Cheryl Hammond Hopewell Named
2020 John Batley Award Recipient

June 24, 2020 - 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 PAISBOA 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 2020, the John Batley Award was presented to Cheryl Hammond Hopewell, Director of Finance and Operations for Friends School Haverford. The award is traditionally presented at the PAISBOA Annual Meeting, but due to restrictions. imposed because of COVID-19, the meeting was held virtually and Cheryl was honored at the virtual meeting.

After 20 years, Cheryl Hammond Hopewell is retiring from her job as Director of Finance and Operations for Friends School Haverford. In those two decades, she has taken on many roles over and above her job description. She sits on the Finance Committee and serves on the administrative team – as do many of her peers  – but also serves as unofficial IT director, Human Resources manager, facilities coordinator, and has even helped set up classroom seating! “At a small school like ours,” she said, “you fill in wherever you are needed.”

As a PAISBOA Board Member for the past six years, with three of those spent as Membership Committee chair, Cheryl has served an important role in the association and exemplifies many of the qualities that make her an ideal candidate for our highest honor, the John Batley Award.

“PAISBOA has been great for me, and ‘saved my life’ many times!” she said. This was Cheryl’s first school job, and with little knowledge of and virtually no exposure to the educational environment, she turned to PAISBOA for guidance and resources and found many programs and concepts that were essential to her professional development, and it was here where she found a number of members, including Bill Rollings (“a great go-to as HR issues continued to change”) and Bob Connelly – a former Batley recipient – who greatly helped her career. “Bob Connelly, who was then-Business Manager at Westtown School, was my mentor. He served on our finance team and was always available to give assistance whenever needed.

“I know I can always call on PAISBOA and count on PAISBOA. Things I did not know, I was able to get help with, and things I did know, I was able to get clarity” through PAISBOA’s resources.

It was this kind of support that inspired her to give back to PAISBOA, and she joined the Board in 2014.

In her role as Membership Committee chair, Cheryl and her committee have presided over PAISBOA’s most recent expansion into central and western Pennsylvania and Delaware. The evaluation process requires her to compile the application materials from prospective member schools, discuss the qualifications of each applicant with her committee, then make final recommendations to the Board. The past two years alone have seen her committee evaluate over 25 applications, so hers is a key role in helping shape the association’s future.

Cheryl holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Drexel University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Prior to her appointment to Friends School Haverford, she spent 10 years as Director of Business Services for the American Friends Service Committee. 

Cheryl is into health and wellness, works out regularly, and is an avid runner. She started running about seven years ago and belongs to several runners’ groups, including Black Girls Run and Drexel Hill Runs. She’s become quite the fanatic, having completed three marathons, including the Atlantic City Marathon, the New York City Marathon, and Veterans Marathon in Blairsville PA. Additionally, she has also done the Broad Street Run the last six years, and hopes to participate in the postponed 2020 run in October.

Out of the office, Cheryl is quite active at her church, Mt. Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in West Philadelphia. She serves as Regional President of the church’s First District Lay Organization, which involves those members of the church who are not clergy. The district includes more than 80 churches in Philadelphia as well as over 300 churches in PA, DE, NJ, NY, New England, and Bermuda. This position requires a significant amount of travel, most of which has been curtailed due to the pandemic. So, Cheryl has been busy doing remote activities, including meeting with members from many of those 300 churches, installing officers for their new terms, and planning for when everyone can get back together again in person.

So, in her ‘spare time,’ what does she find time to do? “I do take time for myself,” she said. “Sometimes I need to shut down and get away, so vacations are a must and I love to travel. We’ve gone on cruises, visited Europe (she even continued her training for one of the marathons while vacationing in Paris!) several times,” and a frequent destination is St. Petersburg, where she and her husband Irvin enjoy visiting their son Kyle, daughter-in-law Robbyn, and their precious two-year old granddaughter, Deanna.

Gail Crane of Gwynedd Friends School had this to say in her nomination: “Throughout her tenure, Cheryl has experienced the ‘ups and downs’ of running a small school and has worked with several Heads. She has been a steady force for FSH. While putting in the many hours of running a small school with little or no staff, she has found time to serve on the PAISBOA board and has always been more than willing to share best practices with other business managers of small schools.”

Incoming Board chair Carolyn Hapeman of Westtown School added, “Cheryl has been a dedicated Board member for the past several years. Her role as Chair of the Membership Committee has been an important one in helping shape PAISBOA’s future. Processing and considering dozens of school applications is no easy task, and we very much appreciate the efforts of Cheryl and her team in bringing new schools into the PAISBOA fold!”

Cheryl has served under five Heads of School, including current head Liza Ewen, who said “ Cheryl has provided steadfast, pragmatic leadership for Friends School Haverford for the last two decades. Her laser-sharp focus and her attention to detail stand out among her many gifts, as does her tireless work ethic. If the lights in the office are on earlier or later than usual, chances are good that it's Cheryl, hard at work.

“Cheryl has worked with several heads, multiple Clerks of the School Committee, and many Finance Committee members over the course of her years at FSH. She has done so with the same commitment, loyalty, and humility. She will be deeply missed and will hold a place in the heart of many,” she added. 

In addition to a commemorative plaque and a listing on the John Batley Award Honor Roll, we presented Cheryl with our traditional caricature (pictured above). It reflects her family, her active participation in her church, and her passion for health, wellness, and running.

We congratulate Cheryl on her retirement and the beginning of this new chapter in her life, and we thank her for the leadership and support she has provided, both to her school and to PAISBOA. She leaves Friends School Haverford in good hands; and her service to our association has resulted in the addition of new schools that have become valuable and contributing members, ensuring the viability of our organization for years to come. This legacy, and her support of and participation in our programs over the years, has made us all better at what we do every day.

 

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