Head of Class 2024

Our children’s education is in the hands of the leaders who have stepped up to help provide the best learning situation for local students. However, learning does not stop when students come home for the day. We spoke with local leaders who shared their best advice to parents as well as information about their programs. 

Joella Simmons

School Leader
HOPE Learning Academy
4234 Monroe St, Toledo.

Advice for parents: 

I am Joella Simmons, a mom of three and the School Leader of HOPE Learning Academy. I firmly believe that every child has the potential to thrive academically and personally. Here is my best advice for Nurturing Your Child’s Education

  1. You are your child’s first teacher. 
  2. Understand your child’s unique learning style.
  3. Find a school that can meet their individual needs. 
  4. Create a partnership with the school and teachers. 
  5. Stay engaged with your child’s education.  

The best advice that I can give any parent is that you are your child’s first teacher. Start early by teaching academic and social skills. Every child learns differently. Observe and identify their learning style — whether visual, verbal or hands-on. Recognizing these preferences empowers you to support and advocate for your child’s unique needs. Research schools and choose one that fits your child’s needs. View educators as partners in their education. Collaborate with them to address challenges and celebrate successes, creating a supportive network for your child’s educational journey. Stay engaged, offer consistent support, and watch your child grow into a successful and fulfilled adult. 

About HOPE Learning Academy:

HOPE Learning Academy is all about creating a positive, safe space where kids are not just valued but also where their unique learning needs are met. Our mission is simple: we’re here to help each student reach their highest potential. 

At HOPE, we’re committed to making a real difference in your child’s education. We have small classes, with a max of ten students, so everyone gets the attention they deserve. Plus, our dyslexia support program and social skills program, along with sensory integration, make learning a personalized and holistic experience. Join us at HOPE Learning Academy, where education goes above and beyond, and your child can truly shine! 

Scott Henry

Northwest Ohio Classical Academy
5025 Glendale Ave, Toledo.

Advice for parents: 

Parents have the most influence over child development and learning from the time they are babies. Two simple ways to make a big impact include introducing simple concepts in daily life and reading to your child. Asking for right and left hands and feet as you are doing activities and getting dressed will help children learn their right from left, for instance. Reading good books to your child is the best thing to develop an inquiring mind. Stories have a way of inspiring wonder and a love of learning. While there are great cognitive benefits to reading to your child, early introduction to examples of virtuous heroes set examples of good character for children to emulate.

About Northwest Ohio Classical Academy:

Northwest Ohio Classical Academy trains the minds and improves the hearts of students through the use of a classical curriculum for the purpose of developing virtuous citizens. The focus of an American classical education is to educate the whole child: mind and soul. Through discussion of history, literature, the arts, and sciences, students gain an appreciation of not only the world around them, but an understanding of human nature. This informs their growth as individuals and how to interact with those around them. Learning is a habit of the mind as well as the soul, as students acquire knowledge and put on virtue. Ultimately, this habit is developed through inspiring wonder of that which is good, true, and beautiful. The result is an educated and good person who can think, reason, and communicate with those around them.

Shannon Bedard

Educare Academy’s Regional Director
Various locations

Parenting advice:

Time is the best gift that you can give a child. In a world that’s always busy, time may be our most valuable resource. Children thrive when given the gift of time and intentional attention. It matters less what you are doing with your child and more that you are doing it. 

About Educare Academy:

At Educare Academy, we meet each individual child’s needs while fostering their growth. We use the whole-child approach. The whole-child approach to teaching supports and nurtures all areas of children’s development and learning  — from social-emotional and cognitive skills to literacy, math and science understanding. Our goal is to develop healthy and well-rounded children who are equipped with the skills they need for life.


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