Having officially started as the new Bexley City School District superintendent Aug. 1, Kimberly Miller said her priorities include starting work on a strategic plan for district-wide continuous improvement and establishing strong working relationships with school board members, faculty and staff.

To that end, Miller spent several weeks leading up to her first day speaking with staff at Bexley's high school, middle school and three elementary schools. Miller, who most recently served as the chief academic officer with the Dublin City School District for the past three years, also participated in a retreat with Bexley's administrative staff Aug. 3 and 4.

The retreat's purpose was to "set our focus, being the leadership team at all the buildings in the district, and doing some team-building with them," Miller said.

During the retreat, Miller said she and the staff spent time "establishing what are our common goals and drivers so we can work well together."

Miller is scheduled to participate in another locally held retreat with school board members and Treasurer Kyle Smith on Sunday, Aug. 13. The board retreat will be similar to the administrative retreat and will include a facilitator to help set priorities, Miller said.

"It's really not about identifying issues; it's about identifying how we're going to work together, what our communication structure is going to be," she said.

Board members hired Miller after receiving 38 applications and interviewing six candidates in public meetings in March. Miller replaces Michael Johnson, who announced last fall he would leave the district in July after 16 years.

The school board voted unanimously April 17 to award a contract to Miller that will run from Aug. 1, 2017, through July 31, 2020, at an annual salary of $150,000.

Board of Education President Melissa Lacroix said she and fellow board members John Barno, Mike Denison, Alissha Mitchell and Marlee Snowdon will work with Miller to establish goals for her to execute throughout the year.

"At the top of the list is having a strategic plan for the district," Lacroix said. "The plan will serve as a comprehensive set of objectives to determine "where we will go and the direction we will head from here on."

Miller is also participating in community meet-and-greets, scheduled at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15, at Johnson's Real Ice Cream, 2728 E. Main St., and 6 p.m. Aug. 29 at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, 2156 E. Main St.

Miller will take part in the school board's monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14, at the Cassingham complex, 326 S. Cassingham Road.

Miller said she and her husband, Mark, have bought a house in Bexley and the two plan to move in by mid-month.

She said the meet-and-greets are designed to help her become more familiar with Bexley, and for parents, students and the community to get to know her.

The informal events offer "an opportunity to meet the community and say hello," Miller said. "I've met some students, which is awesome. It's really just a matter of becoming part of the community."

Miller holds a bachelor's degree in English from Ohio State University, a master's degree in education from the University of Cincinnati and a superintendent's license from Xavier University. She is scheduled to complete her doctorate of education in 2018 through Miami University.

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