Carol Lerner of The Philadelphia School Named 2022
John Batley Award Recipient

May 4, 2022 - The traditional highlight of the PAISBOA Annual Meeting is the presentation of the John Batley Award, our highest honor. A former CFO of Westtown School and recipient of the PAISBOA Visionary Award -- and the man in whose name 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 2022, the John Batley Award goes to Carol Lerner, Director of Finance and Operations for The Philadelphia School

In February 2022, Carol Lerner bid a fond farewell to The Philadelphia School (TPS) to take what she calls her “dream job” at the University of Pennsylvania’s radio station WXPN. She leaves with a legacy of service to her school, to the community, and to PAISBOA.

For 14 years, from 2008-2022, Carol served as Director of Finance and Operations at the TPS campus at 25th and Lombard. During that time, she was a member of numerous standing committees and supported Diversity and Inclusion and  Strategic Planning initiatives. Beyond TPS, she served on the visiting committee for several PAIS accreditations for other member schools. Her dedication to her work and her commitment to the profession led her to being named CFO of the Year by the Philadelphia Business Journal in 2019.

According to Lisa Sun, TPS Head of School, “Carol is a creative problem solver and proactive planner who took a small finance office and turned it into a professionalized, high functioning, well run machine.” Under Carol's leadership, TPS underwent the construction of a new campus site and three major renovation projects. “A strategic thinker and ‘boots on the ground’ worker,” said Sun, “Carol is a humble leader who always took on more in service of students and our institution. 

“Beyond the finance office and facilities, Carol managed school safety, performed lunch and recess duties, and most recently, created an extensive testing system during the pandemic to keep our community safe,” said Sun. Carol also sat on the school’s Finance, Building, Tuition Assistance, and Health and Safety standing committees, and her “other duties as assigned” have included a bit of everything, from neighbor relations, to administering COVID tests, to crossing guard, to lunch duty, to checking for head lice.

Carol became involved with PAISBOA almost immediately upon joining TPS. “Nancy Rafferty, my predecessor at TPS, gave me the best advice, which was to get involved in PAISBOA right away,” she said. “A few days into my job, I had a Senior Systems billing issue and contacted Emily Miller at Friends' Central, who helped me figure it out, and after that I was hooked!”

She joined the PAISBOA board in 2010, and served as Secretary and on the PAISHIG subcommittee. As one of PAISBOA Health Benefit Trust’s charter Board members beginning in 2013, Carol served as a Trustee and as Secretary until 2018, when she returned to the PAISBOA board. During this critical period, Carol’s good business sense and even temperament helped guide the Trust’s Board through many important and strategic decisions.

“I am so pleased that Carol is being recognized with this year’s John Batley Award,” said Joan Barone, Associate Director of the PAISBOA Health Benefit Trust. “As a woman with great energy, a generous spirit, and a joy for discovering new things, Carol has been a true mentor to me since we met on the PAISBOA scene more than ten years ago!”

“A favorite memory is the time Carol and I traveled to Orlando, Florida in December 2014 for a meeting of leaders of education MEWA groups from Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Florida to learn how we might be able to replicate some of their successes here in Pennsylvania. With the help of Carol’s curiosity, personal charm, and insurance experience, we came away with the beginnings of a plan to build the Trust that exists today.”

Prior to joining The Philadelphia School, Carol started her career at CIGNA Insurance Company as a co-op student and stayed there for 21 years, working in various finance and accounting positions in Philadelphia, England, Brazil, and Guatemala. She moved to the nonprofit sector in 2006, at Resources for Human Development, a social services agency. She also served as Vice President and Treasurer of the Board of the Parent Infant Center, a nonprofit child care center; and holds an M.B.A with a concentration in accounting and a BBA with a concentration in finance, both from Temple University.

“Now I’m responsible for the finances at WXPN, which reports in to the University of Pennsylvania,“ she said. “While I no longer have the breadth of responsibility that I had at TPS, some things are universal, like financial sustainability, and helping my favorite bands complete W9s!”

At WXPN, Carol has landed in the perfect place as she has a deep love for rock music. Most weekends, you can find her at World Café Live or the Ardmore Music Hall catching live music with her children, Samantha and Eli, who are both TPS graduates. She also enjoys studying the writings of James Joyce, and often participates in readings of the novel Ulysses at Fergie’s Pub and the Rosenbach Museum.

Carol is well known for riding her vintage bike to work every day, and she enjoys going to boot camp training at a nearby park twice a week.

“Whenever I’ve met someone from TPS,” said Martha Scache, Director of Business and Operations at Abington Friends School and current Chair of the PAISBOA Health Benefit Trust Board of Trustees, “I always say, ‘Carol Lerner is one of my favorite people in the world!’ And they always agree! I guess I won't get to say that any more, but she’s still a rock star in my mind. Carol’s been a huge contributor to PAISBOA over many years, but her background in insurance with CIGNA made her a perfect addition to the Health Benefit Trust board. She was instrumental in the conversations that led the HBT to self-funding and played an important leadership role on the board during the Trust’s first, tumultuous years.

“I wish Carol the best of luck and know she’ll become as important to ‘XPN as she has been to PAISBOA (if she hasn’t already)!”

 “Congratulations on this well-deserved award, Carol!” said Joan Barone. “And while the independent school world will certainly miss you, I am excited that you have found a way to combine your business and financial expertise with your love of rock music in your new position at WXPN!”

Carolyn Hapeman of the Westtown School and Chair of the PAISBOA Board of Directors added, “We congratulate Carol and wish her well as she embarks on this new chapter in her career. We also thank her for the steadfast leadership and support she has provided to her school, to her colleagues (including me!), to PAISBOA, and to the PAISBOA Health Benefit Trust. Her leadership and commitment to both associations will continue to ensure their success for years to come.”

“PAISBOA has been consistent during my time at TPS,” said Carol. I am very thankful for the professional and personal relationships that I developed through the flock!”

“Carol always made time to lend a helping hand to anyone who asked, and she has left an indelible mark on The Philadelphia School,” said Lisa Sun. “We are forever better because of Carol’s work and dedication.”

We at PAISBOA couldn’t agree more!

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