At the Bexley City Schools Board of Education organizational meeting Jan. 8, board members swore in new member Michelle Mineo and elected John Barno as president and Marlee Snowdon as vice president for two-year terms.

Barno and Snowdon were re-elected to the board in November. Mineo was elected to one of three seats from a slate that also included incumbent Alissha Mitchell and challengers April Walsh and Tracey Parsons.

Mineo, 48, is a speech therapist and yoga teacher. She holds a master's degree in speech pathology from Miami. She and her husband have three children.

Barno, 48, assumes the role of president from current board member Melissa Lacroix. An attorney, Barno was previously elected to a four-year term in 2013. He holds a bachelor's degree in communications and political science from Heidelberg and a law degree from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. He and his wife have four daughters.

Barno said drafting a districtwide strategic plan, under the direction of Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller, is among the top priorities the district will take on in 2018.

The strategic plan "will provide a framework for moving forward and making improvements and positive changes in the district," Barno said. "The strategic plan will help outline the top priorities in the district."

Improving communication and special education, in coordination with parent group Bexley Education Stronger Together, also top the 2018 to-do list, Barno said.

"We are in the midst of a communications audit and conducting surveys of our community. We are moving toward curriculum alignment in our schools," he said. "Making real improvements in special education is a top priority as we move into 2018 as well, and our superintendent is meeting regularly with BEST to work together on these improvements."

Snowdon, 49, an attorney, was previously re-elected in 2013 for a second term on the board. She served as president for two years. She holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Southern California and a law degree from the Pepperdine University College of Law. She and her husband have three children.

Snowdon also cited the strategic plan as a priority for 2018.

"That process will also inform our ongoing work on special education and equity issues which, as I stated in my campaign, are critically important," she said.

Snowdon said the district will begin contract negotiations with the Bexley Education Association, the teachers' union, this year. The negotiations will involve the board, Miller and district treasurer Kyle Smith, Snowdon said.

"I am the only returning member from the previous negotiation team for the district," she said. "I am looking forward to working on that with president Barno and Ms. Miller and Mr. Smith."

Another priority, Snowdon said, is filling the district's technology director position, which has been vacant since last summer.

"That person, combined with (public information officer) James Harless, can really make an impact on our ability to communicate more effectively through improved online presence," Snowdon said. "It should be a great year and I am looking forward to working with our governance team to provide an excellent education for each student at Bexley."

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