Head of the Class


Justin Bryson

School Leader
Hope Learning Academy
4234 Monroe St., Toledo
419-297-6313 | www.hopelearningacademy.org    

What is the main goal for your school?

The main goal for HOPE Learning Academy is to provide an excellent and accommodating education for children with special needs. We strive to cultivate self-reliance, critical thinking, and problem solving skills while infusing social skills, sensory and art enrichment into our curriculum. 

What is the biggest change you are seeing in the education system?

There are many changes dedicated to student educational growth that will have a positive impact on our system. I have also noticed a strong dedication to improving the social and emotional growth of our students. Social and emotional growth provides tools necessary to develop well-rounded students ready to take on future challenges.  

What motivates you everyday?

My motivation comes from the amazing community that makes up HOPE Learning Academy. I am inspired daily by the dedication and commitment to our students from our staff and faculty.  Their energy and willingness to do whatever it takes for our students is what makes HOPE great.


Lynn Fisher

Head of School
West Side Montessori
13587 Roachton Rd., Perrysburg
7115  W. Bancroft St., Toledo
419-866-1931 | www.montessoritoledo.org

What is your mission/vision for the school? 

To create a learning environment where adults and children can become their best selves. At West Side Montessori, passionate, dedicated teachers set high expectations and collaborate with parents to support and encourage every child.

What inspires you everyday? 

The children. On Monday, a father watching toddlers through a one-way window asked if I see the same thing repeatedly or if I see something different each time I observe. Both, I answered. In each class tiny children are working industriously but their individual choices reveal their personalities. Just this week a mother caught me in the parking lot to share how her nine-year-old daughter compared the twisting shape of the scarf she is knitting to DNA. Another elementary student responded to my observation about the early morning full moon: “Yes, it’s a waxing gibbus.”

How did you become an educational leader? 

Like many private school leaders my career path was not direct. I was inspired to start West Side Montessori almost 40 years ago by my own two sons. As the Head of a private school I have the flexibility to continuously collaborate and create a joyous place to work.


Ann Riddle

Executive Director
Northwest Ohio Scholarship Fund
5800 Monroe St., Ste F5, Sylvania
419-720-7048 | www.nosf.org

What is your main goal for education?

I am a firm believer of making sure that children in our community can have the best educational option available to them. I assist parents in getting funding for their child’s education for private schools or homeschooling.

What is the biggest challenge you see in the education system?

Many times parents don’t know that there are a number of school choice options available. We are blessed to be in Northwest Ohio where we have educational vouchers such as EdChoice and Jon Peterson, many different charter schools, and the Northwest Ohio Scholarship Fund, which provides need-based scholarships for parents to use for their child to attend a private school or for homeschool expenses.

What motivates you every day?

I have been with the Northwest Ohio Scholarship Fund since 2004 and find everyday a gift. I get to meet the families that are benefitting from these school choice options. Nothing motivates me more than to visit a school where you find happy children and teachers.  


Ronald Matter

Penta Career Center
9301 Buck Rd., Perrysburg
419-666-1120 | www.pentacareercenter.org

What is your main goal for the school?

My main goal is always workforce development and training. We have 29 high school programs that prepare students to enter a career or to further their education into a two year, four year, technical, or community college.

What is the biggest change you are seeing in the education system?

The biggest change I see in education is an increase in state mandated testing, as well as, a big push for students to earn college credits while in high school. Also, credentialing programs allow career tech students to leave high school and already have credentials and certifications in hand.

What motivates you everyday?

The successes of the students, teachers, and administrators is what motivates me each day. The teachers and administrators are committed to continuous improvement. Also when a student has a huge win or reaches a new level, such as, obtaining an internship or winning a competition in their field of study. I feel a great sense of pride looking at our Outstanding Alumni Wall.


Eric Smola

St. Francis de Sales High School 
2323 W. Bancroft St.
419-531-1618 | www.sfstoledo.org

What is your main goal for the school?

The main goal for St. Francis de Sales School is to transform our students into Christian gentlemen. We strive to educate every Knight in the Salesian tradition; promoting the academic, spiritual, social and physical development of each young man. When a young man leaves St. Francis de Sales, we want him to not only be a good student but also a good person, husband, father and friend.

What is the biggest change you are seeing in the education system?

The biggest change I see in education is the increased emphasis on testing at all levels, including the number of tests and the time needed to administer.  I understand the importance of testing in determining content mastery, but I am concerned with the loss of instructional time.

What motivates you everyday?

I am motivated by our students, and to have the opportunity to be a part of their education makes it easy to come to school each day. To see young men with such energy, drive and potential is inspiring and energizing.


Nichole Flores

St. Ursula Academy
4025 Indian Rd.
419-531-1693 | www.toledosua.org

What is your main goal for the school? 

SUA’s vision is that we are the premier educational choice for young women and their parents, fostering a learning environment that develops young women of wisdom, service, and faith so that each is empowered to embrace the challenges of the world with leadership, courage and compassion. 

What is the biggest change you are seeing in the education system? 

The biggest change that I see in our education system is families are looking for school options. At SUA we continue to provide the best service possible to meet the needs of families coming to us from copious school districts. 

What motivates you every day? 

Carrying out the Ursuline Sisters 160-year mission of educating young women motivates me every day. The Ursuline Sisters have always been leaders, educators, and forward- thinkers. As an alumna of SUA, and now the principal, I have an incredible appreciation of SUA’s history and tradition.