Bob Mueller Named 2016 
John Batley Award Recipient

April 20, 2016 - One of the traditional highlights of the PAISBOA Annual Meeting is the presentation of the John Batley Award, our highest honor. A former CFO of Westtown School, recipient of the Visionary Award, and the man for whom the John Batley Award was created, John’s legacy is one of selfless giving and inclusion in PAISBOA. We celebrate his character, competence, and consistency each year with the selection of the John Batley Award winner.

For 2016, the John Batley Award was presented to
Bob Mueller of Delaware Valley Friends School

After 25 years as the Business Officer at Delaware Valley Friends School, Bob recently stepped down to become the first Executive Director of PAISBOA’s Health Benefit Trust. While at DVFS, he was instrumental in all facets of the small school devoted to children with learning differences almost from its inception. One of his many major accomplishments at DVFS was moving the school from rented quarters in Bryn Mawr to its beautiful campus in the heart of Paoli. Due in large part to Bob’s efforts, the school boasts of a solar array as well as other energy efficiencies along with the latest in technology.

His first encounter with the fledgling Delaware Valley Friends School was as a parent in 1988. After college, Bob had created a thriving construction company and was known for tackling difficult projects, usually coming up with a novel solution. Recognizing his many skills, Bob soon became a Board member where he took on the Business Manager responsibility as a volunteer. Realizing that he couldn’t do both jobs well - and passionate about the mission of DVFS - Bob was hired as the school’s first full-time Business Officer in 1991.

Even as Bob represented one of the smallest schools, he immediately began making an impact at PAISBOA’s early meetings. Bob stepped in to lead the group after John Batley’s (Westtown School) retirement in 1997 when health insurance was the only group purchasing that the schools did, and Independence Blue Cross threatened to “fire” the association if there wasn’t decision-making leadership. With Bob as their guide, the PAISBOA Board, comprised of volunteer Business Officers from 15 independent schools, soon added Dental, Life, and Disability Insurance to the options that the schools could purchase through the consortium.

During Bob’s tenure, the association grew from 60 independent schools and colleges in the Philadelphia area to over 160, and the power of group purchasing expanded as well. Over 40 schools banded together to create a consortium for Business Insurance and a unique dividend program was developed by the brokers and the carriers. The list of achievements goes on: The natural gas and electricity initiative, the solar project, the creation of the Health Benefit Trust, to name a few. Bob Mueller exemplifies what it means to be a visionary and was presented with PAISBOA’s inaugural Visionary Award in 2011 when he stepped down after 14 years as Chair.

The youngest of five children, Bob spent his early years in West Bend, Wisconsin before making Philadelphia his home after coming east to attend Swarthmore College. He credits his liberal arts education at “Swat”, where students are encouraged to engage in dialog and healthy debate, for his insatiable curiosity. A life-long learner, he continues to enroll in college courses in a wide range of subjects ranging from Literature to Music to Physics, where he undoubtedly sits in the front row and will often add his commentary and observations.

Not surprising, Bob’s passion has no limits. Along with the love of his life, Marty Spanninger, he travels to Italy as often as he can, which he describes as “heaven on earth.” An ardent food and gin lover, he has been known to wax eloquent about the merits of both. He is understandably proud of his children Nikko and Becca and is the boasting Poppop to his new grandson Bastian.

There is no-one more deserving of the John Batley Award for Distinguished Service to the profession of the Business Officer and his contributions to the association than Bob Mueller. Congratulations Bob! 

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