Gilbert Smith Named 2007 
John Batley Award Recipient

April 18, 2007 - 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 2007, the John Batley Award was presented to
Gilbert Smith, Business Manager of The Shipley School

For the last four years, Gil Smith has been the Chairman of the Association’s Property and Casualty Insurance Program and a Board Member since 2001, where he serves as assistant treasurer.

Gil, who received his BA in History from Princeton, is truly a Renaissance Man, with interests ranging from theater to architecture, from technology to finance. He has spent his life in schools as a teacher and a department chair, Head of School and summer school director, and, for almost all of the past 20 years, as business manager. With energy, imagination, and clear thinking, he has made significant contributions in all areas of the schools for which he has worked.

While earning his doctorate at Columbia University, Gil taught history at Trinity School, winning the Master Teacher Award three years running from 1974 to 1976. He continued at Trinity, becoming head of the history department and director of the summer school before moving on to become assistant headmaster and head of Upper School at The Browning School in 1981. There, in addition to general administration, counseling students, hiring faculty, and developing curriculum, he also directed the business office and installed computer programs for accounting and student records.

In 1985, the next logical step was to become a headmaster, which Gil did at the York Country Day School, where he took a firm hand with an institution that had suffered fragmented leadership. In addition to instituting new programs and curricula, he computerized the business office, alumni relations, and student records.

Returning to New York City in 1988, Gil served as business manager at Brooklyn Friends School until 1990, when he came to The Shipley School, where he has been since then. Here, he has managed Shipley’s finances with resourcefulness and skill. As a member of the administrative team, he has added depth and wisdom to all areas of the School, based on his wide experience. His dry humor makes his explanations of finances and liability issues palatable even in faculty meetings.

Gil is a consummate schoolman and administrator, intelligent, innovative, and energetic. Constantly concerned for the bottom line, continually looking for ways to economize, he is no mere bean counter. He understands clearly where a school’s priorities must lie—in the education of children. We are lucky to have him here.


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