Team

The Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center at The Ohio State University is a leader in the field of family, school, and community engagement. We are located at the Center on Education and Training for Employment, a translational research center within the College of Education and Human Ecology.

Barbara Boone, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator & Director
boone.32@osu.edu

Yesenia Alvarez Padilla

Project Coordinator
alvarezpadilla.1@osu.edu

Hadley Bachman

Researcher
bachman.33@osu.edu

Thomas Capretta

Project Coordinator
capretta.29@osu.edu

Sarah DeShon

Learning Coordinator
deshon.8@osu.edu

Kristin Meek-Hennon

Program Coordinator
meek-hennon.1@osu.edu

Greg Nagy

Technology Engineer
nagy.8@osu.edu

Meredith Wellman, Ph.D.

Program Manager
wellman.87@osu.edu

Graduate Research Associates

Jhuma Acharya

Graduate Research Associate

Patrick Cunningham

Graduate Research Associate

Max Zhang

Graduate Research Associate

Barbara Boone, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator & Director
boone.32@osu.edu

Barbara leads a team conducting family engagement initiatives creating professional development, tools, and processes for families, school personnel, and organizations.

A sought-after trainer and speaker, Barbara’s past experiences as a Director at the Ohio Department of Education, education consultant, program evaluator, college instructor, parent educator, and early childhood educator allow her to leverage skills and understanding from multiple perspectives. Her work has focused on improving partnerships between home, school and communities for children of all ages through research, developing tools and resources, facilitating professional development, and leading state and local initiatives. Barbara has enjoyed helping thousands of families and educational professionals grow, and her own family of five, and local schools too. A New Jersey native, Barbara is an avid hiker and beekeeper.

Yesenia Alvarez Padilla

Project Coordinator
alvarezpadilla.1@osu.edu

Yesenia’s work will focus on developing family financial literacy education resources for Ohioans. She is currently a PhD student at the College of Social Work. Yesenia is an executive team leader for the Latinx Space for Engagement and Research, a student-led mentoring program serving underrepresented high school students in Central Ohio. She earned her Master of Social Work (2018) at the Ohio State University. Her research interests include: financial capability and asset building, family financial socialization, health disparities, and access to higher education.Yesenia recently published her first journal article focused on civic engagement in underrepresented high school students.

She was previously awarded two fellowships from the Graduate school before receiving this position. She has attended various international and national conferences with the support of Ohio State including the Council of Graduate Students Edward J. Ray Travel Award, and the Women of Color Professional Development Award from the Women’s Place.

Yesenia’s teaching experiences stem from English courses taught to adult English Language Learners from across the world. She has also taught Math and English to adults testing for the high school equivalency exam. As an undergraduate intern Yesenia worked with the Northern Nevada Food Bank where she facilitated financial literacy courses for adults from low-income backgrounds and met with state legislators to advocate for public policies aimed at promoting financial stability and food security. Yesenia has also co-facilitated support groups for immigrant women who encountered sexual assault and domestic violence.

Hadley Bachman

Researcher
bachman.33@osu.edu

Hadley Bachman is a Family Engagement Researcher at the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center, where she spearheads efforts to advance research, professional development, and the acquisition of grants and sponsored projects. In her role, she has led the development of online courses and webinars for family-facing professionals and has delivered conference presentations and workshops nationally. She is also the lead writer for the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center’s News & Guidance, an e-white paper with over 1,600 subscribers. In addition, she has published several articles for practitioners and scholars about family engagement and parent advocacy, most recently in Educational Leadership and West’s Education Law Reporter. Hadley also serves as a member of CETE’s Steering Team for the Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) Movement.

Hadley is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Educational Studies with a specialization in Educational Administration in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. Her dissertation research focuses on educators’ efficacy beliefs for engaging with families. Before joining Ohio State, she was an English teacher in middle and high school and a middle school principal in the Columbus area, serving in these roles for 14 years. She also earned her Teacher-Leader Endorsement (2016) and Master of Education (2007) from OSU and her Bachelor of Arts in English (2003) from Goshen College. She is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (2003-2005) from the Republic of Cabo Verde, where she taught English as a foreign language and supported her colleagues with grant writing and professional learning.

When she’s not working or writing, Hadley can be found adventuring outdoors with her husband, daughter, and dog. You can reach her at bachman.33@osu.edu and find her on Twitter @HadleyBachman.

Thomas Capretta

Project Coordinator
capretta.29@osu.edu

Tom previously worked for the Ohio Department of Education where he supported schools and districts in their efforts to serve students in foster care and other vulnerable student populations. Additionally, Tom worked with Dr. Barbara Boone and Dr. Meredith Wellman to support the implementation of effective family and community engagement strategies in education settings across Ohio.

Tom, a Cleveland, OH native received a B.A. in religious studies and applied ethics from Seton Hall University, and as a 2012 Teach for America Mississippi Delta Corps Member, taught 4th and 5th grade math and science for three years. Tom then received a M.P.A. from the John Glenn College and is excited to return to the Ohio State University.

Tom lives in the Olde Towne East neighborhood of Columbus with his cats, Maude and Jasper, where they enjoy an extensive collection of records. Tom also enjoys eating out around town and frequenting the city’s many local festivals and events.

Sarah DeShon

Learning Coordinator
DeShon.8@osu.edu

Sarah DeShon joined the Center on Education and Training for Employment as a Family Engagement Learning Coordinator with the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center.  As a learning coordinator, her primary role is designing and facilitating research-based professional development for out-of-school-time personnel and other family-facing professionals.  She seeks to build their capacity for equitable family engagement.  As a former classroom teacher, Sarah has learned and experienced the important role all families, schools, and communities play in the success of student achievement and wellness.

Sarah received a BA in elementary education from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana.  She has 14 years of classroom teaching experience at the elementary level (K-6) with multiple public school districts in northern Indiana.  As part of the Teaching and Learning Committee and the School Leadership Team at an Expeditionary (EL) school, she brings her knowledge and experience collaborating with teachers, staff, and community leaders when designing engaging curricula.  Likewise, she brings her skills as a trained Lead Teacher of Project Lead the Way (PLTW), when developing and facilitating professional development for adult learners.

Sarah currently lives in Dublin, Ohio with her two cats Brynn and Elliott.  She enjoys outdoor activities such as running, hiking, and biking, especially when it involves her family.  She is the “fun aunt” and loves exploring and creating entertaining (and sometimes messy) STEM projects with her nieces and nephews.

Kristin Meek-Hennon

Program Coordinator
meek-hennon.1@osu.edu

Kristin received her bachelor’s degree in Communications from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN.  Prior to working at CETE, she worked for over 18 years in the private sector as an office manager with a focus in project management, HR, and fiscal services.  Kristin brings her experience to CETE as she is responsible for planning and coordinating all professional development events and meetings, managing time lines, and monitoring budget and fiscal needs associated with state and federal grants.  Kristin also plays an important role as the lead coordinator of the OhSFEC State Advisory Council, collaborating with family and organizational members all across Ohio and creating meetings rich in family engagement content that can be shared across their communities.

When she’s not at CETE, Kristin is busy with her family of 6.  She enjoys anything Italian including cooking it, planning trips, and home decorating.

Greg Nagy

Technology Engineer
nagy.8@osu.edu

Greg works with the Family Engagement Team to provide technology support like creating this website, editing and posting all webinars, and posting much of this website’s content. Greg has worked over 20 years at CETE sharing his technology expertise on many different state and federal projects.

He has many interests including wanting to implement VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) in education. He has a BS in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering from The Ohio State University.

Meredith Wellman, Ph.D.

Program Manager
wellman.87@osu.edu

Since 2014, she has worked at CETE to support strong family-school-community partnerships within Ohio’s education system. She is co-author of a training series for school districts called Partnerships for Literacy. Dr. Wellman also conducts program evaluations. As a Community Psychologist, Dr. Wellman specializes in research and evaluation of services for marginalized/at-risk populations, such as survivors of human trafficking, immigrants and refugees, and indigenous groups.

Meredith lives in Westerville, OH with her husband and two children, and enjoys biking, hiking, playing frisbee, and baking pies.

Jhuma Acharya

Graduate Research Associate
acharya.86@buckeyemail.osu.edu

Jhuma Acharya, MSW, M.Sc., is a Graduate Research Associate at the Center on Education Training for Employment, working with the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center at the Ohio State University. Jhuma will be working with Dr. Barbara Boone and Yesenia Alvarez Padilla on developing a comprehensive resource guide for English Language Learners and their families. 

Mr. Acharya is a first-year social work Ph.D. student at the Ohio State University. He received a Master’s in Social Work degree from the Ohio State University in the spring of 2021. Before entering the MSW program, Mr. Acharya had received an undergraduate honors degree in Biology from India and a Master of Science (Parasitology) from Tribhuvan University in Nepal. Mr. Acharya taught in Nepal for over 15 years before moving to the United States in 2011 through the auspices of the U.S Refugee Resettlement Program. He has a decade-long experience working with a diverse refugee and immigrant population in Central Ohio as a Reception and Placement Program Case Manager at Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS).

Mr. Acharya’s experience includes advocacy work at the local, state, and national levels for equity, advocacy, and empowerment of refugees and immigrants. He has served as a board member of the Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio and is the organization’s current board chair. Mr. Acharya’s area of interest stems from his decade of work with school-system and serving underserved diverse populations. His research interest focuses on strength-based School-family engagement and developing a comprehensive resource guide for students learning English and their families. 

Mr. Acharya likes reading books and exploring the local parks and historical sites.  He lives in Blacklick, Ohio, with his wife and eight years old son, who attends Licking Heights School “Go Hornets”!!!

Patrick Cunningham

Graduate Research Associate
cunningham.1062@buckeyemail.osu.edu

Patrick will be conducting literature reviews, developing resources for educators and families, and working on projects related to family-school partnerships.  

Patrick has a Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and has been working as a school counselor for the past six years. He has experienced a wide spectrum of school communities through his work as a school counselor, working in a large public high school in Raleigh, North Carolina and two smaller, private, international schools in Dubai and South Korea. Through his work in these settings, he has developed a passion for supporting diverse groups of students and families. Starting in Fall 2020, Patrick entered his first year of a PhD program in Counselor Education. His primary research interests are multicultural school counseling competencies, data-informed school counseling practices to address the achievement gap, and social justice in school counseling. 

Patrick enjoys cooking, traveling, crossword puzzles, and spending time with his family. He is originally from Long Island, New York and is a big fan of the New York Mets. 

John Doe

Graduate Research Associate

Jingyang (Max) Zhang is a graduate research associate for the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center (OhSFEC), where he will be writing literature reviews, developing resources and tools for educators and families, and assisting with research. He is particularly interested in the roles and impacts of students in family-school partnerships.

Max is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Educational Psychology program at OSU’s College of Education and Human Ecology. Besides family engagement, he is also interested in academic motivation and social-emotional development. Max has a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology and Human Development from Boston College and a Master’s degree in Human Development and Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has experience working with students of various age groups and their families both in China and in the U.S. in schools and community settings.

When he is not working, Max enjoys watching sports, traveling, listening to podcasts, and spending time with his girlfriend Evelyn. He is originally from Guangzhou, China and is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese. 

Kyanna Johnson

Graduate Research Associate

Kyanna will be conducting systematic reviews, collecting qualitative data from interviews, assisting in the development of educational resource toolkits for families, and working on projects related to parents’ engagement with the education system. 

Kyanna is a PhD student in School Psychology at the Ohio State University. She received her Masters in Educational Studies (School Psychology) in 2020. She has several research interests related to understanding the social-emotional needs of Black girls and Black LGBTQ+ youth in school contexts. She has recently published two articles in school psychology journals, which discuss the linguistic demands of preschool cognitive assessments and the inclusion of Black children in behavioral interventions. Her dedication to implementing a social justice lens in academia stems from her work experience in urban preschools throughout New York City. 

Kyanna is currently Ohio State’s Student Affiliates of School Psychology Social Justice Chair, where she leads school psychology students to work towards increasing cultural competency as well as supporting marginalized students and their families outside of their program requirements. Her previous position as the co-founder and Vice President of the Black Student Union at St. John’s University has exhibited her passion for working to achieve equity in educational settings. 

Beth Crawford

Program Manager
crawford.555@osu.edu

Beth works with the Family Engagement Team to support the implementation of the National Network of Partnership Schools model in Ohio. Beth brings over 20 years of experience in health and human services. She has a specific focus on collective approaches to achieving outcomes and contributes expertise in project management, community collaborations, data management, and analysis. She holds a Master’s in Political Science with a concentration in Public Administration from Ohio University.

Prior to her current role, Beth served as the director of the Franklin County Family and Children First Council where she developed and implemented several cross-system initiatives as well as a performance based contracting system. Her professional interests are focused on public policy impacting family, youth, and community well-being.

Kenyona Walker, Ph.D.

Program Manager
walker.1809@osu.edu

Her passion for education and equity, led her to earn her PhD in Educational Studies, with a focus on School Psychology from The Ohio State University. She works with the Family Engagement Center on multiple projects, leading research and content development for professional development and training for families and schools.

As an agile evaluator and researcher, Dr. Walker enjoys focusing her efforts on educational equity and access, with a keen focus on the educational experiences of Black females, in addition to the role of parents, educators and the community in education. She was invited to serve as a panelist at the American Educational Research Association Conference on the topic of Translational Research: A Mechanism for Promoting Researcher and Stakeholder Collaboration and the Public Good.

Rounding out her exposure, Dr. Walker completed her School Psychology internship in schools in the Columbus area with urban students where she worked collaboratively with educators and parents to identify and address a multitude of educational issues related to the evaluation of students regarding Special Education. 

John Doe

John Doe

Some position of power
someemail@email.com
Twitter: @username

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