New BOT member appointed

A vacant spot on the Board of Trustees at Santa Monica College was filled in time for the Spring semester, nearly a month after David Finkel stepped down due to health issues.

Local community member and accountant, Barry Snell filled the position on Feb. 4. and will finish the five months remaining in Finkel's term.

Snell was selected from a pool of four other candidates, and has experience in education policy previously serving on the SMC Citizen's Bond Oversight Committee.

In addition, the latest member of the BOT also served as a member of the Board of Education for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District from 2006 to 2010, including a term as president in 2009.

“I’ve been involved in the educational arenaever since my kids started [in Santa Monica] back in middle school," said Snell, whose interest in SMC comes from being a resident of Santa Monica's Pico Neighborhood and as a parent of current SMC students.

"All three of my kids are there, all at different phases of their education," said Snell.

Snell was sworn into office at this month's BOT meeting immediately after being appointed the position. He is the only current member of the board to be appointed to his position and is looking forward to finishing the term.

"I talked with Judge Finkel prior to submitting my application and I called him immediately after they accepted me," said Snell. "I asked him to be a mentor of mine; I know him real well, his grandkids went to school with my kids when I was on the school board."

Finkel, however, feels that Snell won't have any trouble with his new position.

"I think as long as he becomes a good listener he'll be just fine he doesn't need any advice," he said.

The former school board president plans to start a campaign and enter himself in November's election for a permanent spot. In the meantime, Snell is preparing himself for his first official BOT meeting.

"I’m going to do my homework; I don’t want to sound unprepared. Other trustees have been involved for a while," said Snell. "In the short run I think the most challenging thing will be getting my hands around how the college operates."

With 25 years of accounting and finance experience for K-12 schools under his belt, Snell plans to incorporate those skills while serving the nation's number one transfer school.

"I don’t mind spending money to benefit the college," said Snell. "I think you have to spend money to be the best."

Using his connections within the Pico Neighborhood, Snell also hopes to bridge the communities surrounding the Bundy and AET campuses in order to create a more student friendly environment.

"The single most important thing is building a harmonious work relationship between the city, the school district and the college," said Finkel "I hope more than anything that harmony gets preserved."

Along with preserving the community, Snell wants students and Santa Monica residents alike to feel comfortable with him in his new role.

"I want people to know I'm approachable. I'm at a stage where I’m trying to learn." said Snell. "I want people to know this is a learning process for me and I care about educating kids."