Winter 2023 Newsletter


Summit ESC is pleased to announce Lead Educational Audiologist Dr. Carrie Spangler received the 2022 Kathe Shelby Leadership Award presented at OCALICONLINE 2022.

This annual award “recognizes an outstanding special education leader in Ohio who demonstrates exceptional and effective skills in improving the quality of special education programming for Ohio’s school children.” 

  • Kathe Shelby served as Director of the Ohio Department of Education's Office for Exceptional Children from 2008-2011. 

  • The award was created to honor Kathe after her passing in 2011 for her dedication and respect toward children with special needs, their parents, special and general education, related services personnel, and school administrators.

“For me, being the one and only who was deaf/hard of hearing in my family and my school community created hardships, but also created opportunities to overcome challenges and build grit and determination,” shared Dr. Spangler. “I am continuously grateful for my personal journey as it led me to a purposeful and passionate career of educational audiology.” 

Dr. Spangler has over 20 years of audiological experience overseeing the expansion of educational audiology services in Medina, Portage, and Mahoning Counties. As Lead Educational Audiologist at Summit ESC, Dr. Spangler provides audiology services to students who are deaf or hard of hearing across the 34 districts Summit ESC serves. 

Educational equality is a large goal of Summit ESC, and Dr. Spangler and the audiology team excel in providing services to students in need while also working to influence public policy legislation.

Kristin Fazio, Summit ESC Director of Student Services & Wellness, shared how Carrie certainly earned this award: “I have had the privilege of working with Carrie since she joined Summit ESC in 2015. Her energy, advocacy, and passion for the field of Educational Audiology is unwavering and has made Summit ESC the ‘go-to’ place for anyone looking for ways to support students with hearing loss. I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of this award.”

To learn more about OCALICONLINE 2022, the Kathe Shelby Leadership Award, or Dr. Spangler, visit https://conference.ocali.org/awards/kathe-shelby.

We congratulate Carrie on her win … we express our gratitude to her for her excellence and dedication … and we thank YOU for making Summit ESC what it is for the betterment of all our school districts!

In search of a new Treasurer, Superintendent, or other leaders for your school district? Summit ESC is here to make that process go as smoothly as possible!

Our leadership selection services provide what you need to find the right person to fit your administrative team.

For example, during your search, we will walk with you from beginning to end, including …

  • Assisting your Board in developing a profile of the “ideal” candidate regarding desired skills, traits, and characteristics.

  • Developing a brochure based on that profile.

  • Advertising and recruiting.

  • Reviewing applications and screening candidates.

  • Conducting first-round interviews.

  • Selecting and interviewing final candidates.

  • And more!

We’ve had great success in finding the right fit for several positions and districts. And we count it a privilege to partner with you to find the right person for the right job.

Interestingly, many districts around Ohio don’t receive many applicants for Treasurer positions when they become available … which is unfortunate considering it’s such a great career path to pursue.

Superintendent Todd Osborn from Chippewa says of his school’s Treasurer-search experience with our team: “Fantastic job! We enjoyed the process and the support. The Board was beyond happy! We are happy with who we found and the vetting process you provided.”

Looking to find and hire someone? Click here to get started, then contact Joseph Iacano today at [email protected] or (330) 945-5600 x513910, and we’ll help you find the right leader for your district!

The school year is going by fast … already more than half gone!

We want to share just a few updates of what’s happened around the ESC so far — keeping you in the loop about what we’re doing, and how we’re expanding!

In response to clear demand from school districts in our area and across the northeast Ohio region, Summit ESC has significantly expanded its capacity and ability to assist districts in Socio-emotional Learning (SEL) and Professional Development in Mathematics and English/Language Arts (ELA).


Expansion of our Influence and Services so far this School Year


High demand for SEL has led to the former Student Services Department branching into two separate departments — 1) the Department of Early Learning and 2) the Department of Student Services and Wellness Initiatives. 

The latter coordinates support for districts in the areas of mental health and well-being as well as:

  • Providing assistance to districts whose students need physical therapy, 

  • Speech and language support, occupational therapy, 

  • Behavior supports (BCBA), audiology support,

  • English Learner (EL) support,

  • And a teacher of the deaf (TOD). 

Within the department we also employ a Student and Family Liaison to help families that need access to social services. One area of continued growth is our audiology program, which serves 37 districts throughout Summit, Portage, Medina, Mahoning, and Trumbull Counties.


Growing Interest in Math and Language Arts


Increasing demand for Mathematics support has led to the addition of a second Math Consultant, Susan Huth (just three years ago we had only one part-time math consultant, Steve Miller). 

While much of the work is done locally to assist districts in their math initiatives, our Math Consultants have worked with ODE to coordinate and develop a new high school math course, Math Modeling and Reasoning, for students who may not need a traditional Algebra II course for their future endeavors and goals. 

This effort has even extended beyond state lines and has drawn interest in Michigan and other midwestern states. In fact, we recently accepted a request for math services in the State of Oregon for the Modeling and Reasoning course!


We also added a new ELA Consultant, as the demand for English Language Arts support has increased. We converted a former part-time position to full-time and are seeing demand for this service throughout Northeast Ohio across multiple counties.


Successful Executive and Leadership Searches and Services


SESC has played a significant role in providing professional executive search services for districts. We are pleased that so many districts entrust us with facilitating their searches for treasurers and superintendents. 

Coordinated by Summit ESC Superintendent Joseph Iacano, and former district superintendents Dr. Christina Dincklocker and Jeff Ferguson, SESC has assisted the Springfield, Coventry, Norton, Twinsburg, Cuyahoga Falls, Waterloo, Chippewa, and Woodridge districts in identifying and hiring new superintendents or treasurers in the last two years alone. 

SESC is prepared to assist districts in other nearby counties as well. We have also helped multiple districts with Strategic Planning and development of the “Portrait of a Graduate” process. Please call for more information on these services! Contact Jeff Ferguson at [email protected] or (330) 945-5600 x513918.

As you can see, we are eager to serve Northeast Ohio and beyond. Thank you for making it possible!

We’re pleased to announce an exciting position that’s been in the works — that we plan to replicate over time — to connect families in districts like yours to the resources they need as we work together to build the foundation of a better learning environment for their children …

The new Community Family Partner Liaison (CFPL)!

Kim Labriola, the former Behavior Specialist for Springfield, has been developing this position at Summit ESC after spending 20 years in the mental and behavioral health field.

The goal of this new position is to make sure a child’s basic social, emotional, and behavioral needs are met so that they have a better chance to do well in their education. We want to be sure:

  • Every part of that child’s domain and life is being met.

  • We fill the gap between home, school, and community.

  • Academics are better, since, in this context, the student’s attendance goes up.

Serving 16 districts, Kim has collaborated with 50 families since September 2022 and sees a real need for a permanent liaison — the families could not believe how quickly her techniques work and how effective they are. This person would:

  1. Provide clear data on child behavior and offer a diagnosis if needed.

  2. Provide the resources families need, whether individually or in a group setting.

  3. Create incentives that make it easier for families to participate in the program.

  4. Help serve as a neutral person for guardians and work through custody issues.

Kristin Fazio, who has been developing the Mental Health Collaborative, is planning to essentially duplicate the work that Kim is doing currently so that every district has their own CFPL. 

But why? There is a communication gap that currently exists between district personnel who are involved in wellness. Over the next four months, the Mental Health Collaborative will come together to go over the procedures and language that will fill in holes to develop a template, or a playbook, for future liaisons. The goal is to get wellness providers on the same page to best help all children across our districts. 

In essence, “We’re helping two worlds collide for mental health providers,” Kristin says. “We want to set the standard for mental health in our districts. This group will help troubleshoot and create dialogue to continue to help kids and to see more successes in intervention in schools. Many people have told Kim, ‘You’re the first person who has listened to me.’ This new position helps these parents advocate for what their family or child needs.”

Since the pandemic led to a lot of anxiety with families, there is a higher need for this kind of support.

Summit County, for example, is rich in resources, but lacks a continuity of care and a connection with the community.

One family had just moved from Cleveland … six children in all — a set of triplets, twins, and another child — all under the age of 6. We were able to direct them to an early childhood resource center … the mother was able to receive parenting coaching … and the family as a whole received donations of clothing, beds, toys, dressers, towels, sheets, and more — they had very little! 

We even helped parents with phone calls for resources, utilities, and transportation support.

Kim and Kristin have both been on the ground floor of this work, and their impact has spread by word of mouth — NOT by any advertising efforts! As we develop more and more liaisons, the two of them will become the district trainers. Our belief is that if there was someone in each school who has a familiar face, families would not be afraid or discouraged to ask for help.

We’re thrilled for the support we’re able to make available to families and children who need it. For more information about the Community Family Partner Liaison, please contact Brenda Palinkas at [email protected].

Here’s your chance to hear from some professional development consultants — to get their own insight into the work they’re doing in and around our districts!

New ELA/Literacy Curriculum and Gifted Program Shift in Cuyahoga Falls 

ESC Consultants Derek Hatcher and Alyssa Bird have been working with English Language Arts (ELA) teachers at Bolich Middle School and Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls. With the adoption of a new ELA curriculum and a change to the middle school gifted programming, teachers are benefiting from regular planning time with Derek and Alyssa. They are using their expertise to help teachers differentiate appropriately with the new curriculum resources. 

Derek and Alyssa have also spent time with teachers on professional development days to discuss depth and complexity, as well as other areas of the gifted competencies required in HQPD for teachers who are providing gifted services. 

Some teachers shared recently: 

  • “My fellow sixth grade teacher and I LOVE working with Alyssa! It has been so helpful to have her guidance in creating materials to help with differentiation.”

  • “Derek Hatcher from Summit Educational Service Center has been instrumental in providing my colleagues and I with activities to enrich our gifted students with the stories or novels that we are reading. Students have a menu of options to select to share their understanding of a text. However, he is really enriching all students with these fresh new ideas that are a change from the textbook.”

High Quality Instructional Materials for Math in Plain Local Schools

After OST results were released in the Spring of 2022, Plain Local reached out to the Summit ESC for help with math instruction, PLCs, and data analysis. With the help of consultant Susan Huth, Plain Local has been able to engage in productive math improvement discussion and the implementation of up-to-date strategies in the classroom. 

Susan works closely with the intermediate, middle, and high school principals by leading math PLCs in the examination of data, designing rigorous assessments, and providing more differentiated and engaging math instruction in the classroom. In addition, she has been charged with designing half- and full-day PD sessions with teachers that provide an opportunity for both vertical and horizontal curriculum alignment. 

Susan has created a Google Classroom for teachers to consult at their convenience that contains a wealth of instructional ideas that can be used with students. Teachers and principals feel supported and know that they can ask for Susan’s help and it will be very quickly provided. Thank you to the Summit ESC for providing this opportunity!

Summit ESC is stronger because of our professional development consultants … which means YOU ARE STRONGER with their support! We work all over Northeast Ohio (as the map shows) on a variety of subjects and curricula.

Contact Sally Gibson at [email protected] if you could benefit from services like this today!

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