With the first-day introductions and paperwork long past, Carole Dorn-Bell has a full plate of responsibilities in the New Albany-Plain Local School District.

With the first-day introductions and paperwork long past, Carole Dorn-Bell has a full plate of responsibilities in the New Albany-Plain Local School District.

Dorn-Bell officially started as the district's director of communications two weeks ago, succeeding part-time district spokeswoman Lu Ann Stoia after her contract expired in February.

Dorn-Bell left an eight-year tenure in the Olentangy school district but said the two districts carry more than a few similarities.

"That definitely was part of the attraction," she said.

When Dorn-Bell was hired at Olentangy Local Schools, the Delaware County district was in a situation similar to what New Albany-Plain Local is in.

"I see New Albany right now where Olentangy was eight years ago, in terms of growth," she said. "I was the right person at Olentangy then, and right now I feel that it's the right time in New Albany."

Those similarities could help with the transition, she said.

"Implementation will be easier because I know what it looks like," she said.

Dorn-Bell said she has been prioritizing because there is a lot to do. She has tried to talk with school principals and other people to see what they're used to doing, she said.

"I have to understand the culture here first and foremost, and then from there it's understanding where to go," she said.

Combining communications and technology has occupied some of Dorn-Bell's time thus far. She said she has worked with district Webmaster Brad Tippett on a few ideas.

"This is the start of something. I just did a press release on the Smart Growth (Coalition's recommendations), and we're trying to figure out where we're going with it -- where it can go -- so news releases have more prominence on the Web site," she said. "It's all about targeting the audience."

The district's search for a communications director was done quickly. With an operating levy, permanent improvement levy and bond issue possible this year, Dorn-Bell said, communication is vital.

"What makes it hard is, coming on the heels of a levy because there's huge communication that goes on," she said.

Dorn-Bell said her first weeks haven't been too difficult, though.

"It is fun. It's stimulating. It's a great district," she said. "They really focus on kids. They don't just say they do; they actually do."

jnoblit@thisweeknews.com

Carole Dorn-Bell