A digital designer and former teacher has been hired as the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools'new communications coordinator.

Judy Hengstebeck, 54, will work part-time in a revised position that formerly was a full-time communications specialist job held by Mallory Sribanditmongkol.

Sribanditmongkol resigned from the district July 28 to take a communications position with the Licking Heights Local School District.

The reduction of the job to part time was part of $1.3 million in cuts the district made this year, said Steve Barrett, district superintendent.

"Judy is a former teacher and has worked with our (Gahanna-Jefferson Education) foundation for a number of years," Barrett said. "She has experience and expertise in using different types of media programs to tell stories both digitally and in print."

Barrett said Hengstebeck has been a longtime community resident.

"She knows how important it is for our schools to communicate well," Barrett said. "We are excited Judy has joined our team."

The Blacklick resident and her husband, Steve, are the parents of two Gahanna Lincoln High School graduates and a current senior.

"I have witnessed firsthand the incredible educational opportunities available in the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools," Hengstebeck said.

"As a former teacher, I know the back story behind those invaluable opportunities. There are so many quality learning adventures that happen between the first day of kindergarten and the last day of senior year in our district.

"I really want those stories told and I am excited to be a part of the sharing," she said.

From a business perspective, Hengstebeck said she is well aware the community wants to receive its information in many different formats.

Facebook, Twitter, email and all social and digital media are important tools for getting the messages out, Hengstebeck said.

"We plan to utilize it all," she said. "(Technology director) Jeff Collett and the rest of his tech department have done an awesome job rolling out our brand-new website (GahannaSchools.org)."

Hengstebeck said she sees the website as the hub or center of district communications.

"I encourage everyone in Gahanna to visit the website on a frequent basis," she said. "We plan to update it regularly with important dates and links, and utilize it to highlight many of the stories that are happening around the district."

Hengstebeck is the 2011 founder and digital designer of Paperstarz Design, specializing in designing print, digital and social media marketing for small businesses.

Since 2005, she has served in many volunteer and professional capacities for the Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation.

Most recently, she has been responsible for print, digital and social media marketing for the foundation and its main fundraiser, the Gahanna Gala.

Hengstebeck taught elementary students in the Southwest Local School District in Harrison, Ohio, from 1985-95.

She holds a master's degree in language arts from Xavier University and a bachelor's degree in education from Miami University.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla