The New Albany-Plain Local School District has a new face and voice.

The New Albany-Plain Local School District has a new face and voice.

In a special meeting last week, the school board approved the appointment of Carole Dorn-Bell as the district's new full-time communications director.

Dorn-Bell has been Olentangy Local Schools' communications director since 2000.

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 ap-plicants. 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. Her last official day with Olentangy is July 31.

"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."

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

"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."

The school board was able to meet Dorn-Bell prior to voting last Wednesday, Castle said. She was present at the school board's work session April 14 to meet members.

"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