Progress 2011: Finance Maven

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hero: Lori Volz

Secret identity: director of finance and operations for Albert Lea School District

Base of operations: Albert Lea

Photo by Kelli Lageson/Cutout by Stacey Bahr Lori Volz

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Superpowers: ability to work with people, financial analysis skills, problem solving and organization

Kryptonite: lack of adequate funding for public schools makes her concerned for the school district

Affiliations: husband, Scott, son, Daniel, daughter, Kristine

Origin: Volz started with Albert Lea’s school district in October 2009. Previously she had worked for 15 years in Blue Earth and 11 years in Austin in the school finance field.

“Education is very important to me,” Volz said.

Three of her grandparents and her mother were teachers, and she said it’s gratifying to have an impact on education by trying to find the best use of every dollar spent. Of the many favorite parts of her job, she said her absolute favorite is when she can come up with a solution that’s a cost saver or revenue generator for the district.

Volz has a bachelor of science in business administration and a master’s in education leadership. She’s a registered school business administrator, which requires a master’s degree and about three years of additional training in school finance. Volz was named school business official of the year in 2009 by the Minnesota Association of School Business Officials.

“Minnesota school finance is complex,” Volz said. “The regulations are detailed and extensive.”

Volz said she’s passionate about school finance and enjoys working for the district. She said she’s grateful for her co-workers and Superintendent Mike Funk.

By the Numbers

$41 million dollars. The total budget managed by Volz for the Albert Lea School District.

24 is the approximate number of school board meetings and workshops Volz attends in a year. She always has items to present to the board or has items that need to be approved by the board.

$100,000 is the limit for sealed-bid purchases Volz can make without board approval. Anything that amount or more has to be presented at board meetings.

26 years is the amount of time Volz has been working in school finance.

4 people in the financial office and Eric Hudspith, director of facilities and transportation, are overseen by Volz.