Cliff Kling will Join Mission & Data to Lead Firm’s New Executive Compensation Practice

Ari Betof
Mission and Data
Published in
4 min readOct 23, 2023


Mission & Data is thrilled to announce that Cliff Kling, JD, will join the firm in the role of Senior Executive Compensation and Leadership Strategist at the conclusion of his tenure as President of Gulliver Preparatory School in June 2024. Cliff will lead a new practice area for the firm, Executive Compensation Consulting Services.

“Cliff has experience on both sides of the table as the most senior leader of organizations and as a key member of boards. He understands the art and science that goes into cultivating a synergistic partnership, enabling an organization to live its mission today and thrive long into the future,” shared Mission & Data’s co-founder Ari Betof. “Cliff will add a new dimension to our mission-driven, data-informed work both in executive compensation and his broader engagements with clients.”

Cliff Kling, JD will join Mission & Data as Senior Executive Compensation and Leadership Strategist at the conclusion of his tenure as President of Gulliver Preparatory School to lead the firm’s new Executive Compensation Consulting Services Practice.

Cliff joins Mission & Data as its Senior Executive Compensation and Leadership Strategist after 24 years of service and leadership in independent schools. Cliff served the last six years as President of Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami, Florida. Gulliver, the fifth largest NAIS member school, is one of the most complex and dynamic independent day schools in the country with 2,230 students hailing from nearly 50 different countries and 500 faculty and staff members. Previously, he served at Jackson Academy in Jackson, Mississippi, first as Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel and then as President.

Cliff is an attorney and former CPA license holder, and he came to independent schools after a short career in public accounting and practicing law. A natural born advisor, Cliff thrives in complex situations and is at his best when delayering and unstacking problems. The transformational changes he shepherded at both Gulliver and Jackson Academy will ground his executive compensation and leadership work with Mission & Data. At Jackson Academy, the school purchased land which doubled the size of its main campus, and Cliff directly oversaw $20 million of new construction and capital expansion. At Gulliver, Cliff led the efforts for a successful land-swap transaction with a neighboring church, making way for a comprehensive master plan. During his tenure, the school launched its first-ever capital campaign and completed over $150 million of new construction and capital projects.

“Cliff’s tenure leading large, complicated schools paired with his legal and accounting background gives him unparalleled experience to support Mission & Data’s current and future clients,” said Mission & Data co-founder Kelsey Vrooman. “His expertise perfectly compliments our already dynamic roster of consultants, and Cliff’s leadership of our new Executive Compensation Consulting Services practice area will further the firm’s commitment to enhance mission-driven, data-informed leadership and governance of organizations that make the world a better place.”

In addition to executive compensation consulting, Cliff’s work with Mission & Data will include supporting leaders in their intentional cultivation of healthy organizations, defined by minimal internal politics and confusion, high morale, low turnover, and increased productivity and results. Cliff is both a student and practitioner of organizational health and is heavily influenced by Pat Lencioni in this work. He has focused on organizational dynamics and improved culture in both schools where he served by building cohesive leadership teams, creating clarity, and communicating consistently.

Cliff has a deep knowledge of best practices in governance and appreciation for the challenges and rewards of trusteeship. In addition to working for and with two boards, Cliff has served on the boards and in various leadership capacities of the boards for the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), MISBO, the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), and the Association of LD Schools. He has served numerous times as a team member and chair of visiting accreditation teams for SAIS and FCIS.

Cliff graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University where he majored in accounting, and he finished second in his law school class, graduating summa cum laude from the University of Mississippi School of Law. He earned the CPA designation and practiced two years of public accounting with KPMG Peat Marwick before going to law school. Following law school, he practiced with Mississippi’s largest law firm before joining Jackson Academy in 2000. He and his wife, Heather, have two daughters, Ainsley who is attending Florida State University and Alise who is in high school.

Cliff will join Mission & Data in June of 2024. Prior to this date, he is available for limited engagements. If you would like to learn more about Cliff’s work and Mission & Data’s Executive Compensation Consulting Services, please contact him at or (866) 422–8473, extension 705.

Mission & Data is a firm dedicated to the effectiveness, health, and vitality of educational institutions and other organizations that make the world a better place. We are committed to enhancing mission-driven, data-informed leadership and governance by:

  • Consulting to promote financial sustainability, improve organizational effectiveness, and facilitate organizational transformation.
  • Developing custom data products, visualizations, and dashboards to highlight progress, identify trends, and leverage actionable insights.
  • Auditing current practices and analyzing organizational data to recommend process efficiencies and strategic improvements.
  • Coaching leaders and boards of trustees to enact institutional vision and build a culture of inquiry-based decision making practices.

If you would like to know more about how Mission & Data can help your organization, please contact us at



Ari Betof
Mission and Data

Co-Founder and Partner at Mission & Data; Husband; Father; Son