Community members, friends and Bexley City Schools officials are mourning the loss of Susan Zanner, who served on the Bexley school board and was a founding director of School Choice Ohio.

Community members, friends and Bexley City Schools officials are mourning the loss of Susan Zanner, who served on the Bexley school board and was a founding director of School Choice Ohio.

Zanner, 60, died Jan. 8 after a 10-year battle with cancer.

Zanner, who taught English at Bexley High School and Columbus Torah Academy, was not only an educator, but also a school and community volunteer and parent of three Bexley graduates. Elected to the Bexley City Schools Board of Education in 1999, she served as president in 2004 before resigning in 2006 due to health concerns. She returned to the board in 2011 to fill the unexpired term of a departing board member.

Current board members paid tribute to Zanner during their first meeting of the year on Jan. 9.

"She was a neighbor and a friend to many of us," said board President Melissa Lacroix. "She will be missed."

Andy Sutter, a former board member who served with Zanner, said she always made it her goal to work in the best interests of students, teachers, parents and taxpayers.

"Susan was someone who looked at the horizon, saw the big picture and left her impression on the lives of many," he said.

District administrators issued statements expressing condolences and noting Zanner's accomplishments.

"She was an unwavering advocate for children, educators and education," Superintendent Mike Johnson said. "We will miss her positive attitude and wonderful sense of humor."

"She was a friend to all of those fortunate to know her," said Harley Williams, Bexley High School's principal.

Bexley's school board took on a number of initiatives during her tenure, including the adoption of its Best Practices, the expansion of Bexley High School's Advanced Placement program, implementation of Delayed Start professional development, a superintendent search that led to Johnson's hiring and the 2000-01 Cassingham Complex construction project. The district successfully passed its school district income tax while she was board president.

In 2005, Zanner became a founding director of School Choice Ohio, which aims to inform families about education options available for their children.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, Zanner helped with fundraisers benefiting the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center at the Ohio State University. She participated in three national clinical cancer trials with the goal of finding a cure.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. today, Jan. 19, at Bexley United Methodist Church, 2657 E. Broad St., with the Bexley High School's Vocal Ensemble providing music.

She is survived by her husband, Erick Zanner; three children, Margot Athon, John Zanner and Diane Zanner; and two granddaughters.

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