The Ohio Council of Community Schools (OCCS) is a not-for-profit organization designed to oversee the legal compliance and overall performance of its statewide portfolio of community schools. As the designee of the University of Toledo's Board of Trustees, OCCS is the sole community school sponsor in Ohio designated by a university to provide community school sponsorship and oversight. The OCCS Board of Trustees sets the overall direction and mission for the organization while the leadership team and staff are responsible for its implementation.
Lenny Schafer, M.Ed., PCC-S
Lenny Schafer is the Executive Director for the Ohio Council of Community Schools (OCCS). Prior to this position, Lenny served as the Associate Executive Director and was responsible for leading the new school development team, which guides potential new charter schools through the application process and oversaw several OCCS departments – academics, special education, and compliance. Lenny has spent more than 15 years working in education as a counselor, teacher, and administrator. Lenny holds a master’s of education in counseling and is an independently licensed professional clinical counselor. In addition, he is a founding member of two dropout recovery high schools in Canton, Ohio.
Jason Wall, M.Ed.
Vice President of Contracts and Advocacy
Jason Wall is the Vice President of Contracts and Advocacy for the Ohio Council of Community Schools (‘OCCS’). Jason has experience in many facets of Ohio's charter school movement, from teaching to developing an Education Management Organization (EMO) in 2012 and opening a new charter school. He has worked in the Center for School Finance for the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), where he calculated monthly charter school payments, developed policy, as well as managed the Ohio State Community School Administration System. He previously served as Director of Fiscal Services and Advocacy at OCCS. He received his undergraduate degree in Education from Capital University (1996).
Darrin Beconder, BA
Chief Oversight Officer
Darrin Beconder is the Chief Oversight Officer for OCCS. Darrin has been part of the community school movement for 12 years and brings invaluable expertise to our team in the areas of urban school leadership, school improvement, special education, operations and management. Prior to joining OCCS, Darrin served as Director of Support Operations for a management company and also as a school administrator in Akron, Cincinnati and Youngstown.
Lisa K. Burke, JD
Lisa Burke serves as Internal Counsel for OCCS. She earned her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University where she received a double major in American government and Spanish, and earned her law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law. Before working at OCCS, Lisa worked for a Chicago law firm in civil litigation, administrative law and mediation proceedings, and upon returning to her hometown of Toledo she worked as an attorney in corporate law. She has testified at hearings before the U.S. Department of Education on regulations involving special education, and has served on the executive committee for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Toledo. In her current role, Lisa provides legal guidance to OCCS staff on matters involving compliance with community school law and contracts. She has developed compliance processes for monitoring sponsored schools, including directing and beta-testing OCCS’ online compliance information systems. She is admitted to practice law in Ohio, and before the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, and is on inactive status in Illinois.
Vallrey Crump, M.Ed.
Director of School Improvement
Vallrey Crump serves as the Director of School Improvement. In her role, she oversees school improvement services for OCCS-sponsored schools and monitors the academic performance of all portfolio schools. Vallrey has over 26 years of experience in urban education in Ohio, having served as a charter school principal, superintendent, special education coordinator, school social worker, consultant, and more. She is a founder and former board president for a Cincinnati-based charter school, and has served on education and community boards and assisted in the development and implementation of Cincinnati Public Schools’ first discipline school, Project Succeed Academy. Vallrey received her master’s in education administration with an emphasis in charter school leadership from Central Michigan University. Her previous experience with OCCS included Regional Representative and Special Education Coordinator.
Judy Sgambati, M.Ed.
Director of Academics
Judy Sgambati is the Director of Academics at the Ohio Council of Community Schools. Judy has over 17 years of experience in charter schools as a teacher, board member and administrator, as well as experience at the EMO and Sponsor level. She earned her bachelor’s of science degree in elementary education and bachelor’s of arts degree in English literature from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in education administration from Xavier University. She is knowledgeable in data analysis, curriculum and instruction, English as a Second Language and Special Education.
Shelby Sauer, CPA
Director of Finance and HR
Shelby Sauer is the Director of Finance and Human Resources for OCCS. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Toledo. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a Licensed School Treasurer with over 15 years of experience in the field of financial analysis. Shelby is a member of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA), the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). She currently manages all internal financial data and assists with schools' monthly fiscal reviews. Additionally, she manages all internal human resource functions.
Adrianne C. Shreve, BS
Director of School Fiscal Services
As the Director of School Fiscal Services, Adrianne Shreve analyzes and monitors the fiscal viability of OCCS-sponsored schools. She is a licensed school treasurer and a graduate of Bowling Green State University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in business administration. Before joining the organization, Adrianne spent 10 years in public accounting, where she obtained a specialization in preparation of non-profit entity financial reporting and tax compliance.
Christopher Trabbic, BA
Director of IT & Operational Support
As the Director of Information Technology and Operational Support, Christopher Trabbic manages the development and maintenance of the information technology systems for OCCS and oversees the administrative staff and office operations. Prior to joining OCCS in 2004, Christopher obtained his bachelor’s degree in business from Bowling Green State University with focus in management information systems, computer science and history. He has 21 years of experience in information technology and is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Maumee.
Matthew E. Trzcinski, BA
Director of Trustee and Community Relations
Matthew Trzcinski serves as the Director of Trustee Relations and joined OCCS in 2006. Prior to joining the organization, Matthew worked for a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives who was instrumental in bringing charter schools to Ohio. Beginning his work with OCCS as a member of the compliance team, he has since worked in all aspects of charter school oversight, from being a regional representative in Columbus to working with school governing authorities in charter contract renewal. A University of Toledo graduate, he recently participated in the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Public Sector Leadership Program. Currently, Matthew is the staff liaison with the OCCS Board of Trustees.
Todd Burger, M.Ed.
Director of Special Education
Todd Burger is the Director of Special Education at the Ohio Council of Community Schools. Todd has over 10 years of experience in education as a teacher, coach, and administrator in both traditional and charter school settings. Todd earned his bachelor’s of science degree in biology from Ohio Northern University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from The Ohio State University. As a licensed administrator, Todd has experience with curriculum design and development, special education compliance, and school improvement processes.
Scott McClain, MA
Assistant Director of Regional Representatives
Scott McClain is the Assistant Director of Regional Representatives. Scott has been working in education for over 13 years. Scott has a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in project management. Prior to joining OCCS, Scott was a classroom teacher, high school leader and school board member.
Jessica Blair, M.Ed.
Assistant Director of Special Education
Jessica Blair is the Assistant Director of Special Education at Ohio Council of Community Schools. Jessica has over 12 years of experience in education as an Intervention Specialist and Administrator in both traditional and community schools. Jessica has a bachelor’s of science in Special Education and a master’s degree in educational leadership and supervision. Prior to joining the OCCS team Jessica was an Intervention Specialist for five years and a K-8 principal for seven years.
Tony Cardinal, M.Ed.
Northeast Ohio Regional Representative
Tony Cardinal is the Regional Representative for the Northeast Ohio region of OCCS-sponsored schools. He has been working in education for over 13 years, the last nine of which were within the charter school movement. Tony has a bachelor’s degree in arts of science and a master’s degree in educational administration. Prior to joining OCCS, he was a high school teacher for four years and a K-8 principal for nine years. In these positions, Tony was responsible for academics, special education, testing, data, school finances, and ensuring the school was in compliance with state law.
Wendy Rowland, M.Ed.
Southwest Ohio Regional Representative
Wendy Rowland is the Southwest Ohio Regional Representative and Special Education Coordinator for OCCS. She has a master’s in educational administration from Xavier University and almost a decade of experience in the community school movement. Prior to joining the OCCS team Wendy was a middle school teacher in a charter school for four years.
Elisabeth Webb, MA
Assistant Director of Compliance
Elisabeth Webb is the Assistant Director of Compliance for OCCS. Elisabeth has worked for OCCS since 2006 focused in the areas of compliance and governance. Elisabeth holds a master’s of arts in security studies from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s of arts in governance and business from Skidmore College. Her additional work experience includes, serving as a Director of Outreach for the Institute on Religion and Public Policy and a Research Assistant on the Global Terrorism Database project for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.
Diane joined the fiscal services team in 2015. Diane has been a QuickBooks ProAdvisor since 2000 and has worked on behalf of a member of the Sage Accountant’s Network for the past eleven years. She is also experienced with SAP and Great Plains software. Diane spent more than a decade in public accounting firms providing a wide range of accounting services including bookkeeping, payroll filing and compilation work. She has worked with multiple nonprofit organizations implementing accounting software and offering technical support. Diane also has experience as tech support for QuickBooks and Sage software and spent some time in private industry accounting.
Cara is an Executive Assistant for OCCS. In her role she assists with newsletters, blogs, and social media content along with providing overall administrative support. Cara has a strong background in social and digital media. Prior to joining OCCS she was a digital marketing specialist for a local news station. Cara is a graduate of the University of Toledo, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in communications.
Willa has worked with OCCS for ten years in the areas of administrative support, compliance, and record keeping. In her current role, she supports the compliance team. She is currently a Business Management undergrad at the University of Toledo. In addition, Willa completed the Dale Carnegie “Effective Communications and Human Relations” course, an organizational communication training program. Willa’s previous work experiences and strong attention to detail enable her to assist the Council in multiple roles. Prior to joining OCCS, she managed an after-school program at a Toledo-area private school and has been a property manager. Willa continues to work outside of OCCS as a legal secretary and is a notary public.
IT and Data Services Specialist
With over 25 years of experience in the computer industry, Keith joined OCCS in 2008 and is now the IT and Data Services Specialist. Keith is A+ certified as a computer technician and specializes in several computing areas: desktop operating systems, Microsoft Office, Adobe, and Filemaker Pro. In his current role, he supports and coordinates the various activities of OCCS’ IT department, conducts analyses of departmental procedures, troubleshoots and repairs problems, and helps support and maintain multiple databases for OCCS personnel on a day-to-day basis. Keith also contributes to OCCS projects that require innovative technological and data solutions. He recently completed the Dale Carnegie “Effective Communications and Human Relations" course.
Felicia joined OCCS in 2013 as an Administrative Assistant, after nearly a decade of retail management experience. In her role, Felicia assists with event and conference planning, travel arrangements, graphic design, and overall administrative support. She has completed coursework at Huntington University and International Business College.