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Additional Leadership to Steering Committee

We have enthusiastically announced the growth of our Steering Committee with the addition of leadership from respected family-centric organizations. Executive Director, Jason Smith, believes the expansion of the Committee will strongly advance the organization’s mission. Mr. Smith cites, “We are thrilled to broaden our organization’s leadership team to include representation from highly respected organizations that bring both related experience and fresh thinking into our group. With the infusion of new perspectives, we aim to develop new and innovative public policy solutions to the challenges facing our state’s children and families.”

Approved by the Steering Committee for membership are eight new members representing varying organizations that similarly seek to improve the lives of our community’s children.

Representing Toledo Public Schools is Amy Allen, Ph.D. , transformational Leader of Early Childhood Education and Special Education. Having been a classroom teacher for ten years, as well as a member of the University of Toledo faculty for 15 years, Dr. Allen has a comprehensive understanding of both theory and practice in educational settings.

The Ohio PTA has designated Jackie Arendt, their Director of Education, as their organization’s representative. In additional to her work with Ohio PTA, Jackie is an Adjunct Sociology Professor for Cuyahoga Community College and Cleveland State University. Jackie also serves as the Vice President of the North Royalton School District Board of Education.

Chad Aldis, VP for Ohio Policy and Advocacy, will represent The Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Chad plans and leads Fordham’s Ohio policy, advocacy, and research agenda. He represents the Institute in its work with the media, state and local policy makers, other education reform groups, and the public.

Jacqueline Kirby Wilkins, Ph.D., Regional Director, Associate Chair Northeast Ohio from the The Ohio State University Extension will be adding insights to the new team as well. Dr. Kirby Wilkins is highly involved in the Family Policy and Education and Enrichment section of the national Council on Family Relations. Her research interests include parenting, family policy, and improving business efficiency and effectiveness.

Representing the American Academy of Pediatrics is Chief Executive Officer, Ohio Chapter, Melissa Wervery Arnold. In her current role, Melissa provides leadership to the Chapter and its membership, as well as serves as Executive Director of Ohio AAP Foundation and Ohio Pediatricians PAC. During her tenure, the Ohio AAP has increased its operating revenue by over 800%, and has been established a successful lobbying program that has secured better reimbursement for physicians, as well as advocated for the passage of various child health legislation.

Nancy Santilli, Superintendent of Kenston Local Schools, will represent BASA (Buckeye Association of School Administrators) on the board. As an administrator of a public school district, her primary role is being a leader for both staff and students to develop a sound, research-based educational program.

Rounding out the new inductees is David Smith, Executive Director of Horizon Education Centers and President of OACCP (Ohio Association of Child Care Providers)—which he represents on the committee. Mr. Smith has been a leader in early childhood education and afterschool policy on the state and national level, serving as chairman of the Ohio Afterschool Network, president of the Ohio Association of Child Care Providers, and member of the Ohio Child Care Advisory Council and the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Board and the National Board of the Early Care and Education Consortium.

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