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Controller - The Primary School

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Job Title
Job Location
East Palo Alto, CA
Job Description


The Primary School is creating a new school model that brings together all of the adults in a child’s life, including parents, educators, and medical and mental health providers, starting from a very early age. We recognize the entrenched racism that exists within our public systems and the unjust impact this has had on families of color. Our aim is that children and families most impacted by systemic poverty and racism receive the multidisciplinary support they deserve to be well, learn, and thrive. 

Long-term, we hope to create a game-changing school model that can be replicated across the country. As we continue to learn and grow, we plan to share what we’ve learned and pursue policy and systems change on a local, state, and national level. We are supported by a growing coalition of philanthropic partners, building on the generous support of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Our approach has three defining characteristics:

  • We start early. We start working with children as young as 18 months and provide full-time school starting at age three to reach them at a critical stage in development. 
  • We partner with parents. We believe that when parents thrive, children thrive, so we support the wellness and growth of parents alongside the growth of their children.
  • We integrate services. Our unique model unites health care and education, building a multi-disciplinary team and holistic system of care around a child’s full needs.

In 2016, we opened our flagship school in East Palo Alto, California, with our first class of four year olds. We have grown to serve over 300 children and their families through a birth to three program, parent wellness program, full-day preschool, and elementary school, which will grow through eighth grade. In 2021, we opened our second site in the East Bay.


We are continuing to grow our East Palo Alto site and are excited to launch 6th grade for our 2023-2024 school year. In our school program, we currently serve over 350 students across two preschool grades (3 and 4 year olds) and kindergarten through fifth grade. Integrated into our program are the other core components of our model including our parent program - partnering closely with parents throughout their child’s development and providing wellness programming for caregivers; our birth to 3 program - coordinating early developmental screenings and intervention services; and our medical home partnerships - working with existing health care providers in the community to coordinate care for children.


We opened our second site with a founding class of four-year-old children and families who started preschool in August 2021, and continue to serve preschool students in our school program. Drawing on key learnings from our first site, core components of the model include our parent program - partnering closely with parents throughout their child’s development and providing wellness programming for caregivers; our birth to 3 program - coordinating early developmental screenings and intervention services; and our medical home partnerships - working with existing health care providers in the community, including Kaiser Permanente in the East Bay, to coordinate care for children. 


The Primary School is seeking a Controller to lead operations of multi-entity financial management, reporting, compliance, payroll, and general accounting functions. There is a heavy emphasis on day-to-day operational accounting such as managing accounts payable, revenue recognition, and grant administration. This position also requires in-depth knowledge of federal and state compliance requirements related to non-profits. The Controller works directly with the VP of Finance & Operations for financial reporting and analysis.

This position is open as a result of a planned retirement. You will receive cross training and guidance from the outgoing Director of Finance & Accounting.


  • Bookkeeping and accounting in Quickbooks.
  • Budgeting and forecasting in Budgetpak.
  • Coordinate and lead the financial management of The Primary School through budget preparation and monitoring, financial reporting, month-end close, record keeping, payroll, accounts receivable / payable, financial planning and financial controls.
  • Manage commercial insurance matters, including annual renewal process, contract review for insurance requirements and ensuring appropriate coverage is always maintained.
  • Supervise the Senior Accountant responsible for semi-monthly payroll processing, accounts payable, and bank reconcilations.
  • Coordinates the provision of information to external auditors for the annual audit and Form 990.
  • Comply with local, state, and federal government reporting requirements and tax filings.
  • Track grants, both restricted and unrestricted.
  • Prepare periodic grant reports.
  • Prepare government contract claim reports and ensure recordkeeping is in compliance with the contract(s).
  • Work closely with the VP of Finance & Operations to review monthly financials and management updates.
  • Interface with leadership team and staff to fulfill information requests and maintain reporting accuracy.


  • Minimum of a BA; CPA and/or MBA preferred.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Finance, Business or a related field.
  • Minimum 10 years of accounting experience.
  • Minimum 5 years of nonprofit accounting experience.
  • Knowledge of GAAP accounting principles.
  • Knowledge of Government Auditing Standards
  • Solid experience coordinating audit activities and managing reporting, budget development and analysis, accounts payable and receivable, general ledger, payroll, and operational accounting for a non-profit organization.
  • A track record in grants management as it relates to compliance and of corporate and foundation grants is essential.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
  • Extensive analytical skills and the ability to clearly communicate decisions, procedures and processes to a diverse group of people.
  • Professional manner and positive disposition.


Annual salary range begins at $106,900-$130,000; compensation is commensurate with qualifications and experience, plus excellent health benefits (health, dental, and vision), 401k retirement plan, flexible spending account (FSA), dependent care FSA, and generous paid time off, including a competitive paid parental leave benefit. TPS will cover 93% of the total premium cost for individual team members in our HMO and PPO plans, and 95% for individual team members in our HDHP plan. TPS also covers 50% of enrolled partners and/or dependents' costs on all three of our medical plans (HMO,PPO, HDHP). 

To ensure fair and equitable compensation for all of our employees, The Primary School has a no-negotiation policy on all offers extended. Final offers are determined using role descriptions, job market data, internal parity, and semi-annual benchmarking. We hope that this policy, paired with ongoing transparency in our compensation process, will make TPS a more fair, inclusive, and diverse culture. 


TPS values diversity; people of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Please complete the online application and submit your most recent resume. These short-answer questions are designed to replace a cover letter, so take your time with them and copy in your answers from a separate document. If you feel that the questions do not accurately capture what you have to offer The Primary School, you are also welcome to attach a cover letter. Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis so we encourage you to submit yours soon. We look forward to reading your application!

The Primary School provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.The Primary School complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the organization has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

The Primary School Headquarters Location

East Palo Alto, CA

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The Primary School Company Size

Between 100 - 500 employees

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