original article via aaea: https://issuu.com/theaaea/docs...
Cristy Dunnahoe, Business Manager for the Star City School District, says she found her career through luck.
Cristy Dunnahoe, Business Manager for the Star City School District, actually started her career in education as a substitute teacher. However, when the secretary in the administrative office left unexpectedly, she was asked to sub for her until they could find a full-time person. “I ended up being that full-time person at Gould School District,” she says. She worked as the secretary for the Superintendent and Business Manager for 4 years, saying, “I didn’t realize I could be an accountant in a school. I just got lucky. I worked with a wonderful business manager, Jennie Lou Butcher who taught me everything.” While working as a secretary during the day, she began going to school at night to finish her accounting degree. She then became the Business Manager at Gould. She was later offered a job at Drew Central in Monticello, where she worked for 14 years. When Star City’s business manager position came open, she applied and has held that position for 10 years. Ms. Dunnahoe also worked for H&R Block and a local farm equipment dealership. In 2018, she received the AASBO Truett Goatcher School Business Administrator of the Year. After 36 years as a Business Manager, she can’t imagine doing anything else.
Cristy says her favorite thing about her job is “doing so many different things….it is never boring.” However, she also finds that doing so many different things is the most challenging aspect of her job, saying “Sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming.” To those considering a similar career, she advises “Be ready to never stop learning. It is a great career choice. You will feel you are making a difference, not just earning a paycheck.” She also quotes Leeman Ngar as giving her the best advice she’s ever received, quoting “Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” Like many, the biggest change she’s seen in education over the course of her career is how new technology has changed the work. “I didn’t have a computer when I started working…I typed every check and then wrote all the info down by hand in BIG ledgers.”
“Be ready to never stop learning. It is a great career choice. You will feel you are making a difference, not just earning a paycheck.”
Cristy thinks her co-workers might describe her as “calm and collected with a little crazy on the side and always willing to help,” and she hopes that others will remember her as “a caring person who loved her family and friends and did her best to make a difference.” She is most proud of raising her two children who she says always make her smile. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, working in the yard, playing Bunko, visiting her grandkids, and hanging out with friends and family. Others might be surprised to know that she collects snowmen, with a collection in the hundreds. She also says she’s a pretty good plumber! “I’ve replaced toilets and faucets. Sorry, I don’t hire out!” When asked about her goals for the future, Cristy stated, “Getting through December. I plan to retire then.”
What’s something that amazes you?
“Pretty much everything. Life is an amazing journey.”
What is the most daring thing you’ve done?
“Moving my 88 year old aunt in with me! It was definitely an experience.”
What is one of the things on your “Bucket List?”
“I want to travel. I have a long list of places I want to visit.”
Where do you see yourself in five years?
“Retired, reading, and traveling.”
What do you see as the biggest benefit of AAEA membership?
“Networking. Getting to know other people who do what I do.”