BFCP Blog Interview with Sonja

By Amanda Johnson

Today I have a special guest star on the blog, Sonja Owens, the Treasurer for Bothell Family Coop Preschool! I’m really excited about this interview and to introduce you to her.

See, I’ve been curious about the huge group of people who stand at the front of the room at our all parent meetings for a while now. Who are they? How did they get to be up there? This massive group keeps our preschool running efficiently, but I realized I had no idea who they were or what most of them do for the school. So I sent out an inquiry asking for volunteers to be interviewed so I could get to know them better. My hope is to bring more awareness of who our wonderful board members are for myself and for everyone at BFCP.

1. In a sentence or two, tell us who you are and what is your role on the BFCP Board?

My name is Sonja and I'm currently the preschool's treasurer.

2. What are your main responsibilities as a board member?

My job involves overseeing the finances at the preschool, paying bills and working with our Board of Trustees to develop and carry out the long-range financial goals of the preschool. This includes working on the budget, tuition rates, and scholarships, paying bills and keeping an eye out for the overall financial health of the preschool.

3. What made you want to run for this position in particular?

I'm good with numbers and details, so it's a pretty good fit for me. It seems like a daunting job, but the reality is that we have a great bookkeeper who is there as a fabulous resource and also takes care of the payroll and taxes.

4. How have you balanced being a board member with your responsibilities as a parent, with a job, etc?

The great thing about the treasurer position is that it's largely work that can be done at home at hours that suit you. There are meetings that are normally held in the evenings to attend, such as board meetings. Otherwise, I sneak in time here and there - answering emails as I can throughout the day, and saving tasks that require more mental energy for after bedtime.

5. What has surprised you most about being a board member?

I love how member-driven our preschool is. At board meetings you really get a sense of how invested the board members and directors are in our school and our community. It's really wonderful to see the board troubleshoot different issues as they arise and work to continue to improve on our already great school.

6. Tell us about your family. Who goes to BFCP?

My daughter, Zoë is the Pre-K class. I also have a son who is a second grader in the NFP (homeschool) program in the Northshore school district. My husband, Mike, works in biotech locally.

7. What do you like to do when not at school?

I enjoy getting outdoors hiking and camping. I also enjoy knitting (if you've seen someone at a parent meeting knitting that's probably me!) and photography. I love to read, but my latest books have all been ones I've been reading to and with my kids.

8. Where are you originally from?

I'm originally from Everett, and have lived in Oregon, California, England and Massachusetts before coming back to the area.

9. What’s your favorite snack to provide your preschooler’s class?

I love bringing in our air popper for popcorn. It provides a gluten free snack that kids love and is super exciting to make.

10. What message would you like to give those interested in running for your position for the 2019-2020 school year?

Being treasurer sounds really intimidating, but it's actually not. You work closely with the assistant treasurer (who handles accounts receivable while you do accounts payable), so you really don't have a large team to manage. In addition, as you're working with the finances the scope of what you're keeping your eye on is a fairly narrow focus, which I find less overwhelming than other positions that have a much broader focus.

Thank you, Sonja, for answering my questions. I really enjoyed learning more about you and your position on the board of BFCP. You make being a treasurer sound easy! And I love your idea for snack. I can totally see how an air popper would cause excitement among the preschool set. Erm, excuse me while I run out to Target and get myself on