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A group of four panelists, all top leaders for their schools and districts, will answer questions about what skills and leadership traits are needed during the pandemic and current divisive political climate. The panelists will explore how to continue to attract candidates for school leadership, what preparation is important to educate them for leadership roles, and how can we support leaders while they are serving? Please join us for a lively and informative discussion addressing the challenges our school leaders are facing and how we can continue to grow strong leaders. The discussion will led by Dr. Lisa Shoaf, Associate Dean of Professional Studies and Coordinator of the Educational Leadership Program at John Carroll University. Learn more and view the panelists bios.
Dr. Michael Barnes’ Statement on Education captures his lifelong passion for education, learning and leadership.
“It should be the charge of citizens in a civilized society to grow constantly by seeking educational opportunities. Education is a fundamental necessity to the survival and growth of individuals, communities, states, nations, and the world. Education is a powerful variable that can transform the consciousness of mankind. An educated individual, community, state, nation, and world is one that respects and values diversity, promotes and endorses collaboration, and recognizes the self worth and unique talents in everyone.”
Dr. Barnes is the proud Superintendent of Mayfield City Schools where he began his career in education as a social studies teacher. He advanced his three-decades long career in education as the Mayfield Athletic Director, Director of Human Resources, and Assistant Superintendent. He served Lakewood City Schools as Superintendent for three years and returned to Mayfield as its Superintendent in July 2021.
Dr. Barnes is an adjunct professor in the School of Law at Ursuline College and Program Development at Cleveland State University. He has actively served in multiple strategic planning projects, including the Wildcat Park Project, Mayfield Innovation Center, Project Based Learning and STEAM Education and Community Partnerships. He is an active leader in the School Superintendents Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators, Ohio School Funding- Fair School Funding Group and Army War College National Security participant. He earned his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University, master’s degree from Cleveland State University and undergraduate degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where he serves as Vice President of the Edinboro Alumni Board of Directors and is a proud honoree of the Edinboro University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Lannie Davis-Frecker is the President and CEO of Julie Billiart Schools, a network of private, Catholic K-8 schools that serve children with learning differences. With campuses in Lyndhurst, Akron, and Westlake, Lannie’s vision to serve more than 700 students with unique academic and social learning needs throughout Northeast Ohio is quickly becoming a reality. Lannie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Dayton and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from John Carroll University. She is a member of the School Choice Ohio Board of Directors, serves as an advisor to the THRIVE program at Notre Dame College, and is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) - the global leadership of chief executives. In addition, she is a member of numerous grant committees and works closely with legislators to advocate on behalf of children who have special learning needs. As a pinned Associate of the Sisters of Notre Dame, Lannie lives out the charism and mission of the schools’ founders and patroness, St. Julie Billiart.
Lakewood City Schools Superintendent Maggie Niedzwiecki has over 27 years of experience in education. She ascended to her superintendent position in July 2021 after having served as Lakewood’s Assistant Superintendent of the Lakewood City Schools for three years. She has led the District Innovation Task Force as well as the development of the District’s Vision of a Lakewood Graduate. Niedzwiecki also helped expand STEM opportunities in the District through the use of Makerspace classrooms and Project Lead the Way. Additionally, she headed the District’s Continuous Improvement Committee.
Prior to joining the Lakewood Schools, Mrs. Niedzwiecki served in many roles, including director of curriculum and instruction, director of Race to the Top with the Ohio Department of Education, and an elementary school principal. She spent the first 11 years of her career as an elementary teacher.
Mrs. Niedzwiecki earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and administrative licensure from John Carroll University, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Cleveland State University and her superintendent licensure from Ashland University.
Mrs. Niedzwiecki is a native of Batavia, New York. She and her husband, Scott, are the proud parents of three sons and a daughter.
Brian Sinchak serves as President of Lakewood Catholic Academy, a regional elementary school in Cleveland. Lakewood Catholic Academy is located on the shores of Lake Erie and serves approximately 650 students from six weeks old through eighth grade. Brian is a frequent presenter at state and national conferences including a regional TEDx conference and is passionate about educational innovation. His leadership in education has earned recognition by the National Catholic Education Association where he served on the advisory committee for marketing and communications and has authored for the organization’s magazine, Momentum.
Brian is currently a Board Member for the Chicago based National Merit Scholarship Corporation and a Board Member for the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood. Brian has also previously served as a Board Member for Magnificat High School.
Brian’s educational leadership helped Lakewood Catholic Academy become Ohio’s very first Catholic elementary school to be designated an International Baccalaureate World School. Additionally, in 2017, the United States Department of Education honored Lakewood Catholic Academy with the National Green Ribbon Award for the school’s commitment to environmental education and stewardship. LCA was the only Catholic school in the country that was recognized with the award that year. Brian’s administrative leadership has also led Lakewood Catholic Academy to be identified as one of the top workplaces in Northeast Ohio by The Plain Dealer and a School of Innovation by Today’s Catholic Teacher Magazine.
Brian believes that service learning is at the heart of education. He has organized student and teacher volunteer experiences in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Kenya, India, and China. =
Recognizing the need for schools to address racial injustice, Brian recently completed the Diversity and Inclusion Program at Cornell University.