Smith receives ,Outstanding School Business Official Award
Woodford County Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Amy Smith has received this year’s Goldenrod Outstanding School Business Official Award. The recognition came as a surprise to Smith, who called it “an honor to receive this” award from her peers.
“She’s very, very well-respected across the state,” said David Stokes, chief finance officer of McLean County schools and chair of the committee that reviews nominees for the award from the Kentucky Association of School Business Officials (KASBO).
Smith said her husband, Shane, and their 10-year-old son Hayden, “tricked me” into believing they wanted to attend the Woodford County Board of Education meeting Oct. 22 because Hayden had never been inside Simmons Elementary. So they were sitting in the school’s gym bleachers with Smith when Stokes appeared and then presented the award to her.
The KASBO award recognizes Smith for her leadership and innovation in school business management. She will also be recognized for her exemplary work during the KASBO and Southeastern Association of School Business Officials conferences.
Also a $1,000 scholarship (funded by KASBO) will be awarded by Smith to a deserving Woodford County student.
“We’re certainly very, very proud of you, and glad that you are a part of our team,” schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins told Smith after she accepted her award.
Smith has been handling finances for Woodford County Public Schools since July 2012. Prior to coming here, the Laurel County High School graduate spent a little over 15 years as director of accounting for Laurel County schools.
“I loved the debits and credits of accounting,” said Smith, explaining why she chose to pursue a career in school finances after she became a certified public accountant.
Working for the Kentucky Department of Education to help implement a new accounting system that school finance officers use became an opportunity to do what she loved.
One of the challenges of being a school district’s finance officer, according to Smith, is being able to find avenues for funding programs and projects. Sometimes, she said that involves a school and district splitting the cost.
“So there’s a lot of ways to try to work through things,” said Smith. “And I’ve always said, ‘A lot of times financial officers are not the most popular people because we’re the ones that have to say, ‘No.’ … And sometimes, I do have to say, ‘No,’ but I try to work through that and …
I either find a way to see if we can make that happen or … my hope is that I’ve made sure that the principal understands why we can’t.”
Smith said she loves working in Woodford County schools and appreciates what’s going on here because “the number one focus is how to make sure we meet the needs of our students … It is always about the kids, always.”
Being a mom to one of those kids – her son is a student at Huntertown Elementary School – adds to her appreciation, she said.