PIEDMONT -- New school district business official Song Chin-Bendib credits her father for instilling in her a love and respect for education.
It shows because Chin-Bendib has worked for school districts large and small, in risk management, bond finance, facilities and construction, budgets, personnel and more.
The hiring of Chin-Bendib was announced at the Aug. 20 school board meeting as part of an administrative reorganization. Assistant Superintendent Michael Brady will transition over to expand the adult education program to include online opportunities and independent study.
"We are expecting to return to (very) robust offerings for the community that we had through adult education years ago," Superintendent Connie Hubbard said.
Chin-Bendib will begin with the Piedmont Unified School District on Sept. 15. But she and Brady -- who has handled budgeting and numerous other fiscal and administrative tasks -- will work together through December before he takes up his new post.
"The new funding for adult school will include providing pathways for high school students to transition directly into career paths from graduation," Hubbard said.
Chin-Bendib's career path has included several school districts. From 2007 to the present, she was in charge of San Leandro Unified's food services, technology, budgets, facilities/construction, bond oversight and bargaining negotiations.
She has also worked for the South San Francisco Unified School District, Berkeley Unified, Tamalpais Union High School District and as a senior accountant for the Los Angeles County Office of Education.
She has faced challenges working with districts on their fiscal recovery plans to balance budgets, instituted practices for risk management and discovered glitches in accounting systems.
Chin-Bendib grew up in Malaysia, one of six children. She came to the United States as a young adult to attend Cal State University, San Bernardino, attaining her undergraduate degree in business. She partially completed her master's in business administration before relocating to Northern California. Her parents placed a high value on education. One of her siblings is a doctor, another a chemical engineer.
"We had incredible parents," Chin-Bendib said. "We were very poor, living in a Third World country. My parents couldn't finish high school. But my father was way ahead of his time. He was socially conscious and concerned about the environment. His heart was in public service and education. It is ingrained in my DNA."
Her father was an accounting clerk for a public utilities company. She would help him tally invoices and said she got her affinity for numbers "by osmosis."
Chin-Bendib said she thrives on challenges.
"I pride myself in analyzing situations very quickly, figuring out where the problem is and making an action plan," she said. "You listen to people and expand from there. But front and center are the students."
Hubbard is delighted to have Chin-Bendib -- who lives in Berkeley with her husband -- join the administrative team. The district is in negotiations over Chin-Bendib's salary.
"We look forward to working with her," Hubbard said. "Her expertise in school budgets and bond programs will help us in moving forward in assessing next steps for Alan Harvey and other facilities planning."