Bexley Board of Education
Three uncontested candidates ready to work
With Nov. 5 right around the corner, campaign signs have been popping up all around Bexley, in yards and on street corners.
However, three candidates are running uncontested for three seats on Bexley's board of education next month, cutting down on the number of signs this year.
A fourth candidate, Natalie Coles, had thrown her hat into the ring, but an error on her filing petition led to her elimination from the race.
It was her second attempt in seeking a board seat in as many years.
Those guaranteed a seat include the board's current president, Carol Fey; the board's current vice president, Marlee Snowdon; and John Barno, who conducted an unsuccessful bid for a seat on the board in 2011.
Elected in 2009, Fey is finishing her first term on Bexley's board of education and her second year as president of the panel. She previously served as the PTO president at Cassingham Elementary and Bexley Middle schools, in addition to participating on various district task forces and committees related to budget and curriculum.
She said it has been an honor to serve on the board for the past four years, and she hopes to continue to add to the progress of the district on many levels.
"As this term comes to a close, I feel I still have more energy and contributions to share," Fey said. "I continue to enjoy my service on the board. Of the five-member board, Marlee Snowdon and I are the 'senior members' with only one full term under our belts, and I believe that the board and district will benefit from the historical perspective and range of experience that results from having both of us continue through a second term."
She is also pleased with the district's current course.
"I believe that the district is in excellent condition as the result of the talent and experience of our dedicated faculty and administration. When voters approved the last school levy in 2010, we committed not to return for at least three years. We're headed into our fourth year now and thanks to the careful stewardship of the board and administration, as well as economic recovery since 2010, the district may well be able to make the levy period extend further.
"That is terrific news for Bexley taxpayers," she added.
"I also believe that the district provides a creative, forward-thinking environment that does an excellent job of providing educational opportunities for all of its students. I maintain a personal commitment to improving and enhancing the educational experience for students who have difficulty achieving their potential, to finding ways to enhance family and community support of our students, and to increase the diversity of our faculty and administration to better reflect the broader community in which our students will live and work."
Fey holds a bachelor's degree in political science-public administration from Miami University and a law degree from Ohio State University. Her private legal practice focuses on legal issues affecting families and children.
Elected in 2009, Snowdon has served as the board's representative on the school district's Athletic Board, Health and Wellness Committee, and the Bexley Department of Recreation.
Snowdon is a 16-year resident of Bexley.
"I am running again because I would like to continue to help serve this great district," Snowdon said. "I enjoy working with leaders in the field of education and am looking forward to seeing how new policies and positions that I have advocated for improve our schools."
Snowdon received her undergraduate degree in history from the University of Southern California in 1990 and her law degree from Pepperdine University in 1994. She practiced labor and employment law in Chicago and Houston before settling in Bexley and staying home to raise her children, she said.
Before joining the school board, she was the president of the Maryland Elementary PTO, as well as the co-chairwoman for the Maryland Playground Project and the districtwide effort to bring full-day kindergarten to Bexley.
Snowdon said she is pleased with the district's course and added she has no major changes to pursue, although the district's financial state is always on her mind.
"I am very pleased with the current state of our district. We have amazing staff and administrators who care deeply for our children and are engaged daily in challenging our students to be the best they can be. I think we can continue to improve in communication and clear and concise policy-making, but know that is a priority for our board, so we will continue to work on those things.
"I am also always concerned about our finances so we can avoid a levy for as long as possible, so I will continue to encourage vigilance in the management of our resources."
While on Bexley's school board, Snowdon led the effort to create a district Health and Wellness Committee, which has been responsible for a health and wellness summit as well as many activities such as "Try it Tuesdays" in local lunchrooms, running clubs, walk-to-school programs and an upcoming Family Fun and Fitness Expo.
Barno is an attorney and the owner/managing partner of Barno Law LLC, located in Bexley. He holds two bachelor's degrees from Heidelberg University, one in political science and one in communications. He also holds a law degree from the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.
Barno, a 15-year resident, has volunteered as a room parent, athletic coach for school and Bexley recreation teams, and with various activities with PTOs as well as a number of community organizations.
He is a past board member with the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce and its current second vice president.
"I decided to run again for the school board because I believe our schools can be more efficient with our resources, just like I have to do so with my small law firm," he said.
"I have a good idea of what it takes to run a business and make difficult decisions. Also, I see first-hand the financial impact of levies and taxes not only as a resident, but a business owner, so I'd like to see where we can redirect our resources where necessary so as minimize going back to the voters for levies."
He also has some firm ideas about what children need in today's world of education, saying " ... with ever-changing issues on curriculum, I believe Bexley schools can be leaders in creating a high academic standard but with a 'real world' education -- an example of this is the recently adopted Financial Literacy class for graduation.
"I also want to offer my time and efforts to a school district that has given my daughters a great advantage in moving toward college and beyond," he said.