CDF Logo RGB     RDF Logo RGB

The challenges have never been tougher. The need has never been greater.

"The CDF program provides directors of facilities with a personal checklist to ensure that we're equipped to serve the needs of students, staff and community in an ever-changing profession. It also allows professionals the ability to communicate related experience and how it aligns with expectations and responsibilities. Schools have become very demanding customer service and safety-driven environments; to navigate successfully, we need to continually enhance our knowledge, resources and creative thinking abilities. The CDF program is a great way to support and fulfill this purpose."
~Keith Watkins, CDF, City School District of New Rochelle

CDF Logo      Click on the CDF image for the list of Facility Management Professionals who achieved the CDF designation.

RDF          Click on the RDF image for the list of Facility Management Professionals who achieved the CDF designation.

What Does the CDF Program Do?

The CDF Program certifies that you are a professional, who is:

  • Fully qualified and competent to handle the duties and responsibilities of your profession.
  • Continually upgrading skills to match the latest school systems and procedures.
  • Committed to a Code of Ethics insuring the highest level of personal and professional conduct. 

For you, the CDF Program will:

  • Provide verification of your knowledge and skills, proof that you are one of the best of the best.
  • Open doors of opportunity.
  • Offer a path to professional knowledge, growth and recognition.
  • Provide opportunity to network among peers who have achieved certification and will serve as valuable career contacts.
  • Offer opportunity for greater earning potential and career advancement.

Who is Eligible?

You can apply for your CDF if you:

  • Are a paid, Active member of the SFA in good standing
  • Have at least five years' experience in the operation or maintenance of educational facilities*
  • Currently are employed as a full-time director of facilities (as defined in the NYSSFA by-laws) by an educational facility in New York State
  • Demonstrate knowledge, and the ability to apply professional skills, in five key area
  • Pledge to adhere to the NYSSFA Certified Director of Facilities Code of Ethics
  • You demonstrate knowledge in, and the ability to apply, the professional skills in five core competencies in the management of educational facilities:

         1. Personnel management in facility operations
         2. Technical systems in school facility operations
         3. Principles of school facility management
         4. Codes, standards, administrative and legal rules
         5. Environmental and occupational safety and health

Registered Director of Facilities (RDF)*

If you have not worked five years in the operation and maintenance of educational facilities but you meet all the other requirements, you can obtain your Registered Director of Facilities (RDF) certificate. Then, at your fifth anniversary of working as a director of school facilities, you will receive your CDF.

"The CDF program is a wonderful vehicle to increase the level of knowledge and skills utilized by all school facilities managers."
~Peter Riggi, CDF, Retired Director of Facilities, Schuylerville CSD

How Do You Earn Your CDF?

Earning the CDF designation requires the accumulation of qualifying points. The point system represents a broad-base of knowledge and experiences of the candidates. Completion of the Personal Data Portfolio (PDP), written and oral exams, seminars and training courses, and volunteer leadership in the organization are some examples of accomplishments that qualify for the point accumulation system. A total of 600 points is required.

  • Apply. Review the CDF brochure, complete and return the application, together with the nonrefundable fee. When we receive your application, we will send you instructions on completing the rest of the process. You'll also receive a list of CDF mentors who can support you and answer your questions.
  • Complete your Personal Data Portfolio. The PDP helps the CDF Committee evaluate your qualifications in the five key areas (see what skills and abilities you have to demonstrate?). You can demonstrate qualifications in two ways: through documented work experience (a detailed, chronological narrative that you prepare, with affidavits from work references) and education (a listing of schools and colleges attended, programs of study, etc., with transcripts from the schools). The CDF Committee evaluates the PDP and awards credit toward certification in certain areas, according to your demonstrated strengths.
  • Take the CDF exam. Consisting of multiple-choice questions, several essays and an oral test, the exam focuses on your technical and managerial abilities in the five key areas. You can take the exam once your PDP has been approved. A grade of 70 on each exam section is required for passing.
  • Interview with the CDF Committee. A problem-solving interaction scenario similar to a job interview. Through this process, the committee examines the candidate's ability to respond to situations an experienced facilities director may face.

“I obtained my Certified Director of Facilities designation in 2018 with the encouragement and mentorship from the leaders of the Southern Fingerlakes Chapter. It’s a great way as a facilities director to reflect on your career and realize what you have to offer for our schools and the people we serve. It was well worth the time and effort to accomplish the accreditation.”
~Joe Pollinger, CDF, Arkport CSD

Download the brochure and application.SFMI CDF Brochure cover

What Skills and Abilities Do You Have to Demonstrate?

You demonstrate abilities in five key areas overall, with a wide variety of competencies in each:

  • Management of Personnel in Facility Operations
    • Human relations management of principles of human value systems, behavior, needs, motivation, behavior modification.
    • Communications, “verbal and written”, body language perceptions, methods, feedback.
    • Organizational management, organizational functions, group behavior, social behavior and constraints, work qualifications, principles of power and authority.
    • Trade knowledge facility in construction trades, their job descriptions, the knowledge base requirements of each trade, job relationships.
    • Education and training, educational outcomes, goals and objectives, lesson plans, outcome measurements.
  • Technical Systems in School Facility Operations
    • Architectural systems, masonry, fireproofing, metals, carpentry, moisture protection, insulation, roofing, siding, windows, glass, finishes, space requirements and utilization.
    • Civil, structural systems, site work, piles and foundations, demolition, excavation and backfill, site drainage and sanitary sewers, fencing, roads and walks, reinforced concrete, structural steel.
    • Mechanical systems, piping systems, hangers and supports, valves, control devices, insulation, sheet metal work, piping identification, plumbing fixtures and trim, special piping systems, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, heat transfer equipment, refrigeration, combustion, control systems, site work, testing.
    • Fire protection systems, stand pipes, fixed systems, inert gas systems, sprinkler systems, building materials, fire zoning, ventilation control, testing, national fire codes.
    • Electrical Systems, main and distribution systems, feeders, motors, controllers, telephone systems, fire alarm systems, smoke detection systems, emergency equipment, communications systems, NFPA# 70, testing.
    • Energy conservation, heat transfer, combustion efficiency, power factor, fluid dynamics, management control, solar/wind/geothermal energy, control systems, maintenance of energy systems.
    • Site systems, grounds maintenance, landscaping, grading, roads, parking lots, outside stairways, outside lighting, drainage, site structures, site work, equipment.
    • Security systems, laws and techniques required for security operations at industrial, public, and mercantile establishments. Crime prevention principles and equipment necessary for the protection of personnel and property.
    • Transportation systems, vehicle capitalization, maintenance, operations, routing, legal requirements, safety operations, driver qualifications.
  • Principles of School Facility Management
    • Blueprint reading, architectural, civil/structural, mechanical, electrical drawings, graphs, model building, other methods of presenting technical concepts.
    • Principles of measurement: application of mathematics to technical problems. Included are volumes, area, hydraulics, mechanical devices, heat transfer, electricity, lighting, business, structures.
    • Managerial accounting, financial statements, income determination, account classification, charter accounts, inventories and their evaluation.
    • Budgeting: revenue, operational course projections, capital maintenance, capital improvements, equipment and tools, fuels, expendable supplies.
    • Project management:  Project coordination, understanding project budget, liaison between contractors/vendors and administration.
    • Material purchasing, handling and storage specifications, vendor qualifications, vendor selection, shipping considerations, material handling, warehousing, inventory control, maintenance of materials, equipment and the storage facility, cooperative purchasing.
    • Estimating use of plans, specifications, and other technical documents, material bills, labor productivity, maintenance requirements of materials and labor, cost related, burden and other associated subjects.
    • Production management, production process, criteria, analysis, labor productivity planning, scheduling of manpower, material, money, equipment for overall and individual facility operations or maintenance.
    • Facility maintenance systems, physical plant inventory, manufacturer maintenance and operations instructions, preventive maintenance, inspections, tests, labor productivity and other associated subjects.
    • Computer literacy, selection of data processing systems, operating systems, facility operations software programs, data banks, basic programming.
  • Codes, Standards, Administrative and Legal Rules
    • Codes, Standards and Administrative Rules, facility code process, specific relevant codes and the agencies creating them, standards for the construction, operations and maintenance of facilities, administrative rules established by employer and senior authority having jurisdictions.
    • Real property contracts, laws affecting real property and their improvements, surveys, construction documents, mechanic liens, judgments, arbitration, property encumbrances, claims.
    • Judicial process, administrative agencies and process, common law, Sherman Antitrust Law, New York Education Laws, labor laws, ethics and morality.
    • Insurance for vendors liability, property damage, Worker’s Compensation, bonds (performance, completion in payment), vehicular.
  • Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health
    • Environmental Safety and Health USCFR Section 40, environmental considerations that effect human and animal life through contamination of their vital support systems (ie. air, water, earth, weather, food, combustion, asbestos, site dumping, industrial processing.)
    • Occupational Safety and Health USCFR Section 29, occupational safety and health considerations for employment environment. Management responsibilities, organization, training, inspections, use of hazardous substances.


  • I will recognize that management is a call to service with responsibilities to my subordinates, associates, supervisors, employer, community, nation and world.
  • I will be guided in all my activities by truth, fair dealings and good taste.
  • I will earn and carefully guard my reputation for good moral character and citizenship.
  • I will recognize that, as a leader, my own pattern of work and life will exert more influence on my subordinates than what I say or write.
  • I will give the same consideration to the rights and interests of others that I ask for myself.
  • I will maintain a broad and balanced outlook and will look for value in the ideas and opinions of others.
  • I will regard my role as a manager as an obligation to help subordinates and associates achieve personal and professional fulfillment.
  • I will keep informed on the latest techniques, equipment and processes associated with the practice of management and the facility in which I am employed.
  • I will search for, recommend and initiate methods to increase productivity and efficiency.
  • I will respect the professional competence of my colleagues in the CDF Program and will work with them to support and promote the goals and programs of the Association.
  • I will support efforts to strengthen professional management through example, education, training and a lifelong pursuit of excellence.


Continual professional development is essential for today's Director of Facilities to keep pace with a rapidly changing work environment. Certified Directors of Facilities (CDFs) have been recognized as distinguished members of their field for, among other things, their commitment to professional development.

The CDF Recertification Program is designed to acknowledge the CDF's and RDF'scontinued commitment to the field of school facilities management. To retain the CDF or RDF credential, a Certified Director of Facilities and Registered Certified Director of Facilities must accumulate 75 points for continuing education/professional development, leadership, New York State School Facilities Managers annual conference participation, instruction, or writing every five years. The CDF or RDF must submit the attached CDF/RDF renewal form with payment.

Recertication Procedures

SFMI will mail notices to all CDFs and RDFs reminding them of maintenance requirements. A report on maintenance points for the personal file of each CDF or RDF can be submitted at any time the CDF or RDF has earned the total 75 points of continuing education/professional development. You may reproduce this report form on your computer or include additional pages as necessary. Renewal forms are retained for five (5) years.

Recertication Points System

The CDF Committee has identified several areas of educational professional development and leadership roles through which renewal may be maintained. They are listed below by categories. The Committee will continuously review other options to identify those activities, which in its judgment merit inclusion. The following point rating codes are to be used for professional development:

  • Attendance at New York School Facilities Managers Annual Professional Development Conferences & Expo - 5 points
  • Attendance at NYSSFA Annual Chapter Workshop - 2 points
  • Leadership roles - 2 points
  • 3 hour or half-day program - 3 points
  • 6-8 hour or full day program - 6 points
  • Mohawk Valley Community College or other College course - 8 points
  • Instructional presentation - 2 points
  • Instructional writing - 3 points

Download the Recertification Brochure.

Conference Participation

All CDF's must attend at least two New York School Facilities Managers Annual Professional Development Conferences & Expos in a five year period. Participation in the Annual Professional Development Conference & Expo is worth 5 points for every year a CDF attends.

"Professional development is critical, and it is clear that the Association and its members take their obligation to stay current seriously. The Certified Director of Facilities (CDF) program is a great way to acknowledge this professionalism."
~Carl Thurnau, P.E., former Coordinator of Facilities Planning, NYS Education Department and currently with City School District of New Rochelle

Accreditation Committee

(Feel free to contact an Accreditation Committee member with any questions you have about the CDF program.)

Keith Watkins, CDF - Chair
Assistant Director of Facilities
School District of New Rochelle
515 North Avenue
New Rochelle, NY 10801
Phone: (914) 576-4222
Fax: (914) 576-4479

Michael Coghlan, CDF 
Director of Facilities
Horseheads CSD

507 Fletcher Street
Horseheads, NY 14845
Phone: (607) 795-5354

Elaine MacLachlan, AADC
Assistant Director of Facilities II
Skaneateles CSD
49 East Elizabeth St.
705 Criw Hill Rd.
Phone: (315) 291-2295