Shawn McCormack spent seven years as an accountant and operations consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and a private wealth management firm where he offered strategic counsel to businesses big and small. Meanwhile, his wife was a public school teacher who supplied her own paper for the school printer. The stark difference in resources between his profession and hers was too big to ignore.
Shawn was intrigued by the possibility of an education career but wasn’t sure where he fit. He volunteered to help a local principal with the school budget, and though the experience was eye-opening, it wasn’t the answer. “I still didn’t feel like there was a permanent place for me in education,” Shawn says.
When Shawn saw his friends taking operations and finance roles in New Orleans’ post-Katrina charter school movement, he realized what his impact could be. He entered the MBA program at University of Texas, Austin intent on entering education. The only hiccup? He lacked prior education experience. Enter Education Pioneers.
“Coming from outside the sector, I am not sure how you would know what positions would fit your skillset without a program like EP to introduce you,” Shawn says. “It’s not as easy as just applying online for jobs.”
- Finance & Budgeting
As a Fellow at Uplift Education, a charter management organization in Dallas, Shawn helped new campus operational leaders launch and run their schools more efficiently. He used his experience consulting on small business finance and operations to analyze Uplift’s operations, identify best practices, and implement standardized processes across the growing network.
Through his Fellowship, Shawn discovered that he was most interested in school finance roles. Via The Broad Residency, Shawn served as the Director of Finance at KIPP San Antonio, which serves 2,000 students across five schools. There, Shawn managed a $21 million budget and achieved his aspiration of becoming a Chief Financial Officer. Today, he is the Director of the Southwest Region for Building Hope, a national, non-profit, charter school facility financing organization. He hopes to stay in the Lone Star State where he views huge opportunities to make a difference for students. He credits Education Pioneers with helping him find his place to make an impact. “I’m where I am today because of EP,” he says.