38 • CFO •
West Ada School District • Eagle
In his childhood, Jonathan Gillen was told by his parents that education was the one piece of him that could not be taken away. Backed by his supportive family, Gillen was encouraged to go to college; he is now continuing his education in pursuit of a doctoral degree.
It was a natural career choice to go where he was both successful and felt accepted, and Gillen is proud of his ability to foster connections and enhance the success of others in his field.
He lived without fear of losing his education, and Gillen wants to ensure the same thing for every student who enrolls in the West Ada School District. Although he works behind the scenes as a leader in the financial department, Gillen’s impact can still be gauged in the classroom, albeit on a more indirect level than teaching firsthand.
“I don’t wake up each morning thinking about how I can impact another, but I do often think about how I can support my peers,” Gillen says. “Our teachers and education staff do amazing things with kids each and every day. As a finance professional, my hope is that I can support them with the expertise I bring, allowing them to do the good work of supporting our kids.”
Gillen’s colleagues learn and grow from his expertise in their professional lives, they say. Mary Ann Ranells, the superintendent of schools for West Ada School District, cites not only his accomplishments to date as reasons for his success, but also Gillen’s experience as a charismatic leader within the school district.
“Jonathan has been a catalyst for improving education in our district by examining our practices for allocating resources in a more efficient and results-oriented manner,” says Ranells. “He has implemented several improvements and has been an instrumental advocate for students and educators on each one. Jonathan is gifted as a leader — he knows how to encourage debate while managing to inject a little humor and common sense along the way to help us all stay sane as we embrace change.”
Recognized by the University of Phoenix for excellence in instruction, Gillen intends to continue leading his colleagues and the children in the school district to fulfill their goals and accomplishments.
Gillen believes his desire to see others be successful, while making sure not to take himself too seriously, is what makes him a standout professional in the Boise community.
Brian Smith, controller for West Ada School District, sees that quality in him.
“Everyone who interacts with Jonathan is always blown away by his kindness, sense of humor, and dedication to students,” he says. “I assure you that his commitment to his professional career, the students of Idaho, as well as his high moral values are without question.”