personnel, maintenance — and, behind it all, business. Chief Business Officer at Kingsburg Elementary Charter School District Nick Taylor understands that business and finance must be wholly and effectively integrated with every part of schools, from the lessons taught in the classrooms to the infrastructure supporting them.  Taylor’s professional mission for the district is to “keep the family together and the students learning.” Through his leadership, teams such as the grounds crew, maintenance department and food service departments understand that they play an important role in student learning.  In just four years as CBO at Kingsburg, Taylor has led a successful $10 million bond campaign and worked on such improvements as a one-to-one laptop program throughout the district, new technology infrastructure, and grants for electrical cars and solar power plants. He introduced Project Surf Camp to the Special Education department, a charity designed to build self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy in students with special needs. “Dr. Taylor handles new pressures facing schools today, and has brought both new and expanded resources and responsibilities to improve the district,” wrote Kingsburg JUSD Superintendent Wes Sever. “His constant desire to make schools and departments great places where students learn and staff are active participants in the district initiatives has earned the appreciation of all who are connected to him.” What’s your favorite book on leadership? I found “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor to be transformational. It reverses the mindset that many people have: that happiness follows success. When actually, the happier people are in their professional journey, success seems to find them.  What’s your favorite leadership quote? Relating to success, Charles Barkley offers a couple of gems: “You’re not always going to be successful, but if you’re afraid to fail, you don’t deserve to be successful” and lastly, “My message is simple: Take control of your life.” What are some of your favorite apps? I try to stay off my phone as much as possible when working so I can be present in the moment — so I deleted all game apps and silence my emails. After work, I like to read and enjoy checking out books on a library app called Libby. What’s your best strategy for work/life balance? I find that having fun things to do after work motivates me to complete my assignments as quickly as possible so I can get to the fun stuff. I seldom take work home. Being able to mentally disconnect from work tasks allows me to enjoy my other roles: husband, father, son, friend, cousin. What are the top five life hacks that you would recommend for a new administrator? 1. Make your lunch in the morning, then (this is really important) eat it at lunchtime. Skipping lunch or eating whatever junk you can find on an impulse saps your energy in the afternoon.  2. Get to know the students. Recognizing a student by name, at the supermarket with their parent, impresses the heck out of everybody. 3. Cultivate shared experiences with the adults. Play in the staff vs. students volleyball match, host a barbecue and corn hole tournament for maintenance, grounds, and custodial staff.  4. Share your stories. People like to connect with administrators who are not always “all about the work.” 5. Award tokens of gratitude for going above and beyond the call of duty. I have an assortment of Super Hero pins to present to staff for heroic deeds. For example, the bus driver and teacher who thwarted a hijack attempt: Wonder Woman pins. Custodian who helped a choking student in the cafeteria: Super Man pin. Maintenance worker who trapped and relocated four opossums from a classroom: Spider-Man pin. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome to get where you are? I’m not very tall. What are you most proud of accomplishing? Our town of Kingsburg was founded by Swedish farmers and still maintains its Swedish themes in the city’s architecture. The high school mascot is the Viking. As the CBO of our school district, I was able to help the Bond Committee choose designs for our preschool expansion. So when we had an opportunity to build a preschool in the middle of town, what better way to celebrate the city’s culture than to have Viking ship playground structures? Who is someone who inspires you? My father-in-law has had careers as a painter, soldier, architect, home builder, plumbing engineer, and Irish pub owner. It is like he has lived multiple lives. I hope to keep cultivating new interests, keep learning, and have the courage to keep trying new things. How has ACSA supported you in your career/current position? The transition from a site principal to a CBO was very challenging. I would not have been able to survive without the training I received from the ACSA CBO Academy I attended in SLOCOE with County Superintendent of Business Dr. Sheldon Smith. What has the impact of the COVID -19 worldwide health crisis taught you? Our administration and instructional staff transitioned into distance learning within a week of our school district closure. They learned how to Zoom, prepared and distributed packets, and made calls and home visits to students who were not connecting. As we transitioned out of sheltering in place, our custodial, maintenance and grounds teams kept our facilities from looking as if the banks were about to foreclose on us. The district office staff kept the purchase orders rolling for much-needed supplies and HR never missed a payroll deadline. But the group that I think deserves special recognition is food services. The planning, preparing, and orchestrating of the drive-through meal deliveries was inspiring. 
Chief Business Officer of Kingsburg Elementary Charter School District Nick Taylor introduced the Special Education department to Project Surf Camp, a charity designed to build self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy in students with special needs.
Name: Nick Taylor Award: Business Services Administrator of the Year  Title: Chief Business Officer, Kingsburg Elementary Charter School District ACSA highlights: member since 2015; treasurer, Region 9.
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