Donald D. Silverson Named 2017 
John Batley Award Recipient

April 20, 2017 - 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 2017, the John Batley Award was presented to
Donald D. Silverson of The Hill School. 

After more than 30 years of service in education, government, and the private sector, Donald D. Silverson will be leaving “The Hill” and PAISBOA to start a new chapter in Cape May, New Jersey with his wife, Kate.

“Don has been an active, valued participant in PAISBOA, PAISBOA Services Corporation and the PAISBOA Business Insurance Group for many years” per Hal Davidow, Chair of the PAISBOA Board of Directors. Hal goes on to say, “Business Officers like Don are critical to the success of organizations like PAISBOA, which rely on dedicated and knowledgeable business officers to do the heavy lifting in a primarily volunteer driven association.” Frank Aloise, past Board Chair, observed that Don’s “quiet intelligence and great sense of humor has been an excellent source of strength for the group.” Other board members remarked that one of Don’s most important contributions to PAISBOA was his leadership and expertise around tax-exempt debt financing with his prior experience in banking and finance. In addition to working with PAISBOA, Don has shared his talents with several area nonprofit boards, including Pottstown Area Industrial Development (PAID), Inc.

Don majored in sociology and earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University, and later attained his master’s degree in Community Planning and Public Administration from the University of Rhode Island.

Early in his career, Don taught high school biology. For five years, he honed his financial skills as a Senior Management Consultant at Public Financial Management (PFM). He was the Director of Economic Development for Newton, Mass., for two years, and the Director of Community Development and Public Works for Montgomery County, Pa., from 1985 to 1993. Don served the Newtown Friends School as Business Manager from 2000 to 2003 and Abington Friends School as Business Manager and Director of Finance from 2003 to 2007.

Since July 2007, Don has been the Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer at The Hill School, where he guided the School through the 2008 recession, implemented cost-containment and made forward-thinking financial decisions, enhanced Hill’s physical plant, and preserved its endowment. Notably, Don has helped to keep Hill’s tuition increases to 2 percent for three years in a row, an achievement that is especially meaningful to Hill families.

In his 10 years at The Hill, Don oversaw financing and construction of several major projects, ranging from two turf fields and a track and soccer pitch, to dormitory and other facility upgrades. He continues to play a major role in plans for the Dining Hall renovation and construction of the Quadrivium Center STEM facility. He was featured in a 2010 Philadelphia Inquirer business article for securing a notable cost-saving energy contract. He negotiated with the Borough of Pottstown to achieve the partial vacation of Green Street and subsequent construction of 11 beautiful East Campus Faculty Village homes. Don arranged the sale of the former “Hill Camp” property to North Coventry and Warwick Townships for public recreational use. He has worked with the Headmaster to provide faculty salary increases integral to Hill’s Aspire Program, a tiered compensation model created to recognize Hill’s outstanding faculty members.

Don has worked closely with numerous Board committees. Trustee Peter Humphrey, Hill ’72, notes: “Don is a very intelligent man of many talents. Technically, he’s very capable – but his ability to build solid relationships across the School makes him most effective.”

“I appreciate the diplomacy and candor Don has shown on our Senior Leadership Team,” says Hill Headmaster Zachary G. Lehman. “Don’s insights, empathy, and understanding of boarding school life are unparalleled, as is his commitment to our extended community. Furthermore, Don leaves The Hill in excellent financial condition.”

Don and his wife, Kate Holz, have two sons, Nat and Nick, and a precious new baby granddaughter, “Izzy.” He will retire July 31, 2017; indulge in more golf, and, with Kate, enjoy travel, time with their growing family, and their new home in Cape May.

All of us are immensely grateful for Don’s professionalism, creativity, pragmatism, passion, and his care for The Hill School family and his camaraderie for his PAISBOA colleagues and friends.


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