Head of Class 2021

Behind every great school is a great leader. The Toledo area is fortunate to have some wonderful schools with passionate educators who strive daily to make a difference in the lives of children. These schools and educators work diligently to ensure that their students are successful and ready to take on the world!

Sarah Hawley

iLead Spring Meadows

1615 Timberwolf Dr, Holland

419-491-7243 | ileadspringmeadows.org

iLead Spring Meadows follows the mission statement “Free to Think. Inspired to Lead,” and that is evident in the school’s practices. iLead is very hands-on oriented which allows students to participate in real-world activities. Project-based programs that are aligned with the state standards are used from kindergarten on up and help students develop interpersonal skills, collaboration, and a love of learning through investigation.

The school is run by Sarah Hawley who explained that her personal educational philosophy “is to develop skills that will make the world a better place for everyone.” At the school she is responsible for maintaining a positive school culture where deeply-invested facilitators can best support the students and help them become creative thinkers and learners. iLead students leave the school with problem solving skills, advocacy skills, and “the confidence to take risks that will help them grow”.  

Lynn Cherry

Lial Catholic School

5700 Davis Rd, Whitehouse

(419) 877-5167 | lialschool.org

“There is no other school like Lial,” stated Lynn Cherry, the Head of Lial Catholic School. She went on to describe the school as a blend between traditional educational practices along with Montessori practices with faith being at the center of everything. The building has no desks, but rather uses community tables that allow students to engage with one another. The school follows a multi-age philosophy which allows students many opportunities over many years to succeed, and extensions are created for students that are ready to further their learning. Also unique to Lial is that learning is not just in the classroom. Students are outdoors each day on the 94 acre campus. The school recently won the 2020 S.A.V.E Eco-School award for one of the middle school electives that partners with the Toledo Metroparks to help students learn about Oak Openings’ unique ecosystem. 

In her role as Head of School for Lial, Lynn Cherry is responsible for leading the faculty and staff which she described as “dedicated, faith-filled, approachable, authentic, and grateful.” Additionally she leads students and their families in a faith-filled way, and keeps the “charism and principles of Sisters of Notre Dame present in the daily school happenings.” Her philosophy of education is focused on the current and future needs of each student and ensuring they are prepared to be his/her personal best. A current sophomore who attended Lial explained that their experience at the school gave them a strong basis of study skills, organization, and an understanding of how they best learn which has helped them to be successful in high school. 

Lynn Casto 

Maumee Valley Country Day School

1715 S Reynolds Road, Toledo

419-381-1313 x117 | mvcds.org

Maumee Valley Country Day School’s mission is to enable students to be enlightened, compassionate, and contributing citizens of a global community. The school works hard to ensure students have the best opportunities in higher education after graduation. The school has a diverse student body with students coming from all walks of life from all over the world. The teaching at Maumee Valley Country Day School is focused on critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity, character, and global connectedness. Students receive personal attention from a group of passionate educators. Each student’s unique interests and talents are known and they are able to craft a personal learning experience. In the upper grades students’ schedules are focused on experiential learning where students can take classes they would not find anywhere else. These classes allow students to put their learning to practice and even allows them to explore new places. In the past students have studied on a research vessel in the Bahamas, discovered physics through aviation, traveled cross country by Amtrak and created photo essays, restored a historic mansion in the Old West End, and written and performed theatrical pieces on Maumee Valley’s Millennium Theater stage. 

Maumee Valley Country Day School is led by Lynn Casto whose job is to ensure that the mission of the school is executed to the fullest extent. She stated, “I equate my job to being that of a superintendent combined with an executive director of a non-profit organization.” As a leader at the school, Casto works to create a secure and trusting environment so that both staff and students are challenged to explore the world, themselves, and to work collaboratively toward a common goal. “I embrace school leadership as a commitment to and love of learning, a belief in the inherent potential within students and teachers, and a desire to be involved in meaningful work that can affect long-term, global change.”

Jenn Schoepf

West Side Montessori

7115 W. Bancroft St., 419-866-1931.

13587 Roachton Rd., Perrysburg. 419-874-9385.


“Children learn best when they are engaged in hands-on, real world learning experiences,” said Jenn Schoepf, Head of School for West Side Montessori. The Montessori Method focuses on nurturing a love of learning by teaching children how to work, including organizing time and space; accepting responsibility for their own learning; taking appropriate risks; respecting the environment and the needs of others; and creating a democratic community. West Side Montessori provides highly organized classroom learning environments that give children countless opportunities to move, make choices and take charge of their own learning. The school’s Montessori-certified teachers, administrators and assistants fully implement a world-renowned curriculum for children from 13 months old through grade 8, making West Side one of the largest, most successful private Montessori-accredited schools in the nation.

“West Side graduates share how excellent preparation throughout their Montessori education supported their success in high school, college, and in their careers,” Schoepf said. “Collaborative projects, speaking opportunities and leadership development fostered their skills to become confident communicators, compassionate leaders and self-motivated learners.” Providing mixed-age classrooms and expert teachers, 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.

Dr. Romulus Durant

Toledo Public Schools, Superintendent 

419-671-0001. tps.org 

What was your district’s biggest accomplishment in 2020? We adapted to the pandemic and acted quickly to move our curriculum online with virtual classes and                                                          protected our students and staff during this difficult time.

Toledo Public Schools continued to expand our career technology offerings for students, along with providing more advanced pathways that will lead students to a successful start in college. The Aerospace & Natural Science Academy of Toledo provides  high school students with aviation related career  interests or urban agriculture with a unique learning environment.  

What is something you hope to accomplish in 2021? Toledo Public Schools will continue to provide a rigorous curriculum to all students and work to ensure that our graduates are college and career ready. We also plan to continue enhancing our community partnerships and to share the ‘good news’ that happens each and every day at TPS with our supporters. 

Why did you become an educator? I’ve always been driven to helping others. To me, education is a powerful way to reach as many people and to make a true impact on their future.

Erin Schoen Marsh
Erin Schoen Marshhttp://www.erin-marsh.com
Erin is a writer/editor, yoga teacher, and mama to two little ones.

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