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Meet Bucs Hero, Shannon Starnes

This week, reenrollment begins and the ease of the process is a direct result of the careful planning and dedication of Shannon Starnes, Student Billing and Accounts Receivable Coordinator. While the yearly reenrollment process is one of Shannon’s biggest responsibilities, she also handles most of the money received by the school—from tuition payments and dining hall expenses to yearbook orders and field trip fees. In addition to ensuring all deposits are made in a timely manner, she assists parents with their invoices and other questions. Upbeat and friendly, Shannon has worked in the Finance Office at Country Day for nearly 18 years.

Shannon Starnes at desk

Get to know a little more about Bucs Hero Shannon Starnes. This regular feature is designed to highlight the many staff members across campus making an impact for our school.

What do you like most about your job?

I love helping the parents with any needs they have. I love that my job has so many aspects that I don’t do daily, like reenrollment, because it helps keep things interesting. And even though I don’t work with students directly, I love seeing them around campus. I really didn’t like when the summer program was taking place at Bissell Campus because of the construction—the campus really feels empty when the kids aren’t here.

In what ways do you help build community?

Even though things can get hectic sometimes, I enjoy helping out wherever I can. No matter where I am, if I see someone who needs help I will try to help. You build community by simply being kind, being there when you are needed. Connecting and getting to know your peers. I make it a point to speak to everyone I see. I have a few parents that I have really gotten to know and trust a lot, and they have helped me see things from a fresh perspective. I am very thankful for them and I am glad I have them to turn to.

You were very involved in Country Day’s data migration to Veracross. Talk about the changes you have seen over the years in terms of how we conduct student billing.

Oh goodness, 18 years ago it seems like we were still doing accounting on T charts because we have came A LONG way since then. Even though we used our previous accounting software, Blackbaud, for many years, we went through many versions of it. Each time was a learning curve that seemed like it was a brand-new system. With one of their biggest upgrade launches I was picked to be a Beta tester to help build the student billing module.

I have processed over 30,000 enrollments in 18 years and boy has that changed. I used to have tables brought into the hallways of Levine lined up with paper contracts and schedules that had to be hand stuffed for each family. It would take me a week to get that done!! We slowly moved to electronic forms and the paper packets got smaller and smaller. Now we are 100% digital except for the letter from the head of school that is mailed to each family. It makes things so much easier and the time that has been saved has allowed me to take on other responsibilities.

Shannon Starnes with a glacier in the background

You won the Hunter Sabbatical Grant recently. Talk about where you went and what winning meant to you.

I won the Hunter Sabbatical in 2021 and this was not only one of the highlights of my time at Country Day, but my LIFE!! With this grant I was able to check off one of my top bucket list items by visiting Alaska. That experience was life changing for me—it opened my eyes to what I want to do and that is travel to new places as much as possible. I was also able to spend a week with my mom in the Florida Keys—we had so much fun. We rented a car and just drove up and down those keys sightseeing and eating, we loved it!!

How do you like to spend your free time?

I spend a lot of my free time with my mother and my dogs! Also, the aforementioned traveling. Since the Hunter Sabbatical I have traveled to the Pacific Northwest and Olympic National Park, and most recently, I traveled by myself to New England. I look forward to planning more great trips to see our beautiful country.

Shannon and her mother in the Florida Keys
A black dog and a white dog