Bexley Board of Education {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Six candidates for the Bexley City School District school board will vie for three seats up for grabs in the Nov. 7 general election.The candidates include incumbents John Barno, Alissha Mitchell and Marlee Snowdon and newcomers Michelle Mineo, Tracey Parsons and April M. Walsh.Read more:Bexley school board hopefuls tout qualifications
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    John C. Barno Attorney

  • Michelle Mineo

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    Alissha M. Mitchell Property Management

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    Tracey Parsons Marketing Communications

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    Marlee A. Snowdon Attorney/Mediator

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    April M. Walsh Special Education Teacher/Transition Coordinator

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Biographical Information

Just since December 2016, the school district has lost several long-term officials who served its system. Treasurer Chris Essman, Superintendent Michael Johnson and technology director Paul Ross have vacated their positions, either retiring or taking another position. How would you help their replacements set goals moving forward? Are there specific topics you would like to see addressed under new leadership?

In early June, a group of families created Bexley Education Stronger Together to help improve special education services for students. The group indicated it was compiling a list of issues to address with new Superintendent Kimberly Miller. Do you have any thoughts on the district’s handling of special education and/or what could be improved? Do you have thoughts on how to communicate with parents who have concerns?

Last fall, the district began discussions to move its sixth-grade students out of its three elementary schools into Bexley Middle School. The proposal turned into a divisive issue for parents and staff, but it was ultimately initiated with the 2017-18 school year. What are your thoughts on how the process was handled? Do you think the district has provided adequate support in making the transition?

What else would you like to say to voters?

Age 49
Education B.A. degrees in Communications and Political Science - Heidelberg University; J.D. Degree - OSU Moritz College of Law
Experience Current Bexley School Board Member (elected Nov. 2013): Superintendent's Policy Committee, Bexley Schools Athletic Board, Technology Roundtable Committee
Family Wife, Karla, 1968 Bexley HS Graduate, Daughters Kayley (BHS '14), Abby (BHS '15), Ashley (BHS '16), Rylee (7th Grade)
Campaign website
Campaign email
Twitter @BarnoforBexley
I am proud to be a part of the hiring of our new Superintendent, Kimberly Miller, and new Treasurer, Kyle Smith, both of whom I consider to be of the highest quality and most capable people in their professions. Our primary goal with our new leadership has already begun - the creation of Governance Team Protocols. The Governance Team includes Ms. Miller, Mr. Smith, and the five Board members. The Protocols involve defining each of our roles when it comes to our one common goal - providing the best possible educational experience for EACH of our students. We have drafted these expectations, goals, obligations, and means of arriving at decisions that affect the District. The Governance Team met for a full Sunday in August, and for a full evening in September, and will meet again in October. These Protocols will guide us as we revise, update, and implement the District's Strategic Plan and Developmental Assets, two main topics we will address in 2018.
There is no question there have been some major issues in the delivery of our Special Education programs in the past. However, Samantha McMasters, our Director of Special Education, hired by the Board in 2014, has made excellent strides in improving the delivery of these services. I believe Ms. Miller has made the Special Education program one of her top priorities, and has worked closely with parents (including BEST), teachers, and staff, in conjunction with Ms. McMasters, to not only listen to the concerns, but take account of the concerns, questions, and suggestions from parents. The sixth grade move to Bexley Middle School will also help in the delivery of Special Education services as it helps consolidate resources and provide more effective interaction by our trained staff. The Board as a whole is committed to improving Special Education, and I trust in Ms. McMasters and Ms. Miller to determine to further improve Special Education, including communications with parents.
Certainly there were many lessons learned from the "roll out" of the sixth grade move to Middle School. Understandably there were many parents upset and taken by surprise by the proposal. The Board as a whole, and individual Board members, publicly acknowledged the problems with District's communications with parents on this issue. However, our Board listened to all voices and input from the community - both for and against the move. Personally, in order to make a fully informed decision before I voted on this issue, I met individually with many parents, did research, interviewed administrators, and talked with students and teachers. The Board voted for the move and I stand by and support our decision - as I do with every decision the Board AS A WHOLE makes on any issue (whether I personally agree with it or not). I believe each student transitioning to BMS (be it 6th or 7th grader) is provided with the excellent support from our highly capable teachers, staff and administrators.
I believe my EXPERIENCE, PASSION, and LEADERSHIP makes me an excellent candidate for School Board. My experience on the Board will help provide continuity in a time of major transition in the District, and build upon the accomplishments of our current Board. I will help provide the stability necessary in our District during this transition and help face new challenges. I am passionate about continuing our District's tradition of excellence. I am always amazed and inspired by our exceptional students, teachers, staff, and administrators, who always strive to be better. Lastly, I can provide the leadership necessary to tackle any new issues that will arise our District. For example, I spearheaded the Board's review of the District's communications and voted with our Board in hiring a full time Public Information Officer. Also, I am on the Superintendent's Policy Committee, the Athletic Board, and the Technology Roundtable where I can help lead our District forward.
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Age 42
Education BA from Ohio Dominican University
Experience 22 years in property and facilities management for premier management companies in Central Ohio, Human Resources and Contract Negotiations
Family Married Brian 5 Children, Miles 19, LeAnna 17, Christopher 13, Aedan 9, Bria 6, 1 dog...Duke
Religion Christian
Campaign website http://n/a
Campaign email
Our Board supported the approach of both Superintendent Kimberly Miller and Treasurer Kyle Smith to listen first, then learn so they could lead. We worked to establish a collaborative transition for both Ms. Miller and Mr. Smith before their official start date. This included access to valuable reference points and resources to reach that goal through community contacts and outreach, administrative and faculty team building and student input. Our goal as a board of education remains the same regardless of who is in leadership; Always put our students first. Our newly developed Governance Team (Superintendent, Treasurer, Board of Education) will chart our direction as we develop and implement a new Strategic Plan to guide our priorities for continuous improvement. We specifically delayed that process until our new leadership was in place as we value a collaborative process with all stakeholders. Together, we will address our challenges while fine-tuning our strengths.
I have two students of my own that benefit from our special education services. I support and understand the goals of BEST. I appreciate their thoughtful approach to engage district leadership in dialogue in support of our students. I am especially excited Ms. Miller did not hesitate to meet and hear the concerns of the BEST families in her first 90-days. BEST with Ms. Miller and our Director of Special Education, Samantha McMasters, has established something vital to any successful partnership-a relationship. This requires communication on both parts between our families and district leadership. Ms. Miller will work to build a trusted partnership among our district team and our families to determine and successfully support our families and their needs.
We initially heard the presentation in October 2015. After 3 community forums to hear concerns and questions followed by an extensive presentation by our administration, faculty and former Superintendent to specifically address those concerns; The board conducted administrative interviews, welcomed public comment for 5 months before voting and supporting our administration as they worked to establish a transition team of parents, students, faculty and community members to address non-academic and logistic concerns. We maintained traditions for students impacted and prepared for the move by implementing a student to student mentoring program, faculty professional development, family information nights on technology, clubs and course offerings, as well a morning coffee session to hear progress and get feedback with Ms. Miller. We are fortunate to have an administration and faculty with such professionalism, talent and dedication to serving our students with a smooth transition.
I am the first elected African-American board member in the history of Bexley schools. I provide perspectives that our board has welcomed and embraced in deliberations and decisions for the future of our students. We as a community are committed to inclusive space and I am happy to be the voice at the table that engages dialogue with reference points that were simply not possible when those voices were not participating in the conversation. While serving on the board, we have hired a new Superintendent, a new Treasurer, a new full-time Public Information Officer, successfully reconfigured our middle school, adopted the first policy to support gender identity and expression in central Ohio, we continue to review and update district policies centered on student success. We passed the 1st ever Permanent Improvement Levy at no additional tax to our residents. We are focusing on growth, bold new ideas but our board has only scratched the surface of this work and I hope to continue it!
Education Ohio State University, Journalism
Family Married to Steve Parsons for 22 years. We have an 11-year-old son.
Campaign email
Twitter @traceyforbexley
As difficult as change can be, it is also critical to evolve and grow. As with how I operate professionally, I think it will be important to plug into all of the community stakeholders to set those goals. Talking to parents, taxpayers, teachers, and students should help inform our goals as a district. I view this as I do my experience working in the corporate world. Goals must be set that align with the purpose and values of the community. I would take my experience as a consensus builder to help connect our new leaders more closely with these stakeholders. I would love to see the following topics addressed under the new leadership: Community connection and collaboration, better communications, and fiscal responsibility.
I hope to spend a lot of time listening to the Bexley Education Stronger Together team, and studying best practices in special education. If we have a group of parents coming together to get issues addressed, they need to have their voice heard and their challenges addressed. I am running because I want our district to connect more closely to the community. We have so many smart, passionate and creative people in our community and those same characteristics are apparent in our teachers and administrators. I feel that this is an area where we can start connecting all of these smart, passionate, creative people to build solutions. I am proud of this group for raising their voices. It’s a conversation we need to be having. Every child deserves an amazing public education experience. I think this is an area that has some boundless opportunity on how we serve different learners most effectively. Our world is no longer one size fits all.
Personally, I was disappointed with the process. Parents wanted to understand "why?" and "how?" and I am not sure that I, as a parent, got that answer. I would love to see a process where we are more actively engaging the community to develop shared purpose. From my point of view, everyone in Bexley is essentially a shareholder in our schools. We pay taxes and our children are educated to go take on the world. As I would treat any investment I make, I want to know what’s on the roadmap, and why. I want to see the data that supports the decision to make a big change and I want to feel confident that the outcome will increase my share value. In that spirit, it’s my intent to listen, meet with, and connect with our community to build a shared purpose around our collective investment in our schools. In terms of how it was implemented, I feel they did the best that they could with such a short timeline. Completing a reconfiguration that touches 4 schools in one year is a stretch.
My work allows me to talk with, teach, and inspire leaders in the business community. This work is about using communications, and transparency to create shared goals and purpose. I teach brands how to communicate with humility, how to manage overwhelming change with grace, and how to treat every individual with respect because everyone is a potential customer. I’d love to bring these skills to our schools: to infuse transparency, to create more opportunities to collaborate, to strengthen the community and school bonds through experiences that inspire a shared purpose.

In addition, I feel uniquely qualified to work with our district as we embark on the creation and execution of our own new strategic plan. Working with some of the world’s biggest brands, I have helped these brands transform the way they attract and hire talent. The execution needs to be done with thought, collaboration, and care. This is what I do, and what I would love to bring to our board of education.
Age 49
Education BA University of Southern California JD Pepperdine University School of Law
Experience Served on the Bexley Board of Education since 2010, Vice President 2012-14, and President 2014-16. I was awarded the Ohio School Board Award of Achievement in 2017 and the Bexley Friend of Education on 2008.
Family Husband: Rick 3 Children: Hank (19), Theo (16) and Phoebe (14) all have attended Bexley Schools for entire careers
Religion Episcopalian
Through the recent personnel changes we have gained amazing new energy and leadership. There is no doubt our previous administrators left behind a legacy of excellence, but I firmly believe that by hiring Kim Miller and Kyle Smith we have already begun the essential task of stepping forward into growth. That is one reason I am seeking re-election – I am excited to be part of this critical transition and know that my experience as the longest-serving Board member will allow me to provide valuable guidance as they begin their important work.

Specifically, we need to engage our entire community to update our strategic plan so that it reflects our current aspirations and expectations. I also believe that we need to continue to improve our response to special education and equity issues as well as the quality of our communications to parents and residents. I think that we are making very positive inroads in these areas, but it is essential that we remain laser focused.
I am grateful that we have such engaged and passionate community members to create an organization like BEST. Their collaborative and conscientious approach has helped Ms. Miller as she examines the district’s legacy special education policies and processes. Having open and frank discussions with BEST about continuous improvement will help us communicate with parents who have concerns and strengthen our goal of providing the best education for each child.

I believe we can improve by becoming more effective in delivering our foundational reading instruction and our response to intervention across our district. We also need to continue to be pro-active about Child Find, Section 504 plans, communication and all other areas of special education so that each family trusts that we are partner-advocates in their child’s education. I will push our new leadership team to make sure that improvement and communication remain a top priority.
After much deliberation, I came to believe the move was a very good idea because it created better opportunities for our students to grow academically and socially however, I was frustrated with the quality of the district’s communication with the community. In the future, having a overriding strategic plan in place (as I referenced above) should help communicate the breadth and depth of benefits when opportunities to improve the educational offerings to our students arise. In the case of the 6th grade move, better communication clearly linked to our shared mission and vision would have fostered more positive conversations on the topic.

That being said, I am pleased with the way our top-notch administration and staff has implemented the transition for all of our middle school students this year. As with every transition, there will be lessons learned, but I know there is a thoughtful plan in place with individuals implementing it who care deeply about the success of each student.
I believe my passion, insight and experience make me the best candidate for the Bexley Board of Education. During my two terms on the Board, I have a proven track record of working collaboratively with the administration, supporting our exceptional staff and always exhibiting financial responsibility. As a parent, attorney, and community advocate I will work to ensure that our district continues to perform at the highest levels while supporting and challenging each student in our schools.
Age 33
Education Bachelor of Science in Education: Intervention Specialist K-12; Masters of Education: Curriculum and Instruction/Tech.
Experience 2013-Present: Special Education Transition Coordinator in Columbus City Schools; 2007-2013: High School Multiple Disabilities Special Education Teacher in Columbus City Schools
Family Married to my best friend, and fellow educator, Chris Weyand. We have 4 amazing children, all attending Bexley Schools.
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My years of experience serving in public education would make me a valuable member of the Board. Education is a field that requires classroom experience in order to truly understand educational policy and the impact it has on teaching and learning. In my current role as a Transition Coordinator, it is my job to work with students and multiple team members including parents, community agencies, administrators, and more, to develop post-secondary goals for students, and create plans to achieve them. My daily experienced skills in collaboration and goal setting will translate well into the work of a Board member.

I would like to see our special education services and communication improve. We are growing as a district and are serving more diverse students. Bexley is packed with individuals, who are eager to make this district the best it can be. We should embrace and encourage communication, collaboration, and transparency, to promote a true community partnership with all members.
I have spent over 10 years working in the field of special education, in addition to being the parent of children receiving special education services in Bexley. This is an area that is long overdue for necessary improvements. I think as a district we need to evaluate all areas within the special education department in order to identify aspects that need improved. I am an active member of the BEST group and think they are a proactive and positive group of community members, dedicated to improving the district. BEST is ready to work collaboratively with the district to not only improve our special education services, but to make a cultural change in our community in regards to special education, diversity, and inclusion. We need to improve our communication and be more proactive with informing our parents and community members on the state of our district. Parents who have concerns should know exactly how to voice those concerns and should be responded to appropriately and promptly.
Whether the move was supported or not, I know that many community members agree that the proposal and decision was not handled well. The district had the opportunity to show its community that they value and respect their opinions and commitment to our schools, and failed to do that. I think the district did try to provide supports to make sure the transition was smooth. The district put together a 6-8 Transition Committee, on which I served, with the goal of making recommendations to the building and district level administrators as well as the Board of Education. Our new superintendent, Kim Miller, is aware of this recent change and the impact it had on our community. She is meeting with community members to create an open dialog on how they feel the transition is working and how it can be improved. I am hopeful as we move forward that we will see more of these opportunities to work collaboratively with our district leaders.
Thank you for your support thus far. Your passion and dedication to this district inspires me, and compelled me to seek this office. I hope to earn the opportunity to bring my skills gained through my years of experience in the field to the Board, to help Bexley City School continue to improve and evolve.
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