Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Ida B. Wells-Barnett 

The Academy's Newsmakers

Providing Quality Educational Services 

to Akron, Ohio's Youth

Building Young Scholars for Their Future!

The Academy's Educational Mission

as Determined by Its Governors,
Administrators, Teachers, Support Staff and Stakeholders

ission Statement

The Ida B. Wells Community Academy now has two Learning Centers -- The Elementary Learning Center (Kindergarten to 4th Grade) at 1180 Slosson Street  and The Intermediate Learning Center (5th to 8th Grade) at 442 Bell Street. The Academy's mission is to educate youth (5 to 14 years of age) in Kindergarten through the 6th grade in an innovative and holistic and intellectually challenging atmosphere that (1) is personalized, problem-posing and problem-solving; (2) is devoted to the provision of quality instruction in the humanities, mathematics, the physical and natural sciences, citizenship, the arts, the social sciences, and African and African American history and culture studies; (3) emphasizes preparing students to pass at the 75th percentile or better on the fourth and sixth grade proficiency tests. However, the Academy will not rely exclusively on paper and pencil tests to assess educational value added. As professional educators, we strive to develop other mechanisms for determining our students' intellectual progress; (4) is a fully democratic and participatory educational process and (5) has a well conceived policy outlining the Roles and Responsibilities of Walimu (Teachers) and Wanafunzi (Students) and also the Rights and Responsibilities of Parents, Teachers and Administrators. The Academy is an educational institution within the Akron community and is consequently devoted to the education of young people; however, to do so adequately, we must also attempt to educate our adult community stakeholders as well.

     The Academy's Educational Program and Goals

The Ida B. Wells Community Academy introduces its students to a culturally integrative curriculum designed to infuse content that is at once nurturing, stimulating, intended to engage students' intellectual curiosity, and imbue in them a mutual respect for learning, self confidence, competence and self direction not only in traditional learning objectives but also in the attainment of knowledge of their culture, traditions and values. Students will also learn to appreciate themselves, their fellow students, their families, their community and their nation. The Academy's goals include creating a responsive and innovative learning environment that will instruct students based on these programmatic objectives:

          1.  to prepare all students to function competently and productively in an ever more complex and technological global society;
          2.  to achieve increased academic performance expectations and measured proficiency outcomes;
          3.  to increase students' daily attendance records and to implement creative disciplinary methods to reduce suspensions and dismissals;
          4.  to involve the professional community, parents, retired teachers and students directly in the learning process;
          5.  to design a curriculum that can be partially reliant on the learning potential of the World Wide Web so as to augment class assignments and individual student research;
          6.  to assure students and parents that they will be able to transition, with ease, out of the Academy into the Akron Public Schools or an equivalent public educational system; and
          7.  to provide students, parents and faculty and staff with a detailed handbook that clearly outlines their rights and responsibilities. The rights of all students, parents and faculty, including those guaranteed by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Ohio, and by applicable federal, Ohio, and local statutes, and the right to a quality education, are and shall be recognized without regard to race, religion, sex, disability, or intellectual ability. Student responsibilities include compulsory attendance, conscientious effort in classroom work, conformance to school rules and regulations, and the responsibility not to interfere with the education of fellow students or the orderly operation of the Academy. These rights and responsibilities, as they pertain to students, begin with kindergarten and extend through the eighth grade.

The Academy's grade level teaching assignments change each year; teachers may, should they wish, loop, that is, follow their students to the next grade level.  Because of the certification requirements of No Child Left Behind, teachers following their students into the next highest grade is no longer permitted in the intermediate grades 5 to 8.

ver the seven years the Academy has been in existence, a well qualified team has administered it from the point of its original conception until the present. These administrators have worked tirelessly to create a cohesive learning community and to maintain a secure and adequate learning facility, a critical mass of students, and a cadre of highly competent and committed administrators, faculty and support staff.

Essential to the Academy's forward looking management and programmatic effectiveness is the guidance it receives from its Board of Governors. These Governors represent various professions – education, business, community and health services, religious institutions, and public service agencies. Parents and others residing in the Greater Akron community are eligible for nomination for Board membership. Parents, faculty and staff, community residents and students (sixth graders and above) are represented on the Academy's Advisory Board where they have the ability to be decision makers in impartant administrative, academic and disciplinary mat- ters..                         

The Board of Governors

(Click HERE to read their resumes)

he Board of Governors shall conduct or direct the affairs of the corporation, that is the Ida B. Wells Community Academy, Inc., and exercise its powers, subject to the limitations of the Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 1702: Nonprofit Corporation Law, its Articles of Incorporation and its Bylaws. The Board may delegate the management of the activities of the corporation to others so long as the affairs of the corporation are well managed, and its powers are exercised, under the Board's ultimate jurisdiction. As of May 19, 2000 the corporation received from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service authorization for tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3).

Without limiting the generality of the powers here granted to the Board of Governors, but subject to the same limitations, the Board shall have all the powers enumerated in the Bylaws. These powers specifically include the following:

         1.    To elect and remove Governors,
         2.    To select and remove officers, agents and employees of the corporation; to prescribe powers and duties for them; and to fix their compensation,
         3.    To conduct, manage and control the affairs and activities of the corporation, and to make rules and regulations,
         4.    To enter into contracts, leases and other agreements which are, in the Board's judgment, necessary or desirable in obtaining the purposes of promoting the interests of the corporation,
         5.    To carry on business at a profit and apply any profit that results from the business activity to any not-for-profit educational activity or enterprise in which the corporation may engage,
         6.    To act as Governor under any trust incidental to the corporation's purposes, and to receive, hold, administer, exchange and expend funds and property subject to such a trust,
         7.    To acquire real or personal property, by purchase, exchange, lease, gift, devise, bequest, or otherwise, and to hold, improve, lease, sublease, mortgage, transfer in trust, encumber, convey or otherwise dispose of such property,
          8.    To borrow money, incur debt, and to execute and deliver promissory notes, bonds, debentures, deeds of trust, mortgages, pledges, hypothecations and other evidences of debt and securities,
          9.    To lend money and accept conditional or unconditional promissory notes therefore, whether interest or non-interest bearing, or secured or unsecured,
        10.   To indemnify and maintain insurance on behalf of any of its Governors, officers, employees or agents for liability asserted against or incurred by such person in such capacity or arising out of such person's status as such, subject to the provisions of the Ohio  Revised Code, Chapter 1702: Nonprofit Corporation Law and the limitations noted in these Bylaws.

To read the complete Board of Governors Bylaws, click HERE.

The Governors

Edward W. Crosby, PhD, Founder
Dr. Edward W. Crosby, PhD, retired from Kent State University after having served for 25 years as the founder and Chairman of the Department of Pan-African Studies. In 1998, he co-founded the Academy. From 1998 to 2003, he served as the Board's Chair and as the Academy's Superintendent. He was elected to a second term as Board chair in 2005. He serves currently as the chair of the Personnel and Grievance Commit tee.. 
Janice D. Taylor Heard
Dr. Janice D. Taylor Heard is the Vice Chair of the Board of Governors. She is a professional educator and currently serves as the Director of the Multi-Cultural Devel- opment, Outreach, and Retention Division at The University of Akron. Dr. Heard has had a well deserved reputation for working on the issues impacting the education of urban African Americans in elementary and intermediate schools as well as college students.
Angela M. Neeley, MBA, CAO
Mrs. Angela M. Neeley is an Ex Officio voting member of the Board of Governors. She was among the Academy's original developers in 1998 and now serves as the Academy's Chief Administrative and Fiscal Officer after having served as its licensed Business Manager. Mrs. Neeley chairs the Board's Financial Af fairs and Planning Committee.
Bridgie A. Ford
Dr. Bridgie A. Ford  is a full professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instructional Studies, the University of Akron. Dr. Ford recently joined the Board of Governors and will work with faculty and staff in a number of essential areas, e.g., data collection and research, assessment, and grant proposal  writing.
Mozella M. Cottingham Watts
Mrs. Mozella M.C Watts is the Academy's super- visor of curricullum and instruction. When she retired she had serving as the Principal of an elementary and middle school in the Akron School District. She joined in the 2004-2005 academic year to organize, design, and implement the Academy's restructuring and academic accountability and school continuous improvement plans
Mr. John Fuller
Mr. John Fuller recently retired from the City of Akron's Department of Community Devel- opment and Planning. Mr. Fuller has been very active in the Akron community in terms of public school and university educational issues. In 1998 Mr. Fuller participated on the committee organizing the establishment of the Ida B. Wells Community Academy. 

Mrs. Nikki Marchmon Boykin is a Graduate of Kent State University where is a BS in Secondary Education with a major con- centration in Social Studies and an MEd. in Counseling and Student Personnel. Mrs. Boykin has taught Social Studies for the past 12 years at Roosevelt High School in Kent, Ohio.
Nikki Marchmon Boykin

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Administrative and Support Staff                                                                                                    
Mrs. Angela M. Neeley
Mrs. Angela M. Neeley (nee Anderson), MBA, is a graduate of Kent State University. She was among the Academy's original developers and is currently the Academy's Chief Administrative Officer & Board Treasurer. She began her employment at the Academy as its licensed Business Manager and Board Treasurer. Ms. Anderson now holds a School Treasurer / Fiscal Officer’s license. She supervises, therefore, the Academy's total fiscal and academic financial operation. She is also the manager of the Academy’s No Child Left Behind (ESEA) Title I and other education related grants from federal, state and private agencies.
Dr. Edward W. Crosby, Founder Dr. Edward W. Crosby, PhD, received his BA and MA from Kent State University and his PhD from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. In 1993 he retired from Kent State Uni- versity after having served for 25 years as the founder and Chairman of the Department of Pan-African Studies. In 1998, Dr. Crosby co-founded the Academy. From 1998 to 2003, he served as the Board's Chair and as the Academy's Superintendent. In 2005 he was elected to serve a second term as Chair of the Board of Governors and continue in the role of program planning consultant to the Chief Administrative Offi cer and her immediate staff.
Mozella M. Cottingham Watts
Mrs. Mozella M. Cottingham Watts is a certified school principal. She has retired after serving as the Principal of a public middle and elementary school in the Akron (Ohio) School District. She was brought aboard toward to middle of the 2004-2005 academic year to design and implement the Academy’s reorganization and academic accountability and school improvement plans. Mrs. Watts will serve as the Academy's Supervisor of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development:
Kelly L. Pack Crosby
Mrs. Kelly Pack Crosby has a BA in Business Administration from Kent State University. She is currently the Academy's Business Manager and human resource personnel officer. Mrs. Crosby's responsibilities include payroll, fiscal and personnel records management, equipment and supplies inventories maintenance and other important administrative duties.
Robert M, Singleton Mr. Robert M. Singleton is the Instructional Leader of the Academy's Intermediate Learning Center. He is an experienced teacher, is State certified and formerly taught the Academy's Sixth Grade. He has an MEd from Cheney State University and is certified in Special Education. He is currently working on finishing a MEd in School Administration. Mr. Singleton has taught in the public schools of Philadelphia, PA, and Cleveland, OH,  He also helps with emphasizing self esteem and value development among the Academy's Intermediate Center students.
Anthony Kratsas
Mr. Anthony Kratsas is the Instructional Leader of the Academy's Elementary Learning Center. He is a graduate of West Liberty State College, West Virginia, and certified to teach the elementary Grades and special education. Mr. Kratsas has taught at community schools in Cleveland where he also served as an Intervention Assistance Team mana- ger. He has worked at the Hope Academy on Broadway as a special education teacher and helped organize staff evaluations and assess student performance, develop routine communication with students, parents, teachers and community stakeholders. He will engage in similar activities at the Academy.
Synia L. Rodgers Mrs. Synia L. Rodgers, Executive Secretary and EMIS & Student Records Coordinator. Mrs. Rodgers manages the Academy's Main Office and serves as the Academy's Registrar or Admissions Officer. Formerly, Mrs. Rodgers served most competently as Secretary to the Board of Governors. That duty was removed. With the addition of the Middle School Campus, Mrs. Rodgers has to record the requisite information in EMIS and keep track of a growing number of student academic, discipline, and medical records.

Mrs. Doni M. Burrus Brooks, a former volunteer, now serves as the Academy's Community Relations Facilitator and Students Disciplinarian. She recruits students, and volunteers, and promotes the Academy's learning objectives, e.g., student attendance and discipline, makes regular visits to students' homes to explain to parents how their children’s absences and conduct have a negative impact on their learning potential. She also reminds parents of their need to have their children attend the Academy's entire 210-day academic year.
Mrs. Cynthia Y. Shotwell
Mrs. Cynthia Y. Shotwell serves as the Secretary / Receptionist for the Intermediate Learning Center, performs various secretarial duties and maintains the student records and other files, drafts letters, reports, etc. in collaboration with the Center’s Instructional Leader, Mr. Robert M. Singleton. Mrs. Shotwell also serves as the Secretary to the Board of Governors.

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he Ida B. Wells Community Academy's faculty are representative of a well educated and diverse community of highly qualified educators committed to teaching and educational innovation. They also represent a competent cadre of teachers devoted to young people and their academic excellence. The Ida B. Wells Community Academy operates on two campuses. The Elementary School Campus is located at the Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 1180 Slosson Street. The Middle School Campus is located at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, 442 Bell Street. Both campuses are in Akron, Ohio.

Faculty and Assistant Teachers
Mrs. Nicole Cathey has a BS in Elementary Education from Kent State University and several graduate hours towards an MEd. Mrs. Cathey is a certified elementary and middle school teacher in the state of Maryland where she taught from 1998 to 2004. Since returning to Ohio and joining the Academy in August 2005, she has applied for and is awaiting the issuance of an Ohio teaching certificate. Mrs. Cathey is a professional teacher with work experience in several teaching and related areas Mrs. Nicole Cathey
Mr. Anthony Gamblin is a graduate of the University of Southern California where he ran track and played football. He joins the Academy as an instructor of Physical Education and Health. He has taught at various public and private schools in Akron. Most of his teaching assignments have been as a track or football coach. Mr. Gamblin will on occasion serve also as an instructor of students assigned to in-school suspention for behavioral pro- blems.
Mr. Brian P. Spizzo is a graduate of Kent State University with a BS degree in Elementary Education and is certified to teach in Ohio. He has taught Art and Music in Cleveland's Metropolitan School District and worked at the Sylvan Learning Center in Stow, Ohio. Mr. Spizzo teaches at both the Elementary and Inter- mediate Learning Centers. Brian Spizzo
Peggy R. Romesberg
Mrs. Peggy R. Romesberg is the Academy's Special Education Specialist. She is a graduate of the University of Akron and is certified in Specific Learning Disabilities. Mrs. Romesberg had professional experiences in community schools in Akron, Lorain, Parma and Mansfield, Ohio. Ms. Romesberg works with Special Education students at the Academy's Elementary School Campus. She will also manage the delivery of Special Education Services at the Middle School Campus.
Mrs. Kyrie A. Lee is the Academy's highly qualified state certified Second Grade Teacher. Mrs. Lee graduated from Ohio Univer- sity. She has taught in Community and traditional schools in Canton, Ohio. Since graduating from High School, and undoub- tedly before he left High School, he has been interested in teach- ing along with Ohio's mandated standards African American his- tory and culture.
Kyrie A. Lee, 2nd Grade Teacher
Sheila J. Zeidrich
Miss Sheila J. Zeidrich is a certified teacher and graduate of Kent State University with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Even though this is her first full-time teaching assignment, she has had some positive teaching experiences in North Canton and Akron. The Academy's administration believe she will be a positive educational force on the Elementary Learning Center. 
Ms. Michelle A.D. Batten has a BS in Early Childhood Education from Cleveland State University and is a highly qualief, state certified by the State of Ohio to teach the Academy's First Grade students. Ms. Batten is starting her full-time teaching career at the Academy. Ms. Batten is assigned to the Elementary Learning Center.
Michelle A.D. Batten
Mary K. Petric
Mrs. Mary K. Petric is a certified teacher with a BS in Elementary Education from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She teaches the Academy's Title I - Reading and Math Program. She also helps with the delivery of special education services to students. Mrs. Petric will supervise the Academy's overall student assessment process. She has also taught in the Kent, Hudson and Akron public and private schools. Mrs. Petric is the Academy's senior Title I - Reading and Math Instructor. She also serves on the Academy's Accountability and Student Performance Data Col- lection Committee. She is stationed at the Academy's Elementary Learning Center.
Mrs. Andrea K. Hirst is one of the Academy's Title I - Reading and Math Teachers. She has a BS in Elementary Education from Kent State University and has a K-8 teaching certificate from the State of Ohio. Prior to joining the Academy, she taught in the Ravenna, Streetsboro and Mantua, Ohio, schools. Mrs. Hirst helps to keep the Academy's educational program structure well organized. Mrs. Hirst's teaching assignment is in the Academy's Intermediate Learning Center. Andrea K. Hirst
Mr. Floyd Filingame
Mr. Floyd Fillingame is the Academy’s Information Technology Specialist and serves when needed as a stand-in mathematics Assistant Teacher. He is also the prime mover of the Academy's Mathematics Enrichment Class. Mr. Fillingame has a BA degree in Mathematics from Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. He has had considerable work experience in Informaton Technology at Dean Foods of Akron, Ohio, and Fresh Mark and Babcock and Wilcox both of Canton, Ohio, where he was MIS director and Systems Analyst respectively.
Mrs. Christie McFadden is the Academy's Intermediate Learning Center's highly qualified  state certified Science Teacher – All Grades. Mrs. McFadden graduated from from Youngstown State University with a BA in Secondary Education in Life and Earth Sciences. She has taught high school in the Struthers City School District. Mrs. McFadden has organized as an incentive project a basketball team composed of selected Intermediate Center male students.
Mrs. Christie McFadden
Mrs. Paula Warren Mrs. Paula A. Warren is a graduate of The University of Akron where she earned a BA degree in Secondary Education and an MS degree in Technical Education. She is currently a candidate for a Mild / Moderate Intervention Specialist License from Kent State University. She currently serves as the Special Education instructor at the Intermediate Center. She has teaching experiences in the public schools of Akron, Ravenna and Canton. 
Mrs. Chelaise Burton is the Middle School's certified Fifth Grade Teacher. She is a graduate of Kent State University and the Academy is her first full-time teaching assignment. She has been teaching at the Academy for two productive years. Her degree is in Integrated Social Studies so she should be a great asset to the Academy's emphasis on infusing African and African American  history and culture into the standards-based curriculum Chelaise Burton

On Correct Education

Edward Wilmot Blyden
Great stress is being laid – and not without reason – upon the facilities of education now within re
ach of our people in the United States – the book learning which many of them are now receiving. This is certainly a matter for congratulation. But we must not lose sight of the important fact to be gathered from the very etymology of the word education, viz; that book learning is not the most essential part of our educational needs as a people. You do not educate a man when you merely fill his mind; but you do educate him when you lead out his powers. You do not educate a man when you merely tell him what he knew not; but you do educate him when you make him feel what he ought to feel; the one is mental, the other affectional. The one teaches him to lean upon others, the other teaches him to 'retire upon himself.' All this latter lesson is what [Africans in America] need more than all the literature of the schools.

And this view of their education becomes more important when we look upon the work which a large portion of them are destined to do in their Fatherland. . . . They will not be able to succeed as mere imitators of the European. And yet this is what, for the most part, they are becoming, by the very condition of their training, in America. The effect of the instruction received by our people directly from their . . . teachers, and indirectly from their surroundings, is to induce an accretive growth, and not a development from within – to impress upon them a mould and not to give them inward vigor. But in the work to be done, . . . they will need a great deal more than the thin veneering, which answers all their practical needs, while they remain in America, and are not forced by the exigencies of their circumstances to 'retire upon themselves.'

                     Edward Wilmot Blyden (1878)

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Elementary Learning Center
(Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Grades )

Mr. Anthony Kratsas, Instructional Leader
Mt. Olive Baptist Church
1180 Slosson Street
Akron, Ohio   44320-2730

Phone: 330.867.1085   FAX: 330.867.1074

For More Information, Write or Call 

Mrs. Angela M. Neeley, MBA, Chief Administrative Officer
and Fiscal Officer


Mrs. Synia L. Rodgers, Secretary and Registrar

The Ida B. Wells Community Academy
1180 Slosson Street
Akron, Ohio   44320-2730

Phone:  330.867.1085   FAX:  330.867.1074

Intermediate Learning Center
(5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Grades)

Mr. Robert M. Singleton, Instructional Leader
Mt. Calvary Baptist Church
442 Bell Street
Akron, Ohio   44307-2306

Phone: 330.253.4298   FAX: 330.253.5512

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