Our mission at the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center is to support the development and academic achievement of children by providing tools and trainings to Ohio families and schools for building effective family-school partnerships.
Barbara Boone, Ph.D., is the Principal Investigator and Director of the federally funded Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center at the Center on Education and Training for Employment (CETE). In this role, 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.
Meredith Wellman, Ph.D., is Co-Principal Investigator and Project Lead for Ohio’s Statewide Family Engagement Center at the Center on Education and Training for Employment (CETE). In this role, she develops and provides professional development on family engagement in education. 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 daughter, and enjoys biking, hiking, playing frisbee, and baking pies.
Kristin Meek-Hennon is a Program Coordinator for the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center (OhSFEC) project, which is focused on equity and access in family engagement for all families in Ohio with school age children, K-12. Kristin plans and coordinates all professional development events and meetings, manages purchases, tracks budget needs, and is instrumental in keeping all OhSFEC timelines in order. Kristin also plays an important role as the coordinator of the OhSFEC State Advisory Council, maintaining close communication and relationships with the 50+ family and organizational representatives.
Kristin is a member of the Association of Staff & Faculty Women (ASFW) at The Ohio State University where she connects with other staff and participates in motivating women how to become stronger and effective leaders in the workplace. Additionally, Kristin volunteers for the CARE committee at CETE, where she helps plan and implement building events for staff.
When she’s not at CETE, Kristin is busy with her family of 6, and volunteering in support of her local schools and parish. Before starting her family, Kristin spent years going to night school to become certified in American Sign Language and started her own business teaching parents of children 6 mo-2 years, infant sign language and teaching basic sign language to elementary students.
You can reach Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thomas Capretta is a Family Engagement Project Coordinator. 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.
Kenyona Walker, Ph.D. is a Program Manager at the Center on Education and Training for Employment. 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.
Dr. Walker can be reached at email@example.com.
Hadley Bachman is a Program Manager, Community Development at the Center on Education and Training for Employment, where she supports, develops and advances the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center in terms of training development, program promotion, research support and community relationships. She is also currently pursuing her PhD in Educational Studies, Educational Administration at the Ohio State University. She also earned her Teacher-Leader Endorsement (2016) and Master of Education (2005) from OSU and her Bachelor of Arts in English (2003) from Goshen College.
Hadley has 14 years of experience serving in a number of school-based roles, including the Dean of Middle Grades at Graham Elementary and Middle School, as well as an English teacher, an Instructional Coach, and Resident Educator Program Coordinator. She participated in the OSU/Royal Shakespeare Company cohort during 2013-2014, traveling to Stratford-Upon-Avon to learn performance-based techniques to teaching Shakespeare. She served as a Curriculum Design Consultant for EL Education as part of their highly-acclaimed Common Core curriculum project, EngageNY, adopted by the state of New York.
Hadley started her career as an English teacher while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Cabo Verde, West Africa. When she’s not working, Hadley can be found adventuring outdoors with her husband, daughter, and dog.
Robert Reece is a Developer at the Center on Education and Training for Employment (CETE), where he creates and maintains the Ohio Special Education Profiles for the Ohio Department of Education. Bob gives school districts a report of their progress in meeting their goals for students with disabilities as a part of IDEA.
Robert has developed a series of tools for ODEOffice for Exceptional Children including Measure Up, a tool for understanding the Ohio School Report Card and the initial version of Ohio’s Decision Framework supporting the Ohio Improvement Process.
Robert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beth Crawford is a Program Manager at the Center on Education and Training for Employment (CETE), working 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.
Beth can be reached at email@example.com.
Patrick Cunningham is a graduate research associate for the Center on Education and Training for Employment (CETE), working with the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center. He 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.
Patrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yesenia Alvarez Padilla, MSW is a graduate research associate at the Center on Education and Training for Employment (CETE), working with the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center. Her 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.
More About Us
Ohio’s Statewide Family Engagement Center is a federally funded Center at The Ohio State University providing resources for Ohio schools, families, and other partners to improve family-school partnerships for student success. It is housed within the Center on Education and Training for Employment, which is within OSU’s College of Education and Human Ecology.
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Education awarded $4.2 million to Ohio to create the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center. Directed by Dr. Barbara Boone, the Statewide Family Engagement Center partners with the Ohio Department of Education to empower teachers and parents/caregivers to create strong relationships with one another to support the educational success of K-12 students.
The Statewide Family Engagement Center provides training and technical assistance for educators and organizations about how to engage in family-school partnerships, and parent/caregiver education opportunities as well. The Ohio Department of Education’s 16 State Support Teams already in place in each Ohio region are key partners in helping to share the Center’s resources and tools with schools and families, and to provide coaching in select districts.
A 50-person state-level advisory council was created in 2019 to guide the efforts of the Center, and includes 25+ parents/caregivers and students, along with organization/school leaders from around Ohio. The council provides families and organizations serving families with a voice in how these federal funds are used to support family engagement in education in Ohio.
The Center selected one evidence-based family engagement model to implement and evaluate in 96 schools within 48 school districts between 2020-2022, called the National Network of Partnership Schools Model. The goal of implementing and researching this model is to build the nation’s strong evidence base of best practices.