When the snow falls in New England next winter, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Operating Officer Brett Fuhrman will be enjoying the warmer weather of Asheville, North Carolina, where he will have relocated to be CFO at the Carolina Day School (CDS), a private Pre-K-through-12 school.
The move is an opportunity for Mr. Fuhrman, his wife, and their three children to live in a warmer town that suits the family’s outdoor interests, he said.
“The opportunity to move to Asheville and work at CDS came out of nowhere; I wasn’t looking to leave BB&N when it presented itself to me,” Mr. Fuhrman said. “The lure of the change in pace of life for my family and the amazing qualities of Asheville—moderate climate with four seasons, active community with biking, running, and hiking trails, thriving arts and live music scene—led me to look more closely at the opportunity.”
Mr. Fuhrman said the most attractive aspect of the job was CDS’ desire to continue its upward trajectory in a competitive enrollment market where there is an urgency to improve and to investigate how to enhance the student experience.
“The bonus was that all three of my kids—through tuition remission—will attend CDS, which is located on one campus,” he added.
For the past four years, Mr. Fuhrman has worked across BB&N’s three campuses to oversee all finances and operations of the school, including its budget, payroll, Human Resources (HR), facilities, dining services, safety and security, transportation, after school programming at the Lower School, and summer camp.
“My job [has been] to support folks leading these areas on a day-to-day [basis] and make sure everything is running smoothly to ensure a great experience is taking place for students, staff and faculty, and parents,” he explained.
He identified working on the Middle School (MS) renovation starting in 2013 as one of his fondest memories at the school.
“It was an extremely complicated project with a tight timeline for completion in a very limited space to complete the work,” Mr. Fuhrman said. “So it was a really fun challenge—and a rewarding one, as it made a big difference for the faculty and students of the Middle School.”
As well as meeting the expectations of the MS community and ensuring timely completion under budget, Mr. Fuhrman also led the construction and design team to identify challenges and solutions throughout the planning and constructing phases of the project, he said. Throughout the renovation, he also served as liaison to Head of School Rebecca Upham and the Board of Trustees to inform them on progress.
Former Trustee and Head of the MS Renovation Joe Chung P ’09, ’12, ’14, ’15, ’18, ’19, ’22 had nothing but praise for Mr. Fuhrman’s leadership skills.
“Renovations are always incredibly tricky because there’s a bunch of big unknowns that you can only figure out once you’ve knocked [half of] the building down, but Brett did an amazing job and showed considerable leadership and wise judgement all along the way,” Mr. Chung said.
Jason Hafler ’00, trustee and chair of the audit committee responsible for overseeing the school’s financial reporting and disclosures, also commended Mr. Fuhrman.
“It has been an absolute pleasure working with Brett over the past years on the Audit Committee,” Mr. Hafler said. “His leadership and steadfast guidance have been a tremendous asset, and he will be sorely missed, but we wish him all the best for this new endeavor.”
Head of School Rebecca Upham described Mr. Fuhrman as an essential leader of the school, with insight about issues facing the school’s financial and operational aspects and about opportunities to improve them both.
“Mr. Fuhrman has a remarkable ability to work both on long-range projects and to give attention to the details that are needed so that the daily function of BB&N goes very smoothly,” Ms. Upham said.
An example of a long-term project she cited was the purchase of two nearby properties—one used to park the buses on Grove Street and one in an adjacent lot on Gerry’s Landing Road—while heating the Upper School (US) building and replacing the artificial grass on the turf field were some of his short-term focuses.
Mr. Fuhrman has also promoted environmentally sustainable practices across campuses by encouraging composting and recycling and by installing more energy efficient, heat-trapping glass windows in the US this summer.
Ms. Upham said she trusted Mr. Fuhrman not just to give thoughtful advice but to look at an issue from a fresh perspective.
“We could be coming at the same issue or challenge,” she said, “and he will see it differently and suggest different things that make me rethink.”
When asked what he will miss most about the school, Mr. Fuhrman said, “No question, the people.”
“BB&N is a very complex organization,” he added. “But although this complexity was the source of some of the most challenging moments, it always ended up being an extremely rewarding experience.”