Carole Dorn-Bell, communications director for Olentangy Local Schools for the past eight years, will leave her position next month to assume a similar job for the New Albany-Plain Local School District.

Carole Dorn-Bell, communications director for Olentangy Local Schools for the past eight years, will leave her position next month to assume a similar job for the New Albany-Plain Local School District.

In a special meeting last week, the New Albany-Plain Local school board approved her appointment as the district's new full-time communications director.

The position was created in February after the school board decided against renewing the contract of Lu Ann Stoia, who was handling communications in a part-time capacity for the district.

Superintendent Steve Castle said he's excited to have Dorn-Bell in the district.

"We had over 70 applicants. We interviewed our top applicants, and Carole brings tremendous skills and leadership to the position," he said. "She has a real sense of passion and enthusiasm in communications.

"She also comes to us with excellent working relations with media, with public relations and -- more specifically, I believe -- she is exactly what we need in our growing district, in terms of being able to help with levy campaigns, strategy and messaging."

The board approved a three-year contract that begins Aug.1, with a salary of $88,000 in the first year. According to the contract, Bell will be paid per diem for any days worked prior to Aug. 1.

"We are confident she will start before August," Castle said. "In fact, I believe she will begin work in our district sometime in the month of May."

Leaving Olentangy isn't easy, Dorn-Bell said.

"When I first came to Olentangy, I was told that it was a very 'special place.' Having spent eight years here now, I couldn't agree more," she said. "Olentangy is a very special place and we are a district and community that believes in the power of people. How truly awesome. There really is a special 'Spirit of Olentangy' and I have always felt inspired by it and humbled to be a part of it. But, now I'm ready for a new challenge in my career.

"I'm really not 'leaving,' though," she said. "I'll still be very active. I live here, will send my kids to school here and will remain very involved with Olentangy for Kids. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool fan of our great schools and wonderful community and I'll always be proud to call myself Olentangy."

Dorn Bell's arrival will come at an opportune time.

This summer could be important for district communications, especially with possible tax issues coming, he said.

"With the upcoming levy campaigns, with the number of other initiatives, we want to get started in the communications department," Castle said. "The sooner she can get here the better, and she fully realizes that we will be respectful with Olentangy to make sure she finishes her work there."

In fact, her work with Olentangy and its past levies were what caught the district's collective eye.

"She's done a lot of work at Olentangy in the last six levy campaigns. She's also worked extensively with the Olentangy for Kids political campaign," Castle said. "We modeled our New Albany for Kids after Olentangy, and she will be able to bring that expertise to our district. She will also be serving as liaison to the communications committee, which has been hard at work over the past several months."

"Not only does she have the skills necessary to take this position. I think she is also the right fit for this position in New Albany at this point," Castle said.

Carole Dorn-Bell