John Stack has spent his entire professional career working in the charter school industry, from teaching to being a school leader to overseeing all managerial operations for a network of 15+ schools across Ohio. He is a passionate educational choice advocate who has united leaders from across sectors to ensure excellence at Oakmont schools. A University of Mount Union graduate, John studied psychology and business and also earned a teaching license.
Dimitrios Kriaras is a seasoned Executive of Higher Education supporting Colleges and Universities over the last 20 years as a Chief Operating Officer, President, and Chief Executive Officer. During the last two
decades, Dimitrios has developed an innovative approach to student success that has enabled career starters, changers, and enhancers to become confidently capable contributors to society. He is an
influential leader who has fostered a tremendous amount of industry relationships across multiple sectors in efforts to align student learning and success with workforce needs. Dimitrios holds a Master's Degree of Business from Keller Graduate School of Management.
Cris Gulacy-Worrel holds an M.P.A. in public policy from Northwestern with an emphasis on education and has an impeccable knowledge of charter school policy, finance, development and administration. Prior to Oakmont, she worked at the Ohio Department of Education where she specialized in charter school funding, education policy and legislation. A passionate advocate, Gulacy-Worrel has also served as an expert panelist with local task forces and the NAPCS.
Don Polyak has spent over 25 years helping organizations strategically grow. His extensive background is rooted in years of entrepreneurial leadership, demonstrating a unique blend of financial acumen and a strategic approach to driving success. As CFO, he plays a pivotal role in shaping and executing financial strategies that not only ensure stability and compliance but also contribute significantly to the overall growth and success of the organization. He is a proud alumnus of Kent State University. Don Is passionate about making an impact in the lives of the students we serve and providing choice and opportunity in the communities we serve.
For nearly 15 years, Karen Wachter has worked exclusively in alternative education. With an M.A. in education from The University of Akron and an undergraduate degree from Kent State, special education teaching experience and a former position as the director of our Towpath Trail High School, she has a profound understanding of the needs of students who have chosen to look outside of the traditional educational setting to achieve success.
Dr. Jerry Farley is a trained special educator with more than 35 years of experience, including roles as a direct care worker, classroom teacher, building administrator and school superintendent. Uniting comprehensive support, industry credentialing and hands-on job experience, Jerry develops programs that provide students with the opportunity to realize their unique “life after high school” dreams while ensuring the ability to earn a sustainable living wage. He holds a Doctor of Education from East Tennessee State University with a focus in educational leadership and policy analysis, as well as a B.A. and M.A. in special education from Belmont Abbey College.
Larry has 15 years of experience in alternative education with 10 years as a High School Director and Superintendent. He earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University (Oxford) and his M.A. in Education from The University of Akron. Larry is a dedicated leader with a vested interest in creating educational and career opportunities for today’s youth. Larry believes in the power of education and community, and it is his passion to express the importance both must play in the overall development and success of the whole student.
Randy Smoot takes great pride in embodying the values of a servant leader, constantly dedicated to serving students and their families. With a Master of Public Administration from Wright State University under his belt, Randy's professional journey has uniquely equipped him for his current role within this company. His career commenced in Operations Management, where he garnered valuable experience working with esteemed companies like Target Corp and Mast Global. He eventually transitioned into education, initially serving as a Truancy Probation Officer, and quickly rose in leadership overseeing multiple schools as School Director. Presently, he devotes his efforts to ensuring the success of schools throughout the entire state.
With 15 years of experience, Elisha Bryant is the Executive Director of Special Education for Oakmont Education. She has spent 10 years working exclusively in the education setting, and the last five years in Special Education Administration and Program Management. Elisha received her B.S. with a major in special education and minor in psychology from Cleveland State University and a curriculum and instruction M.S. from Ashland University. She began work as a special education teacher in 2004 and has worked in both traditional and charter school districts in Ohio. In 2013, Elisha became an Assistant Special Education Coordinator for a group of charter schools where she coordinated and supervised services for 10+ schools and became familiar with the daily operations of charter schools. Elisha is a member of the National Association of Special Education Teachers and the Council for Exceptional Children. She is committed to improving programs and achievement outcomes for students with disabilities.
Tim has more than 20 years of experience working in the operations side of businesses in both small companies and large companies. Tim's expertise in facilities management ranges from engineering design to operations management. He has a passion for leadership and putting systems in place that can allow others to focus on their passions. Tim holds a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering degree from Pennsylvania State University.
With her MBA and an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Family Studies from Ursuline College, Paulette Hare cherishes the experience she gained through a variety of roles in both the Early Childhood Education and K-12 fields before transitioning into operations of Oakmont Education’s schools. Paulette is passionate about her role in supporting the operations policies and procedures and leading the facilities development and construction projects to create the best learning environment for the students and staff at Oakmont Education. Her expertise in managing buildings, equipment, and services have been honed through her extensive experience in managing our facilities. Her excellent communication and organizational skills have enabled her to work collaboratively with all stakeholders, including contractors, vendors, and tenants, to ensure that facilities are well-maintained and meet the needs of all our schools. She is a key communicator with management and school staff, as well as with our many school board members across the network.
Jason is the Corporate Services Manager for Oakmont Education and is the definition of a super utility player. One of his many responsibilities includes office management where he maintains the day-to-day operations at Oakmont’s headquarters in Akron, Ohio. He is responsible for food service management in all of our schools and is actively involved with school safety. Jason also plans all of the company-wide events and training sessions for professional development. These duties require Jason to be a key communicator with management and school staff, as well as with our many school board members across the network.
Kristina Ropos has been working in the career technical education sector for over 3 decades. Her passion for CTE began as a graduate of a technical school and transitioned into an educator and later on to an administrator of CTE programming. Her desire and knowledge to bring business and education together for workforce development has resulted in multiple training programs developed for construction, manufacturing, and utility corporations. Her appointment to Ohio's CTE Leadership Board and the National Association for Career Technical Education provides further proof of her dedication to career and technical education. Kristina holds a Bachelor's Degree in Workforce Education and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership.
With over 18 years of experience working in alternative education, Markita Roberts, is a true advocate of school choice. She is passionate about ensuring schools comply with all regulatory guidelines, rules, and laws. Her ethical and principled leaderships is focused on providing schools with proactive support in identifying, preventing, monitoring, and resolving school compliance issues. Markita graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Ball State University in Muncie, IN, where she was also a Division I basketball player.
Stacey Cassidy is a results-driven marketing professional with a passion for education. As the Director of Marketing at Oakmont Education, she brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the team. Stacey's strategic vision and innovative ideas have driven significant growth in enrollment and engagement for the organization. She is a tenacious marketing professional that maximizes opportunities by developing creative business strategies that employ superior campaigns, events & incentives that engage internal stakeholders and customers alike. Stacey holds a Bachelor of Science in Advertising from Kent State University and a Master of Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design. Her unique combination of marketing expertise and educational background make her an asset to the Oakmont Education team.