Summit County’s First Cohort of CLASS Act Scholars Began the Program Sept. 15

Summit Education Initiative distributed the following press release on Sept. 5, 2017. 

Summit Education Initiative (SEI) has announced the names of 20 individuals who will represent the first cohort of CLASS Act Scholars of Summit County through May 2018.

CLASS Act Scholars is a new program that combines the Classroom Assessment Scoring System® (CLASS®) with free coaching, mentoring and professional development for a group of educators working in Summit County preschools. Generous funding from GAR Foundation, GPD Group Employees’ Foundation and PNC Foundation will support CLASS Act Scholars’ pilot year and beyond.

CLASS Act Scholars Opening RetreatChosen for their commitment to furthering their own professional development, this selective group of preschool teachers represents a wide range of preschool settings in Summit County.

“The CLASS Act Scholars program is much more than professional development,” said SEI’s Early Childhood Strategy Leader Laura DiCola, who is also involved with coordinating the program. “It is also designed to build relationships and elevate public perception of the early childhood profession.”

After scheduling an initial classroom observation with an independent CLASS® observer, CLASS Act Scholars will attend 10, two-hour sessions proven to strengthen and support the features of quality that are most important to children’s learning. SEI and its partners feel strongly that this program will benefit the preschools whose teachers are involved, as well as their students.

The names and preschool centers of the CLASS Act Scholars are as follows:

Stacy Baker, Early Childhood Center of Hudson; Lauren Balint, A Beautiful Child Preschool and Daycare; Lisa Faluotico, Treehouse Preschool; Nicole Garman, Summit Preschool at Summit Educational Service Center; Melissa Green, YMCA Family Enrichment Center; Carol Harman, FCC Children’s Center; Emily Humphrey, Akron Public Schools; Tammie Jackson, Hope Early Care and Education; Susie Kelps, All About Children; Angela Mitchell, Akron Summit Community Action – Head Start at Arlington CDC; Diana Nabring, Summit Educational Service Center; Tyesha Perkins, Irma Jones Preschool & Infant Center; Kathie Priest, Akron Public Schools; Tera Rockich, Maranatha Preschool Park; Sharon Ross, Child Time; Margo Slaughter, Glory Hallelujah Childcare; Amy Smith, Color Our Rainbow Academy; Vicki Tavenier, Riverside Preschool; Tracy Tonkovich, Akron Summit Community Action – Head Start at Five Points I CDC; and Giavonnie Woods, Discoveri Club.

The CLASS Act Scholars and their directors will meet at the program’s Kick-Off Event from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15 at Uncorked Wine Bar in downtown Akron. The CLASS Act Scholars two-hour Opening Retreat begins at 9 a.m. the next morning at the Andrew Jackson House on Mill Street. 


About PNC Foundation

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (, actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. For more information, visit and follow PNC Grow Up Great on YouTube here.

About Summit Education Initiative

Summit Education Initiative (SEI) is a nonprofit organization working to enhance the educational experiences of individuals and their families living in Summit County. SEI believes this helps ensure every student graduates prepared, passionate and persistent. The mission of SEI is to improve personal and regional prosperity through increased educational attainment.