Education Northwest is pleased to announce the hiring of Stuart Ferguson as Chief Financial Officer. Ferguson brings more than 20 years of experience in financial leadership within the educational professional services industry. He most recently served as the Assistant Controller for the American Institutes for Research in Austin, Texas. Prior to that he served as CFO at the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, during their operation of the Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest and the Texas and Southeast Comprehensive Centers.
“Stuart is going to have a big impact at Education Northwest,” says Chief Executive Officer Patty Wood. “He has a very strong background in the kind of program services we provide, including experience in the Regional Educational Laboratory system and education nonprofits. He’s a perfect fit for where we’re at as an organization and where we want to go.”
Ferguson was drawn to Education Northwest as a regional organization looking to expand nationally. “To be part of an organization that is growing—that is actively committing the resources necessary to do that—is very appealing,” says Ferguson. “Education Northwest has a very good reputation in the field. It’s an organization with a strong mission and a deep commitment to equity. It’s an up-and-coming, exciting place to be in an industry that’s experiencing a lot of growth.”
Ferguson holds a master’s degree in accounting and is a certified public accountant. His experience in the education nonprofit sphere has given him a keen sense of accountability. “I think finance has an important role to play in ensuring that Education Northwest is a good steward of public and philanthropic funds,” says Ferguson. “It’s very important that we demonstrate—not only to the government or a given funder but also to the public at large—that we can be trusted to use those resources to meet the mission.”
Finance is an essential part of that mission, says Ferguson. “We want to provide the board and the leadership team with the most accurate information possible to inform their decision making. That allows them to focus our resources on where we can have the greatest impact and do the most good.”
Ferguson brings high expectations to his new role. “My goal is that the finance office will be seen as a strength of the organization,” he says, “and ultimately as a model or best-in-class organization within our industry and as an example for other nonprofits as to how an organization should be run financially and how to support sustainable growth.”