Dear School Facilities Professional:

What opportunities are available to you to improve your school district's facilities management department? The New York State School Facilities Association (NYSSFA), a nonprofit organization founded in 1954, is the only organization in New York State dedicated to serving the training needs of K-12 educational facility managers. In February 2003, the NYSSFA Board of Directors established the School Facilities Management Institute, Inc. (SFMI), a nonprofit organization created for the purpose of providing education and training programs on timely school facilities management issues. Educational programs are offered to Directors of School Facilities, their key staff and others interested in pursuing a career in the field. Some of the opportunities available through SFMI include:

  • Annual School Facilities Management Conference & Expo - The Association's annual conference brings together over 350 Directors of School Facilities and their key staff for three days of intense training on timely, need-to-know issues, and includes our expanded trade show, featuring nearly 200 vendors showcasing their products and services specific to school facilities management. This event provides a multitude of opportunities for networking with people in the facilities management field.

  • Regional Training - Through the Institute, we offer intensive, one-day regional training programs on topics that matter to our members. 

  • Webinars - Webinars - 3-4 webinars are planned per year on a variety of topics critical to the management of school facilities and grounds.

  • Degree Programs - These programs are offered through Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) and Empire State College, both SUNY schools. Students register with the college, take courses within the curriculum, and graduate with an Associate's Degree or a Technical Certificate upon meeting college requirements. While opening doors to individuals just starting out in the facilities management field, MVCC also provides new opportunities and important credentials to anyone already managing a school facility. All courses are offered online. 

Empire State College, of the State University of New York (SUNY), has partnered with SFA, SFMI and MVCC to provide a pathway to a bachelor's degree for graduates of the MVCC program in School Facilities and Management.

Students completing their A.A.S. in School Facilities Management from MVCC may transfer to Empire State College and complete a bachelor's degree in Business, Management and Economics with a concentration in Facilities Management.

Courses are available entirely online or through one of our 35 convenient NYS locations. Online academic advising, academic services, and credit for prior learning gained from work or life experience are available.

Students taking courses at Empire State College can acquire a total of 17 college level credits to put towards the Certified Director of Facilities designation.

  • School Facilities Managers' Academy - Are you new to the field of facilities management and looking to become a facilities director in the future? Or, do you need a refresher course in the latest information on code compliance, budgeting, and health and safety requirements? The Academy provides the knowledge needed to meet the demands of the job. This intensive two-day training program is offered each fall, in partnership with the NYS Education Department Office of Facilities Planning; and is a MUST for anyone new to the job. For those who took the Managers’ Academy, it offers a companion track in Personnel Management, Communications and Security and Emergency Management training.

  • The Certified Director of Facilities Program (CDF) - The designation of CDF recognizes the extensive professional experience and commitment to professional excellence of directors of facilities throughout New York State. Candidates submit a comprehensive portfolio of their career, sit for oral and written exams, and commit to be recertified every five years. Recertification involves a commitment to continued professional development and leadership in the field.

  • Affiliate Development Program (ADP) - Recognizing the need to foster opportunity and excellence on all levels, SFMI recently developed the Affiliate Development Program (ADP). ADP was designed for head mechanics, head custodians, health and safety and other school facilities personnel looking to grow and advance in the field. Participants meet defined criteria for training which culminates with a mock interview for a job as a facilities director.

Finally, we believe the greatest professional development opportunities come from a facilities director's involvement in SFA at the state and local levels. Each chapter offers monthly meetings, providing access to colleagues, workshops, and timely information that is extremely valuable in meeting the day-to-day operations and maintenance needs of the district.

Regulations, energy, technology, security and pressures to maintain budgets are forcing Directors of Facilities to stay on top of their game like never before. There are literally scores of projects and operational needs demanding our attention every day—and I haven't even mentioned boiler room safety and emission standards, integrated pesticide management, blood borne pathogens, hantavirus protection, OSHA employee safety inspection, hazardous materials, radon, lead, asbestos, fire drill and emergency evacuations, ladder and scaffold safety, noise pollution, and emergency disaster planning.

We've established that our schools are much more than four walls, a roof, and a chalkboard; today's school buildings and campuses are extremely complicated, as is the job of maintaining them. As a result, we have a myriad of responsibilities requiring us to know more, and strive to be the best we can in order to excel. Whether through SFA or SFMI's programs — or somewhere else - I hope you will make a commitment to on-going professional development. By researching information on our website, you clearly already have!

Sincerely,

Brian Bentley, CDF, Co-Chair
Director of Facilities, Greater Southern Tier BOCES

Carl Thurnau, PE, Co-Chair
Director of Facilities, City School District of New Rochelle