New District 15 business director loves a challenge

Scott Nelson starts his day early.

Scott Nelson
Scott Nelson

The St. Francis School District 15 associate business services director is up around 3 or 4 a.m.

It comes from growing up on a dairy farm, Nelson said.

“I loved the work,” he said.

In high school he managed a dairy farm and would like to own one in the future, Nelson said.

Besides he would rather get his work done when his family is asleep and be home when they are awake, he said.

Nelson’s typical day is 10 to 14 hours.

Nelson is usually in his district office by 7 a.m.

A few days a week, Nelson drives to the Milaca School District office from his Litchfield home to complete any necessary work there as he is still working part-time for his previous employer until it can find a new business manager,

St. Francis is the ninth school district, which includes Spectrum Charter School, in which Nelson has run the finance department in his 31 years working in finance.

As the business services director, “I want to make sure what I am doing gives the staff the best opportunities to teach the students,” Nelson said.

“The students are the whole reason we are here.”

Nelson said he loves the challenge of his job.

School financing is difficult for people to understand and “every time you think you have it figured it out, they (state and federal agencies) change it,” he said.

Before taking the job with Milaca in January 2011, Nelson work for the Sleepy Public School District as finance director.

While commuting to Sleepy Eye, Nelson also attended the Minnesota School of Business in St. Cloud to complete a four-year bachelor of arts in business finance.

With just a two-year degree in accounting and business, Nelson said he was not getting the opportunities to advance in his profession.

Despite working in school finance for years as well as running his own financial services business, he was never selected to interview for some financing jobs, even in the districts where he had work for years, Nelson said.

“It was frustrating for me because having worked for 28 years in three districts, I did not get interviewed for the openings,” he said.

Nelson went back to school when he was 48 and received his diploma at 50 in December 2011.

“My greatest accomplishment is getting a four-year degree at 50 while running a charter school, being the custodian at my church, announcing at athletic events and working as a deejay at the Litchfield radio station (KLFD FM 1410),” Nelson said.

Nelson works at the radio station Sunday mornings, hosting the “Sunday Morning Memories” program.

The station owner heard him announcing a ball game and asked him if he would be interested in a radio job, he said.

Nelson took him up on the offer.

“It gets me away from what I do,” he said.

During his free time, Nelson, along with his wife and three sons, are avid golfers.

His boys are 25, 22 and 13, Nelson said.

All of them beat him at golf often, he said.

The oldest two have taken their high school teams to state tournaments and the youngest will likely be on the high school varsity team as an eighth-grader, Nelson said,

His wife has her own golfing accolades being the ladies’ club champion twice, he said.

Nelson can be seen driving around the golf course in 1955 Cushman golf cart he restored and painted red, honoring its former owner who was known as Red.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]