From Finance to Football, Carter Moves Andover Upfield

With a crowd of cheering Andover students behind him, Stephen Carter paced along the sidelines of the football field at Phillips Exeter Academy. He observed the game’s progress and occasionally paused to discuss game strategy with his fellow coaches Leon Modeste and Lou Bernieri. When the final horn sounded, a wave of blue engulfed Carter and the football team as Andover students stormed the field in a 24-14 victory over Exeter. Last Saturday’s Andover/Exeter Day was not a regular day for Phillips Academy’s Chief Financial Officer Stephen Carter. On most days, Carter works in his office in George Washington Hall or attends meetings with other administration members. But alongside his job as Andover’s CFO, Carter has served as an assistant coach for the Andover football team since 1986. Carter said, “Football has always been a big interest of mine. It just was something I wanted to continue doing because I enjoy the game and I enjoy the strategy.” He continued, “In this job, you don’t have a great deal of access to students. You don’t really interact with them naturally that much. But with football, it’s a nice way for me to get to know 40 kids at the beginning of the year and know them for the rest of the year.” Stephen Carter was born and raised in Portsmouth, N.H. He attended a local public high school, where he played center position in football. Later, Carter earned a B.A. in engineering from Brown University and a master’s degree in mathematics from Wesleyan University. Carter said, “I was really good at math because it was just something I liked to do. When I went to college, I majored in engineering. I tried engineering for a year and a half and eventually I decided I wanted to do something else. The part of engineering I liked most was the math. I had always wanted to teach, so I decided to try teaching math.” He applied for a teaching position in math at Phillips Academy after seeing an advertisement in The New York Times. He began his career at Phillips Academy as an Instructor in Mathematics in 1980 and continued teaching math until 2004. From 1981 to 1986, Carter was the Cluster Dean of Pine Knoll. He then served as Associate Dean of Studies and Scheduling Officer from 1986 to 1991. From 1995 to 2000, he was Dean of Students and Residential Life. In 2000, he was selected to be Dean of Faculty. Head of School Barbara Chase appointed Carter to Chief Financial Officer in the spring of 2004. Carter also oversees Andover’s outreach programs, such as Andover Breadloaf, the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers, Math and Science for Minority Students (MS2), Summer Session and the PALS community service program. “Steve is a loyal, trustworthy man. You’re not going to find a guy who’s more loyal, trustworthy, or candid,” said Modeste. “Also, he works. There’s not a slacker bone in his body.” As CFO, Carter helps to manage Andover’s budget and oversees the finances of the school. He often works with faculty members, including Director of Facilities Michael Williams, Director of Technology Valerie Roman, and Comptroller and Assistant Treasurer Elliot Hacker. Carter said, “I don’t really have a background in finance. I’ve learned a lot in the last four years. But as a math teacher, I know how to do the math part. Basically, I’ve gone to a lot of workshops and mini-courses and learned a lot from on-the-job training.” “In my job, I go to a lot of meetings and answer a lot of email. Basically, I talk to people about different issues that are coming up, usually about some funding that they need or some risk management that they want to check out,” he continued. One of the most interesting elements of being Chief Financial Officer is working on the endowment with Chief Investment Officer Amy Falls, said Carter. “The endowment is a big factor in what the school is, what it will be and what it can be. So, it’s a really important area for our attention. It’s interesting to strategize and figure out how to maximize our investment returns for the school,” said Carter. “We try to structure the endowment to maximize our returns through the way we allocate our assets to different areas of the economy.” Carter is a member in the Association of Business Officers of Private Schools (ABOPS), an association composed of forty private schools that convenes twice a year. After working with peer schools, Carter believes that Andover is ahead of the game regarding its financial policies. “We’re the first school [within our peer group] in the country to decide to have an investment office because we thought it would help our returns, and now other schools are looking to see if they want that or not. [The investment office] so far has paid some dividends for us. In a lot of ways, I think we’ve been way ahead in the way we deal with financial aid and the amount of financial aid we’ve given,” said Carter. He added, “We have one of the lowest tuitions of the group. We’ve made an effort to make sure our tuition stays as low as possible on a relative basis, although it’s certainly not low on an absolute basis.” Describing his specialized role as CFO, Carter said, “I see myself as trying to shepherd the mission of the school forward through the Strategic Plan. I try to get that done in prudent financial ways…I’m trying to make the education at Phillips Academy better and more interesting, just like everyone else here, but somebody’s got to do it from the financial side.” Carter’s interests in football are displayed in his office, which is adorned with black-and-white photographs of him coaching on the football field during a game against Loomis Chaffee in 2004. “I’ve been coaching with Steve for 21 years. He is an excellent coach, very thorough,” said Modeste. “He is able to impart knowledge to students, Coach Bernieri and me so we can develop a game plan. He has a dedication to developing a team with a ‘non sibi’ team approach…He’s out there trying to make the whole team better.” A large poster of Albert Einstein, which he has owned since 1977, hangs above Carter’s computer in his office. The Einstein poster has followed Carter wherever he goes, from his old classrooms in Morse to his current office in GW. Carter said, “He’s my inspiration. He’s a big thinker. You’ve got to think big.”