Meet Our Team



Offering more than 25 years of vast experience in the field of education, Wendy Rydarowicz is currently the co-founder and Chief Academic Officer of The Educational Empowerment Group. Wendy is an integral team player who has the ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with parents, students, staff members, board members, sponsors and community organizations while working proactively and effectively for the common good of students.



Danielle Artl is EEG’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction for K – 8 schools. She attended Bowling Green State University to obtain a Business Administration degree, then pursued her teaching license at Cleveland State University. Danielle’s top priority will be to ensure that the network of EEG schools will continue to provide high instructional quality, and that the schools will master their academic goals and maintain a culture of diversity and accountability.

Sandy Calvert

Director of Community Resources/Lobbyist

Sandy is consulting for the Education Empowerment Group developing community resources for children and their families in schools located in Youngstown, Columbus and Canton.

Tracy Carter

Director of Community Engagement

One of Tracy’s greatest passions is bringing people together to accomplish a common goal. It truly takes a village! She uses her experience as an administrator, nonprofit director and entrepreneur to target the needs of our students in the EEG network. Tracy’s education is comprehensive, earning an Executive MBA from The Ohio State University with an educational leadership focus; MBA from Warren National University with an entrepreneurship focus; BA from Franklin University with a Finance and Banking focus.

Tina Davenport

Executive Director of Testing and Data Analysis

Tina Davenport serves as the Executive Director of Testing and Data Analysis. In this role she is responsible for establishing a rigorous vision for academic performance districtwide, developing systems to inform schools about school performance and ensuring that the district uses high-quality data to drive its decisions.

Lisa A. Davis

Vice President of School Operations

Ms. Davis is currently responsible for the successful operation and academic success of high schools, drop-out prevention high schools, and elementary schools within EEG’s school network. As Vice President of School Operations, she provides leadership, focus, and direction to the school Principals. Her primary focus is to ensure that every school meets its academic and operational goals. She brings to EEG ten years of teaching experience, three years of school leadership experience, and five years of multi-school management.

Veronica Fly

Vice President of Communications

Veronica Fly has worked in the field of education for nineteen years. Currently, she is the Vice President of Communications for The Educational Empowerment Group. Veronica Fly received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rust College in English Education and Master of Education work at Walden University, with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction.

Howard Fox

State Reporting Manager

Howard has worked with charter schools and EMIS reporting for more than ten years. He studied Computer Application Development at Stark State College and Computer Science at the University of Akron. He has experience in multiple student information systems. Howard is a data manager, supporting state reporting and student services. He believes that “clean data is happy data” and works to ensure accurate reporting to maximize the hard work done at the school level.

Stephanie Groscost

Director of Operations

Stephanie Groscost brings over 25 years of educational experience to the Director of Operations role at EEG. She attained her degrees from Youngstown State University. Stephanie has held numerous academic roles in her career including teaching multiple grade levels and content areas, Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, and Principal.  Stephanie’s main focus is ensuring that school staff are well-prepared so they can provide the best learning environment for their students to meet academic and real world goals.

Holly Hatcher

Accounting ManageR

Holly joins the EEG team with six years of banking experience helping customers and business’s form solid foundations for their financial needs. She is responsible for tracking school expenses, providing reimbursements, and vendor relationships. Holly is excited to bring her financial experience to the team to help empower kids to get the education they deserve.

Elaine Keller

Vice president of Finance

Elaine Keller has spent the majority of her career in the Accounting and Finance field and has been a successful key contributor to overall business objectives and continuing industry growth.  As EEG’s Vice President of Finance, Elaine is responsible for vendor relationships and management, expense reporting, reconciliations and management reporting.  Elaine spent sixteen years in the Corporate Fleet and Travel environment, for companies like Eaton, Xerox ad BASF focusing on contract negotiation, process and policy improvement and corporate coaching and training.

Colleen Smith-Lawrence

Accounts Payable Coordinator

Colleen joins the EEG team as the Accounts Payable Coordinator.  She brings with her 20+ years’ experience in Accounting and Finance.  She was also an insurance agent for 10+ years, which allowed her to interact with a variety of people.  She prides herself in being able to make people feel comfortable and letting them know they are in good hands.  Her positive energy and self-confidence will be an asset to the EEG team.  She is excited to be part of such an amazing company.

Cami Lewis

Executive Director Office for Exceptional Children

I’m very honored to have the opportunity to lead a fantastic group of staff, students, and families in the Office of Exceptional Children. My role at EEG is to continue to equip, encourage, and empower all students to reach their full potential and make sure they receive the proper services from their IEP, ETR & 504 Plans. The Office of Exceptional Children will continue to build relationships with all students and families. Over my educational career, I have taught at Elementary, Middle, and High School levels. I’ve been in the roles of a Behavior Coach, Intervention Specialist, Mental Health Counselor, Assistant Principal and Principal. My job is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all students.

Pamela Martin

Director of State Reporting

Pam has been employed with Charter Schools for the last 17 years and has extensive experience in processing State Reporting. She is a Certified EMIS Professional and supplies outstanding and valuable knowledge in her effort to assist our schools accurately with student-based reporting. Pam has successfully processed and completed State Reporting for numerous states, which include Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and Arizona. Pam’s expertise lies in her outstanding ability to utilize several different student information systems while applying them successfully to aid each school.

Samuel Miller

Director of Facilities

As the Director of Facilities Samuel manages maintenance needs at each of our facilities to ensure a safe and clean environment for the children to learn in. From 2010-2018 he worked as a full-time truck driver, while also managing his own rental properties as a part-time business. He enjoys building relationships with contractors and vendors in order to make connections in the community.

Jason O’Koon

Director of Operations and School Improvement

Jason O’Koon brings with him to the Operations/Academic team over 25 years of school experience. He has served as a Teacher, Principal, and Curriculum Director throughout his career. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo and a Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University. He also has furthered his education at Ashland University. Jason has worked in both public and charter schools throughout Ohio and spent time as an international school principal in China and Curriculum Director of English in the United Arab Emirates.  As Director of Operations and School Improvement, he is committed to ensuring that students achieve their highest potential in a well-rounded educational environment.

Janet Pahlau

Senior Director of Graphic Design

Janet Pahlau has enjoyed a career as an artist and marketing professional in several disciplines. Her marketing design, production and coordination experience covers more than 22 years in print, and over 13 years in online marketing and design. Her previous projects and client communications have been in the B2B, B2C and Nonprofit sectors. She spent ten years with progressively responsible experience at the Akron Beacon Journal and seven years for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Janet’s best and most fulfilling work has come from projects and volunteer time with organizations that aim to uplift and educate the community.

Karl Perkins

Vice President of Marketing

Karl has a solid academic background with over 22 years in the education sector, as well as business, administrative, project planning, and community development experience. Throughout his career, he has served as a teacher, principal, director, superintendent, and chief academic officer. He holds a Bachelor of Science in K-8 Education from Central State University, a Masters in Educational Leadership from Antioch University McGregor, and pursued additional doctorate level training in Education from Capella University with a specialization in training and performance improvement.

Jasmine Roberts

Marketing Manager

Jasmine Roberts is a lover of teaching middle-school mathematics. With over a decade experience of teaching math courses in public education and on the collegiate courses. These rewarding experiences in the classroom inspired her to take a leap of faith to seek opportunities outside of the classroom to provide a greater. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Middle School Education from The University of Dayton and pursued additional master level training in mathematics education from Walden University.

Seth Russell

Director of Graphic Arts

Seth brings over 20 years of creative experience including design and freelance art to EEG. Seth ensures quality while working with tight deadlines. Adapting quickly to new situations that require leadership, teamwork and problem solving. Seth provides strong design skills in many forms, including retail print ad design, marketing, logo design and editorial page layout, as well as basic online and mobile ad design. He is highly skilled at traditional art and illustration, and very well qualified to take on any design or art project.

Thomas Rydarowicz

Director of Teacher Support Services

Tom brings 15 years of teaching experience in the mathematics and social studies fields. He created and established various classroom management techniques and plans that have been proven very effective in maturing students while concurrently maintaining discipline within the classroom. Tom is a graduate from Youngstown State University where he also obtained an Associate degree in Engineering Technology. He currently serves the EEG organization in mentoring RESA teachers and also functions as Chairperson of LPDC.

Krystal Vianueva-Steidl

Compliance Manager

Krystal serves as a Compliance Manager for the Educational Empowerment Group. In this role she works closely with the VP of Compliance. Krystal is responsible for the department’s compliance administrative duties including, preparation of school board meeting materials, renewal of school’s emergency and evacuation plans, monitoring school compliance, assisting with necessary submissions, and processing claims and orders for all EEG school food service programs.  She is committed to processing timely and accurate submissions of all compliance requirements. Prior to joining EEG, Krystal was a Financial Relationship Banker for Huntington National Bank where she developed strong organizational and multitasking skills along with providing exceptional customer service. Krystal is very excited to work for EEG and be a part of a great company that truly makes a difference.

Lisa Swank

Payroll Manager

Lisa started accounting 25 years ago when asked to assist with payroll, it has been her passion since.  She went from doing payroll for a small office of 15 employees over the years to a large corporate office of over 1,000 employees. She has a diverse view on payroll as she has worked as both a payroll manager for a company and as a client support manager for a payroll provider Paycor.  As the EEG payroll manager, she looks forward to building relationships with each employee and ensuring they receive support on all their payroll needs.

Darla Thompson

Human Resources Manager

Darla works as the Human Resources Manager. She has worked in the education field for over 20 years. Darla started working at a public school district in Missouri as an office manager in the principal’s office. Many years later, she transferred to the High School to work as an administrative assistant in the counselor’s office. There, her responsibilities included working with the class database, creating student schedules, updating student records, student enrollments and processing student transcripts.

Jillian Thornton

Vice President of Operations/Compliance

Jillian Thornton has over 13 year of experience in corporate compliance. Her previous experience includes serving as the Director of Compliance for a national background screening and investigation company. Jillian also spent 8 years as the Director of Governance and Compliance for a national charter school management company and worked with schools in Michigan, Ohio, and Florida. In this role she worked closely with school administration, boards and sponsors to ensure timely and accurate reporting of all necessary compliance requirements. Jillian is committed to alternative education and has served as a volunteer board member on various charter school boards.

Kate Travers

Director of Career Technical Education and Grants

Kate manages The Career Technical Education Department at the Educational Empowerment Group. She is responsible for providing the oversight and support for CTE/CBI programming to ensure EEG graduates are prepared with the knowledge, skills and disposition to pursue his or her chosen post-high school path leading to post-secondary success. She is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College and has taught Integrated Language Arts, served has building Principal, and acted as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Kate has her Master’s in Instructional Technology from The University of Akron and completed the Cleveland State University Certificate Program to obtain her principal’s license. She also holds the CBI Endorsement.

Nicholas Vera

Manager of Accounting

Nick joins the EEG team with 10 years of experience in accounting and data analysis fields. He prides himself on an efficient work style and keeping an eye out for the small details. After receiving an Associate’s Degree from Stark State College of Technology, he worked for several different corporate companies in varying fields. He is excited to work for a company that makes a real difference in people’s lives and focus on their mission.

Michael Wenger

Facilities Manager

Michael began working with EEG in April 2021 as Facilities Manager. He brings a wealth of experience in both commercial and residential construction and provides maintenance to each of the EEG facilities. Michael previously worked for 23 years at Southwood Pallet Inc. where he served as an Equipment Operator and Warehouse Manager at the manufacturing facility.

Ann Wyant

Vice President of Human Resources

Ann joins the EEG team as the Manager of Student Services and Human Resources. She brings with her a multitude of experiences, as she has served in a variety of capacities in her years in education. Ann’s expertise in working in education ranges from working with special education students in a one-on-one capacity to being a school office manager and ensuring all student records are in accordance with state regulations. She embraces a culture of high academic and behavioral expectations and seeks to ensure that all staff members are supported in their academic efforts.