I attended the organizational meeting of the Bexley Board of Education on Monday, Jan. 12. At that meeting, Andy Sutter was sworn in as president and Joan Fishel as vice president for the upcoming year. Both will do an outstanding job leading our district. At that same meeting, Steve Grossman and Diane Peterson announced they will be leaving the board at the conclusion of their 12- and eight-year terms, respectively. Both cited the need for fresh ideas and new energies as they announced their departures. Both noted their desire to give advance notice to community members pondering a board of education run.

I attended the organizational meeting of the Bexley Board of Education on Monday, Jan. 12. At that meeting, Andy Sutter was sworn in as president and Joan Fishel as vice president for the upcoming year. Both will do an outstanding job leading our district. At that same meeting, Steve Grossman and Diane Peterson announced they will be leaving the board at the conclusion of their 12- and eight-year terms, respectively. Both cited the need for fresh ideas and new energies as they announced their departures. Both noted their desire to give advance notice to community members pondering a board of education run.

As I listened to the current board issue statements of intent, I was transported back to the day I chose to run. Before my election, I had no long-standing relationships with any members of the board. Indeed, choosing to serve the students, faculty and community who make up the Bexley school system is not about pre-existing friendships, neighborhood affiliations or cliques, but I will tell you that over the course of my seven years, I made some outstanding friendships and learned much from my colleagues. With great anticipation, I will wait to learn who will choose to steer our school district in this time of unparalleled scholastic excellence coupled with tumultuous societal and economic challenges. An effective board of education is made up of folks who bring a variety of gifts and experiences, both personal and professional, to the table and who leave self-serving agendas at the door.

I wish to thank Diane Peterson for her two years as board of education president. Diane was a student in Bexley when I was a teacher. I guess that speaks to the age gap that can make for an effective working group. As president, she has been one of the most effective communicators we have had between community and administration. She listens graciously and confidentially, she has given of her time generously, she has attended the majority of district events, and she has not backed down when she believed the board was acting in the best interests of students and taxpayers. There are few people who have a more complete understanding of our district, its challenges and its potential.