Iowa School Business Management Academy

The Iowa School Business Management Academy (ISBMA or “the academy”) prepares school business managers, board secretaries, and school administrators for performance of their business management responsibilities. The courses are designed to improve management and leadership abilities of school personnel responsible for human resource services, business functions, and finance operations in Iowa’s schools.

Certification Program

A. The four-year sequential program is offered each spring. 

  • Upon completion of Levels I-IV, participants are eligible for an academy “diploma”.
  • Participants also have the option to complete corresponding online assessments. Each student who earns a score of at least 75% accuracy on a minimum of one of three possible attempts for each of the Levels I-IV will receive special recognition of proficiency at the end of the four-year sequence.

B. Following the completion of Levels I-IV, annual graduate level courses for ongoing professional development in the areas of school finance and business management are offered at the spring academy.

All sessions offered in Levels I-IV and in the graduate level are approved for SBO licensure renewal credit through the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.

C. The Academy has been approved by the Iowa Department of Education to serve as a provider of a New School Business Official (SBO) Authorization Program, as required by Iowa law effective on July 1, 2012. This two-year New SBO Authorization Program provides the training and support, and subsequent instructional hours, needed for a new SBO to move from temporary or initial SBO authorization to standard SBO authorization in the state of Iowa.

Instructors/Advisory Committee

Approximately 40 instructors serve the Academy annually. Each is a highly qualified and respected Iowa practitioner in a field related to the curriculum; many have advanced degrees or certification such as MBA, law degree, CPA. Academy students provide regular feedback on both course content and instructional effectiveness that is shared individually with each instructor and also in an annual summary report to the academy’s Professional Growth Advisory committee.

The advisory committee, which includes representatives from the following professional organizations/groups, provides ongoing guidance relative to the content and format of the academy:

  • Iowa Association of School Business Officials (IASBO)
  • School Administrators of Iowa (SAI)
  • Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB)
  • Office of the State Auditor of Iowa
  • Iowa Department of Education (DE)
  • Area Education Agency (AEA) Business Managers

Co-directors of ISBMA

  • Tom Cooley,, (cell) 515-975-7115
  • Denise Ragias,, (cell) 641-821-8650
  • Carla Schimelfenig,, (cell) 515-745-9712