Dr. James Scharff, PhD

Executive Director,
25 Year Member
Most Valuable Member Gold
Affiliate Executive Director

Executive Director,


I came to the ASBO world through the avenue of being a jr/sr high school teacher, building administrator, superintendent with the last 15 years of k-12 professional service as the director of finance and support services. Since 2002 I have been employed by Iowa State University as a professor of school finance and director of the Iowa School Business Management Academy at the university. Iowa ASBO has contracted with the university for my services as 0.5 FTE Executive Director of Iowa ASBO.

The critical importance of having skilled school business officials was first impressed upon me when I learned they have responsibility to properly manage and account for over 40% of the our state general fund budget and 50% of local property taxes. It was this sense of importance to the students and taxpayers that pressed me to enhance our School Business Management Academy to an assessment based model and work to promote the passage of legislation to require business officials to be trained and credentialed.


Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa, United States
Ph.D., 1998
Ed Leadership and Policy Studies
1996 To 1998
Dissertation: An analysis of public school financial allocation policy alternatives supported by selected education groups in Iowa
Advisor: Wm Poston, Ph.D.

Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa, United States
C.A. S., 1975
Executive Administration
1973 To 1975

University of South Dakota
Vermillion, South Dakota, United States
M.A., 1970
Secondary Administration
1968 To 1970

University of South Dakota
Vermillion, South Dakota, United States
B.S., 1968
Math Education
1964 To 1968

Job History

Executive Director
Ames, IA, United States
July 2002 - present

Iowa State University
Senior Clinical Professor - Ph.D. Students in School Administration
Ames, IA
August 2002 - July 2011

Mason City Community Schools
Executive Director of Finance and Support Services
Mason City, IA, United States
August 1987 - June 2002

Laurens-Marathon Community Schools
Laurens, IA, United States
July 1979 - July 1987

Primghar Community Schools
Primghar, IA, United States
June 1976 - June 1979

Primnghar Community Schools
High School Principal
Primghar, IA, United States
July 1972 - June 1976

Iowa Department of Public Instruction
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
Des Moines, IA, United States
August 1971 - June 1972

Rock Valley Community Schools
Jr / Sr high school teacher - math
Rock Valley, IA, United States
August 1968 - May 1971

Geographical Region

  • Midwest

Job Classification

  • ASBO Affiliate


  • Ph.D