New Director of Finance and Operations

Gary Kawlewski, Director of Finance and Operations
Monday Apr 26, 10
Becker's Gary Kawlewski to Replace Chuck Klaassen July 1, 2010

Out of a list of impressive candidates, Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose Schools (BHM) chose a 23-year veteran in school finances to take over the position as the district's director of finance and operations. Gary Kawlewski, who is currently serving as the director of business services in the Becker Public Schools, will replace current BHM director of finance and operations Chuck Klaassen on July 1. Klaassen will retire from the district on June 30 after having served the business office for three years and as the director of community education for 19 years. A feature article will appear in the May Insider that will highlight Klaassen's career.

Kawlewski is a 1987 graduate from St. Cloud State University (SCSU) with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. He later went on to complete his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from SCSU in 2005. He landed in school finances from the start. In 2005, after earning his MBA, Kawlewski went to work on the other side of school finances as a financial advisor for the auditing firm of Ehlers and Associates.

"It was a great opportunity to work for Ehlers," explains Kawlewski. "It provided me with a wealth of information because we really got into the details of finance. We were problem-solving, providing multi-year projections, working with bond and levy referendums, lease purchases and more. Ehlers works with about half of the districts in the state and we got a chance to see how other districts handle their finances. The experience made me well-rounded so that I can now offer a complete package in school finances."

District administration and interview committees were impressed with Kawlewski's qualifications and qualities that he will bring to the director of finance and operations position. Kawlewski has worked in other business manager positions in school districts such as Eden Valley-Watkins, Frazee-Vergas, and Sauk Rapids-Rice. Becker Public Schools Superintendent Steven Dooley noted in a recommendation that Kawlewski sought out the best investment options for Becker and they soon were seeing an increase in investment earnings. He implemented a more proactive bidding process for items such as insurance and was also able to bring in a six-figure return to Becker by reducing expenditures.

Kawlewski believes in the mission of BHM, and he couldn't be more excited about joining the team. He states, "BHM has a strong history of great school boards. They allow administration to do their jobs and understand their role as a board member. The district has had creative and forward thinking business managers in John (Siffert) and Chuck (Klaassen). The district is a wonderful setting for families, which offers a wealth of educational opportunities. It really says something when people like where they work and retire from the district with over 20 or 30 years of service. BHM has great leadership and I'm looking forward to being a part of it."