Mark Pingitore: A journey in to advancement
Following the CASE International Schools Advancement Summit in Rome, Mark Pingitore shares the opportunities and challenges of launching an advancement programme in an emerging market.
1. What is your background?
I am a child of international schools and lived in Pakistan, Haiti, and Kenya (my father was a U.S. Cultural Affairs Officer). Early in my career, I worked for a Congresswoman and The United States Conference of Mayors on educational policy and reform issues. I started an after-school enrichment programme for low-income families that had tutors and mentors from Howard University and American University. This initiative inspired me to get Master´s degrees in Education and Administration in New York City. I spent 15 years there as part of educational reform as a teacher and head of school. In 2001 I started a new school ‘Tompkins Square Middle School’, that was later recognised as one of the top public schools in Manhattan. I joined The American School of Barcelona as an International Baccalaureate and middle school social studies teacher and became the Director of the school in September 2009.
2. How did you get in to educational advancement?
Whilst working at The American School of Barcelona I have been researching what other top international schools do to create a community, market themselves and increase revenue streams. In the past 5 years, The American School of Barcelona´s international school population has been growing steadily and our academic reputation has been rising. The board and leadership team believe this is the right time for us to launch advancement in our community.
“Our goal is to set two-year benchmarks for development fundraising, staffing and participation.”
3. Which of CASE’s member benefits are you most looking forward to using?
I want to learn more about best advancement practices from other international schools who are members of CASE. I am also looking forward to attending conferences and contacting members about their advancement programmes.
4. What were your top 3 takeaways from the International Schools Advancement Summit in Rome?
1) Ensure you have long-term commitment from the board and leadership team
2) Development needs to be rooted in a compelling message tied to your mission-vision
3) It takes time to build a culture of giving in an international school
5. What are your main challenges?
The school is launching a development programme for its first time, and with 20% of the school American, many of our families have not participated in development programmes in the past.
6. What do you think will be the growth areas in your school’s development in the next 3–5 years?
Our goal is to set two-year benchmarks for development fundraising, staffing and participation. We are hopeful that our data will show positive growth and we will set new, more ambitious benchmarks every two years.
7. What books/websites/podcasts/etc would you recommend to colleagues in the sector?
I am a rookie in advancement so don´t have recommendations at this point! However, I am using the CASE website, reading on-line articles and meeting with people who have Development experience and I can recommend doing all of these things!
Mark Pingitore became the Director of the The American School of Barcelona in September 2009.
Mark joined the School as an International Baccalaureate and middle school social studies teacher.