About Us


Meet the staff from Summit Education Initiative who support our efforts in enhancing educational experiences in Summit County.

Derran K. Wimer  Derranhires

Executive Director

Derran started as Executive Director in September, 2011 after completing a 32 year career in public education.  His previous positions include: science/biology teacher, assistant high school principal, high school principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent.  He served in Summit County, Ohio at both Copley Fairlawn City Schools and Twinsburg City Schools and in Cuyahoga County at the Berea City Schools.  Derran is a graduate of Allegheny College with a BS in Biology and an MA in Education.  He continued his post graduate work at the University of Akron.  Derran is married to Susan and they have two sons and reside in Hudson.

Matthew D. Deevers, PhDMatthires

Senior Research Associate

Dr. Matthew Deevers joined SEI on August 1, 2012 as our Senior Research Associate. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Education from Cleveland State University in 2010. Matt specializes in learning theories, motivation, program development, and program evaluation. Matt began his career as a high school English teacher and assistant principal. Later, he played a leadership role in several northeast Ohio school districts as a director of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development. Matt has been involved in educational policy initiatives throughout his career.

Matt resides in Streetsboro with his wife Shannon and their three children.

Laura DiColalaura dicola

Early Childhood Strategy Leader

Laura DiCola joined SEI on May 31, 2016 as our Early Childhood Strategy Leader. Laura is a graduate of the Ohio State University, where she earned a BA in Psychology and a Juris Doctorate. She also holds a master’s degree in bioethics from Case Western Reserve University. After spending more than 20 years finding creative solutions to complex business problems as an attorney in the private sector, Laura left law to pursue her passion for education and community-based work. Her work at SEI focuses on the Early Childhood strategy, including Early Care, Kindergarten Readiness and Third Grade Reading.

Outside the office, Laura is a member of the Ethics Committee at Akron Children’s Hospital and currently serves on the boards of Girls on the Run of Northeast Ohio, the Women’s Endowment Fund of the Akron Community Foundation, ATHENA Akron and Groundworks Dance Theater. Laura lives in Hudson. She has four very independent daughters who live and work in Boston, Chicago, Bloomington (Indiana) and Munich (Germany).

Cristina González Alcalá

Tech Wizard & Research Associate 

Cristina joined SEI on June 4, 2014 as our Research Associate.  She earned her Master of Public Administration and Master of Arts (Communication) from The University of Akron in 2010 and 2012, respectively, and will earn her Doctor in Philosophy next spring.  Cristina specializes in communication traits, organizational communication, program evaluation, and Spanish translation.

Cristina grew up in Durango, Mexico and moved to Louisville, KY in 2003 to play golf for the University of Louisville with a scholarship.  She moved to Akron in 2008 to be the Women’s Golf Graduate Assistant Coach in its inaugural year.

She is a member of Akron Torchbearers class of 2016.

She resides in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood with her wife Richelle Wardell, and their three dogs Bogey, Kaiya, and Nikon.

Phillip Martucci, PhDPhil Martucci

College Attainment Team Strategy Leader

Dr. Phil Martucci began at SEI on August 1, 2015 as the College Attainment Strategy Leader.  He had a 30 year career in public education, which included being a middle school teacher, elementary school principal, middle school principal and director of pupil services and special education.  Over these years he worked in the Akron, Stow and Cuyahoga Falls school districts.  Phil earned his PhD in in the area of Curriculum and Instruction with a specialty in special education.  He also was an adjunct professor at The University of Akron – College of Education for 16 years. During the last two years Phil has served as the Director of Teacher Education.

Phil resides in West Akron.

Lindsay RidingerRidinger_Lindsay

Manager of Wow! Communications and Marketing 

Lindsay joined SEI in December 2015 after several years working in corporate communications at The Davey Tree Expert Company. She earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations from Kent State University in 2012. Lindsay specializes in internal and external communications, project management, social media and event planning.

Outside of the office, Lindsay is involved with several community organizations. She is a member of the Akron Torchbearers Class of 2016 and serves as one of the 2017 Leadership and Development committee co-chairs. Lindsay also serves on the board of Let’s Grow Akron and has been involved with the 2015 connect2akron, 2016 Cuyahoga Falls Better Block and 2017 YP Summit planning committees.

Lindsay lives in West Akron with her boyfriend, Greg Genega.

Kaye M. RoweKayhires

Controller and Operations Manager

Kaye joined our organization in the fall of 2009 and serves as SEI’s Controller and Operations Manager.  She is responsible for all of the day to day operations of the office, maintains the web site, and provides operational support to the staff with administrative responsibilities as well as technical computer assistance.  In addition to her accounting duties, Kaye works with several of the Cradle to Career Alliance work groups.

Prior to being employed by SEI, Kaye was the controller for an automotive distributor in Cleveland for seven years.  She graduated with honors from The Ohio State University in 1982 and has spent her accounting career in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors in the Akron/Cleveland area.  She is a volunteer at St. Sebastian Church and has been an active member of the Christ Child Society of Akron for several years.  She currently is serving her second term on the National Christ Child Society Executive Board as Treasurer.

Kaye grew up in west Akron.  She and her husband, David resides there.  They have a daughter, Allison, who graduated from Walsh Jesuit High School in 2009 and is a 2013 graduate of Miami University (Oxford, OH).  She now lives and works in Cleveland.