Head of the Class 2020


School is where children learn, make their first friends and begin to address who they are as individuals in this big, complicated world.

Some of Toledo’s leaders in education weigh in with their educational philosophies and what may make their school the best fit for your child(ren).

Lynn Casto

Head of School

Maumee Valley Country Day School
1715 S Reynolds Road, Toledo
419-381-1313 x117 | mvcds.org

Lynn Casto, Head of School

Maumee Valley Country Day School’s vision—a personal, experiential, and global education—guides each student along their educational journey of exploration and discovery. Head of School Lynn Casto attributes, “The student-centered focus,
innovative academic programs, extensive educational opportunities and a diverse community of learners,” as the foundation of a Maumee Valley education. “MVCDS is a place where each child can dream, explore, and cultivate their passions and strengths. Learning at Maumee Valley expands beyond classroom walls, into our surrounding community, (even reaching) other countries.”

MVCDS’s mission is to enable students to become enlightened, compassionate and contributing citizens of our global community while preparing graduates for their best opportunities in higher education. With a 75-acre, sprawling campus, students in preschool through 12th grade learn by doing, both on and off the campus grounds. MVCDS offers a safe and inclusive environment where a diverse student body finds the freedom to express their opinions, make their own decisions and explore their interests. Students learn through real-world experiences utilizing experimentation, exploration and world travel.

Jenn Schoepf

Head of School

West Side Montessori
7115 W Bancroft, Toledo
419-866-1931 | montessoritoledo.org

Jenn Schoepf, Head of School

West Side Montessori’s philosophy of experiential learning at all ages (13 months through 8th grade) inspires children to discover their potential and produces confident communicators, compassionate leaders, and independent, self-motivated learners who make decisions with integrity. The Montessori classroom is a highly organized learning environment that gives children countless opportunities to move, make choices, and take charge of their own learning. The enriched curriculum includes French and Spanish introduced at age 3, leading to a world language immersion program in the upper grades.

Jenn Schoepf, the new head of school who has been with WSM for 25 years, explains that she “collaborates and coordinates with all the members of the West Side Community to foster an environment where students and staff can reach their full potential.” She adds, “Children learn best when they are engaged in hands-on, real-world learning experiences. They learn by doing.” West Side Montessori is a family-oriented educational community engaging and inspiring children to discover their potential within an environment promoting mutual respect, social responsibility, natural curiosity and a love of learning.

Sarah Hawley

School Director

iLead Schools
1615 Timberwolf Dr, Holland
419-491-7243 | ileadspringmeadows.org

Sarah Hawley, School Director

Sarah Hawley, School Director of iLead Schools, explains her simple and powerful educational philosophy: “The purpose of education is to develop skills that will make the world a better place for everyone.” Hawley helps facilitate that goal by maintaining a “positive school culture and climate where our facilitators can best be supported in developing learners into independent, creative thinkers.”

Hawley continues, “Learners at iLEAD have the benefit of being immersed in hands-on, real-world activities. Starting in kindergarten, learners access the curriculum through project-based programs aligned to state standards to develop their interpersonal skills and to support their love of learning through investigation and collaborating with their peers.” She concludes, “When learners leave iLEAD, they discover they have stronger problem-solving skills than their peers. They also leave with a voice to advocate for themselves and others and the confidence to take risks that will help them grow.”

Gabriel Jakubisin

Principal and Educational Leader

St. Joan of Arc School
5856 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo, OH
419-866-6181 | joanofarc.org/school

Gabriel Jakubisin, Principal and Educational Leader

St. Joan of Arc (SJA), combines a Catholic education with a conventional school curriculum, “which makes our school unique,” explains Gabriel Jakubisin, Principal and educational leader of St. Joan of Arc School. Jakubisin explains that SJA offers “smaller class sizes, accelerated learning opportunities and Spanish, starting in younger grades. We strive for excellence in our threefold aim… to form saints, servants, and scholars. Goodness, service and perseverance in learning are developed in all of our students. That’s the SJA difference.”

Jakubisin continues, “Learning brings about the flourishing of the human person. As we learn more about the world, the people around us, and how to communicate with each other, we move toward becoming our better selves. A holistic and well-rounded education brings out the best in each of us.” SJA teachers are passionate, dedicated, loving, knowledgeable and creative, which explains why so many SJA students return to visit with their teachers. One graduate recalls, “My time at SJA really prepared me for my high school experience… The teachers at SJA work with you on a personal level and want you to succeed.”

Erin Schreiner


Horizon Science Academy
630 S Reynolds Rd, Toledo
419-535-0524 | Horizonspringfield.org

Erin Schreiner, Principal

Mrs. Erin Schreiner has been the principal of Horizon Science Academy Springfield (HSAS) for the past five years. “At HSAS,” she explains, “we foster an environment of inquiry and a love of learning, so students are prepared to thrive in STEM-focused high school, college, and the world.”

Much of HSAS’s success, according to Mrs. Schreiner, “can be attributed to their high-quality teaching staff, who,` in addition to preparing students to tackle any academic challenge, have strived to create a positive school culture.” The team at Horizon Springfield was awarded the “Bronze” distinction from the Ohio PBIS Network and the Ohio Department of Education for their work in providing staff, students, and families with systems and frameworks that reinforce positive behaviors and educational outcomes.

Erica Sleek


Sleek Academy
519 Ordway Ave. Bowling Green, Ohio 43402
419-378-3044 | sleekacademy.us

Erica Sleek, Owner

Erica Sleek, owner of private, charter school Sleek Academy and in charge of daily operations for the K-12 STEAM school, explains that her educational philosophy means that “Students should learn by working with their hands and minds! When a student can teach what they have learned to someone else, we as teachers are doing it the right way!” Sleek describes her teachers as “amazing, creative, supportive, outside-of-the-box thinkers,” which allows students in grades K-12 the ability to learn together in the same classrooms, following a project-based/problem-based learning style with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM). A bonus of attending Sleek Academy is that there is “no teaching to the test,” and Sleek explains that the school’s mission is to offer a more diverse, project-based learning environment for students to enhance their individuality and exploration and to promote community involvement.

Children’s Discovery Center

Downtown Toledo:
338 N St Clair St.

West Toledo:
3839 Talmadge Rd.

11090 Avenue Rd.
419-874-8203 | childrensdiscoverycenters.com

Directors: Angel Heath (Downtown), Lisa Hornyak (Waterville), Allison Mates (Perrysburg), Mikkel Ankenbrandt (Harbor Town), Natalie Errett (Talmadge) and Lindsay Krompak (Wolf Creek)
Directors: Angel Heath (Downtown), Lisa Hornyak (Waterville), Allison Mates (Perrysburg), Mikkel Ankenbrandt (Harbor Town), Natalie Errett (Talmadge) and Lindsay Krompak (Wolf Creek)

Children’s Discovery Center was founded on a mission to cultivate and nurture young minds through the unique Reggio Emilia educational philosophy. This inquiry-based approach invites children to explore concepts by investigating, creating and collaboratively solving problems as a group. The Directors of Children’s Discovery Center— Lisa, Angel, Mikkel, Allison, Lindsey and Natalie— view children as “competent, capable and amazing” and they “seek to nurture their interests by creating developmentally appropriate learning centers that focus on each child’s interests while incorporating S.T.E.A.M..”

The directors describe their teachers as “passionate, loving, creative, and professionally trained,” which allows Children’s Discovery Center, a premier early care and education provider, to “inspire children within an innovative environment while supporting Christian values.” Besides utilizing the Reggio Emilia approach to early education and incorporating STEAM, Children’s Discovery Center also has a personal chef that provides nutritionally balanced meals!

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