The schoolAbility Leadership Team is comprised of highly-skilled school financial management professionals with expertise in financial management and human resources systems used by most school districts and charter schools in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, and Texas.
The schoolAbility Leadership Team includes a Certified Public Accountant, former auditors, licensed business managers, experienced assistant business managers, and financial management software systems architects and developers with a combined experience in excess of 150 years.
Following are the schoolAbility Leadership Team biographies.
Alfredo Diaz, Founder and CEO
Alfredo has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He worked at International Business Machines Corp., for ten years, where he held a number of senior technical positions. While at IBM, Alfredo filed three US patents related to software systems architecture (US5566348, US5450384, and US5440686). He also worked on several large‐scale, mission‐critical software projects for Fortune 500 companies, such as Baxter Healthcare and Philips Semiconductors.
Alfredo founded ALSTEC Systems, Inc., a profitable information technology consulting firm in 1995. Under Alfredo’s leadership, ALSTEC Systems developed a student tracking system for the University of Arizona and a 401(k) investment performance tracking application for PiperJaffray.
Alfredo founded Apta Software, Inc., in 1997 and was deeply involved in the architecture and design of AptaFund, the first Internet-hosted financial management and human resources system for schools. He was instrumental in the sale and implementation of the early adopters of AptaFund including Sunnyside Unified School District in Tucson, Arizona, Alameda Unified School District in Alameda, California, and Springtown Independent School District in Springtown, Texas.
In 2004, Alfredo founded Dirt Ventures, LLC., a Tucson-based land development company. His involvement in high-profile land transactions gave Alfredo insight into the complexities of urban planning, land use policies, zoning restrictions, and the challenges imposed on schools as a result of residential development and changing demographics.
After Apta Software was acquired by Harris School Solutions in 2007, Alfredo formed Aerarium, LLC., to provide independent consulting, implementation, training, and value-added support services to his former AptaFund clients. In this capacity, Alfredo expanded AptaFund’s market share in California and made AptaFund the de facto standard financial management and human resources system for New Mexico charter schools, attaining a market share in excess of 95%.
Alfredo re-branded Aerarium, LLC., as aptAbility when he relocated the company’s headquarters to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2011. Shortly thereafter, aptAbility became the fastest-growing provider of premium outsourced business office services for schools in New Mexico.
Alfredo re-branded the company as schoolAbility in 2016 when it partnered with Escape Technology to make schoolAbility’s OEM branded version of Online 5 widely available to California charter schools and to school districts and charter schools outside of California.
Rebekah Runyan, CPA, VP Finance and Mentor Business Manager
Rebekah is a Certified Public Accountant and has Bachelor and Master of Accountancy degrees from New Mexico State University. She has been working in the accounting field since 2004 and is a New Mexico Licensed Business Manager Level I. She has experience with a variety of different accounting entities, including governmental accounting and auditing, forensic, private, higher education, not-for-profits, tax and public accounting. Rebekah has over three years of experience auditing and providing accounting services for strictly governmental entities, including school districts, charter schools, foundations, state agencies, counties and district courts. She has extensive experience compiling governmental financial statements.
As an auditor, Rebekah was responsible for planning audits, testing all major areas of internal controls, testing financial accounts, testing for compliance with local and federal accounting and purchasing laws and compiling financial statements for different governmental entities, testing budgets and financial preparation. She is proficient in financial preparation, budget compliance and awareness, and implementing robust internal controls for governmental entities.
Rebekah is a member the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Jolene Jaramillo, VP Software Services
Jolene has a bachelor’s degree from New Mexico Highlands University and is a New Mexico Licensed Business Manager Level II. Jolene has over twenty years of experience in New Mexico school systems. She worked for eight years as the business manager for West Las Vegas School District, overseeing a budget of over $33 million. She also managed the business office services department for an accounting firm, servicing seven New Mexico charter school clients.
Jolene has been instrumental in developing the schoolAbility Services model. Her expertise includes:
- Maintaining the general ledger to produce financial statements for analytical and reporting purposes.
- Developing and implementing strong internal control procedures.
- Developing and implementing procedures to ensure compliance with state law.
- Implementing checks and balances to safeguard school assets.
- Reporting for state, local, and federal entities ranging from payroll, human resource, and financial statements.
- Client communication, organization, preparation, and review of services delivery.
- Preparing the annual budget for presentation to school boards and the New Mexico Public Education Department.
- Financial audit preparation.
- Training and supervising staff in all areas of the business office operations.
Carmen Cavnar, Mentor Business Manager
Carmen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and is a New Mexico Licensed Business Manager Level II.
Carmen has over ten years of experience as an auditor for public sector entities and business manager for a charter school network in New Mexico, in which she has overseen the Business Office operations of multiple charter schools. As a Business Manager, Carmen has developed expertise in the following areas:
- Oversight of all business office functions including payroll, accounts payable, bank reconciliations, human resources, Federal grant management, audit preparation, New Mexico Public Education Department reporting, budgeting, and governing board financial reporting.
- Policy and procedure development to ensure compliance with all laws governing school finance.
- Internal Control analysis and implementation of internal controls in school business offices.
Carmen has established a reputation with the New Mexico Public Education Department for rehabilitating the business office operation of school districts after catastrophic audits and compliance problems.
Patricia Garrett, Senior Business Manager
Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of New Mexico and is a New Mexico Licensed Business Manager, Level I.
Patricia has been a business manager for charter schools for 2 years. Before that she worked as a Senior Auditor for a New Mexico CPA firm for over 6 years. Her specialty was the audit of school districts and charter schools. She monitored compliance with federal, state and local statutes and provided guidance for establishing internal control procedures and tested their effectiveness.
Patricia’s area of expertise is in governmental accounting. She has extensive experience in financial statement preparation for various entities including school districts, charter schools, counties, cities, foundations, and non-profits.
Gary Shaw, Director of TX Operations
Gary has been involved in Texas public education for over 25 years. He has served 15 years as the Chief Financial Officer for Springtown Independent School District in Springtown, Texas, overseeing a $34 million annual budget.
Gary oversees the business office operations for schoolAbility clients in Texas. He is responsible for the oversight of all business office functions, including payroll, accounts payable, bank reconciliations, human resources, Federal grant management, audit preparation, the Texas Public Education Information Management Systems, budgeting, and governing board financial reporting.
Previously, Gary has served as a science teacher at the middle school and high school levels and as a district-level technology director. Earlier in his career, Gary owned and operated a utility construction firm.
Barton King, Support Services
Barton has been involved with training, development, and support of school financial management software for the past 20 years. He helped design the initial user interface for the AptaFund financial management system and worked closely with Certified Public Accountants, school business managers, auditors, and developers to ensure it would meet the requirements of charter schools and school districts. His work with schoolAbility allows him to help schools leverage the power of a school’s financial management software to its fullest potential.
Barton also served as the Documentation and Production Manager for a company that developed software for early versions of wireless e-mail devices, pagers, and custom warehouse solutions. Barton also managed a weekly newspaper and printing facility.
Barton provides software support for the schoolAbility team in addition to consulting, implementation, and training services for schoolAbility clients.
The schoolAbility team includes many professionals highly-qualified to deliver financial management and human resources systems implementation, training, consulting, value-added support, and comprehensive outsourced business office management services.
To contact schoolAbility for a confidential, no-obligation consultation, e-mail sales@schoolAbility.com or call (520) 780-1375.