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JB News

News From The Schools


Virtual Celebrate Gala A Success

We would like to sincerely thank everyone who participated in our virtual Celebrate Gala this year! Although the format of our Gala had to change out of our deepest respect for the health and safety of our guests, our goal remained the same.

Julie Billiart Schools Recognized as Top Workplace and NASET School of Excellence

Julie Billiart Schools are honored to receive two outstanding awards that celebrate excellence in education and quality of workplace. Julie Billiart Schools look to their mission of educating and empowering children with learning differences as the reason and driver behind these awards.

A Playground To Be Proud Of - Large-Scale Renovations Underway At JB Akron

When Julie Billiart Schools’ Akron campus (JBA) students and faculty return this fall, they can expect to see some big changes to their school building. 

JB Alumnus to Release Second Edition of Book

A lot can happen over the course of six years. In that time JB alumnus, David Petrovic, has graduated from college, started a Master's degree, held a TEDx talk, and entered the workforce. Now, it's time for him to tell that story in a second edition.
OT Story

Using what’s on hand - Occupational Therapists get clever with distance learning

One brick. Two bricks. Line them up just right. Continue stacking. Be sure to breathe. Take your time. Practice. Make it fun. 

The Whitaker children spent an afternoon this way - building a structure in their backyard and having a blast doing it. What may not traditionally be considered school work is celebrated by the Whitaker’s Occupational Therapist, Cathy Parrino. 


The Celebrate Gala is Quickly Approaching

The Celebrate Gala is just a few days away! We hope that you will join us online from May 28th-May 31st to celebrate the children of Julie Billiart Schools. To raise your paddle to support our Fund-A-Need or to see our live auction packages, please visit 

JB Celebrates First Graduate from Akron Campus

Two years ago, Mitzi Davis learned about Julie Billiart Schools’ Akron campus while searching the internet for specialty schools. After visiting the school, she knew that her son, Jeffrie, would thrive with the individualized attention offered by JB Akron. Jeffrie began attending eighth grade in the fall of 2019. Now, he will be the very first eighth-grader to graduate from JB’s Akron campus.
gift bags

JB Akron Parents Give Back for Teacher Appreciation Week

In the world of education, May can become a whirlwind of a month. As the end of the school year approaches, teachers work diligently to finish lesson plans, maintain expected class behaviors, complete testing and grading, and prepare to say goodbye to their students. Add distance learning to the mix, and May can fly by. 
Mr. Mozzocco

JB students and Intervention Specialists illuminate the silver lining of distance learning

Waiting in a carefully distanced line outside of Costco, crossing the road to avoid walking too close to neighbors on the sidewalk, sewing or purchasing face masks to wear outside the home… the world has quickly adjusted to a new “normal”. Amidst the many changes to society, Julie Billiart Schools’ Intervention Specialists are weaving threads of consistency into the lives of children with learning differences. 

Julie Billiart Schools' 2020 Celebrate Gala

Brought to you by Cedar Brook Group, Julie Billiart Schools’ virtual Gala is quickly approaching. From May 28th to May 31st, please join us online to celebrate our incredible kids in Akron and Lyndhurst. In addition to Cedar Brook Group, we are so thankful to all of our wonderful sponsors. This event would not be possible without each and every one of them.  

Distance Learning

JB Community Rises Up During Distance Learning

On March 13, parents, educators, and students across the state of Ohio received troubling news. The COVID-19 virus was making its way across the United States, and schools would need to close in an effort to mitigate the spread and keep children safe. For Amy Nelson and Brianna Sluss, JB Akron fifth grade intervention specialists, the experience served as an eye-opener for the teachers.  

JB Alum Achieves Dream Job as Meteorologist for the National Weather Service

Snow and rain never bothered Rick Garuckas. From an early age, he became fascinated by weather and loved to watch storms come in across Lake Erie near his childhood home. Garuckas’ childhood involved studying radars and reading books about hurricanes and blizzards.

Coloring Book

JB Lyndhurst Teams Up with Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital

Hot off the press is a coloring book created by the teachers and students of JB Lyndhurst. To celebrate Catholic Schools week this spring, the teachers and students of JB Lyndhurst participated in a service project that would make children across Northeast Ohio smile.

Celebrate Gala

2020 Gala Will Be Held Virtually

As a result of growing concerns for the health of our community in light of COVID-19, we have decided to offer our Celebrate Gala in an online, virtual format. Rather than a live gathering on April 25, 2020, we will gather together online.There will still be a Live Auction with some terrific packages, as well as our annual Fund-A-Need. The date of the virtual event is still being determined, but we will certainly keep the JB community updated once the exact date has been confirmed.  

JB Alum Shares Advice for Transitioning to High School

My name is Aadam (David) Dellinger. I go to Cleveland Central Catholic High School. I am a freshman this year. I went to Julie Billiart School in Lyndhurst starting in Kindergarten and finishing in eighth grade. Some of my favorite things at Julie Billiart Schools were spirit wear days and Read Across America Day.

JB Graduate Excels in High School

Between bowling strikes, serving her Church, and running races, JB alumna Annalise Gibbons has just enough time to start thinking about college.

Transformative success: A JB teacher’s Wilson Reading Training delivers a major impact

How Laurel Schneider is changing lives at JB Akron 

As an Intervention Specialist for a public school, Laurel Schneider knew what it was like to work with children who have learning differences. On a normal day, Schneider worked with one to five students per period, giving specialized pull-out instruction to kids who struggled with reading, math, and other subjects.

Katherine Clarke

JB Alumni Becomes Manufacturing Engineer

Julie Billiart Schools have been a driving force in the life of Katherine Clarke. Having attended the Lyndhurst campus from first grade to eighth grade, she has many fond memories of her time at JB that have guided her on her journey to where she is today. 


What to Expect at the 2020 Celebrate Gala

The Celebrate Gala is only two months away! Mark your calendar now for April 25, 2020 to celebrate the students of Julie Billiart Schools with cocktails, a live auction and seated dinner. Held at the InterContinental Hotel in Cleveland, the annual Gala raises funds that directly benefit our students' JB experiences. Proceeds are used to support tuition assistance, ongoing professional development, and to create the learning environments that help our students succeed.
Mike Mochan

JB Alumni Named Nautical Master Captain

It was 1972 when Mike Mochan first entered the doors of Julie Billiart’s Lyndhurst School as a second-grade student. For Mochan, JB was a new place filled with uncertainty. However, he quickly learned that JB would provide a safe and welcoming environment . . . one that he is still so grateful for in his life today.


Faculty Spotlight - Heather Clink

It’s not uncommon for every swing to be taken on the playground at JB Lyndhurst. That’s why the addition of a new, indoor swing is such a blessing. The new therapy swing gives students a calming movement to support their sensory needs. Best of all, it was constructed by a “swing fairy” who works at Julie Billiart Schools.
Photo Courtesy of the Autism Society of Greater Akron

Parent Spotlight - Gia Bell

"My life goal is to create more resources for people with autism,” said Gia Bell.

Bell, who is making a difference in the lives of so many, is well on her way to accomplishing that goal. She has spent nearly fourteen years making an impact at Cleveland Clinic Akron General. She is the Health Unit Coordinator at Akron General and, most recently, served as the project leader for Akron General’s designation as an “autism-friendly” adult hospital.

Faculty Spotlight - Kate Sonnenberg

Kate Sonnenberg is a Board-Certified Music Therapist. She attended school at Baldwin Wallace University and received her Bachelor of Music in 2012.
Board of Directors

Julie Billiart Schools Restructures Board

July 29, 2019, Lyndhurst, Ohio - Julie Billiart Schools’ (JB ) President/CEO, Lannie Davis-Frecker is proud to announce the appointment of the following men and women to the organization’s newly restructured Board of Directors.



Julie Billiart Schools Names New Board Chair

July 1, 2019, Lyndhurst, Ohio - Julie Billiart Schools (JB) graciously thanks Brent Pietrafese, partner at Calfee, Halter, & Griswold LLP, for his 10 years of service to the organization as a member of the board of directors and, most recently, as the founding Chairperson of Julie Billiart Schools Network Board.


JB Student - Girl

Julie Billiart Schools Receives Highest Recognition

May 20, 2019, Lyndhurst, Ohio - For the second consecutive year Julie Billiart Schools, Lyndhurst, was recognized by the National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) as a “School of Excellence”. 
JB Beyond Camp Staff

JB Receives National Recognition

May 14, 2019, Lyndhurst, Ohio - Julie Billiart Schools (JBS), northeast Ohio’s premier network of schools for children with learning differences, recently received national recognition from Today’s Catholic Teacher during the 22nd Annual Innovations in Catholic Education awards ceremony. This cornerstone periodical honors Catholic schools across the country that have implemented exemplary and inventive academic programs.

Featured Staff of the Month - Jen Trares

This month’s spotlight is on third grade intervention specialist, Jen Trares. Jen began her college career as an early childhood education major at John Carroll University. However, she soon discovered that she loved special ed and transferred to Ohio University (OU). It was there she met Dianne Gut, a professor who had actually taught a few years at Julie Billiart Schools, Lyndhurst. Professor Gut described JB as a unique Catholic school for students with learning differences, and expressed to Jen how much she loved it here. Excited to learn more, Jen planned a visit to JB.
David Petrovic

JB Alumnus Returns For Speaking Engagement and Book Signing

JB graduate, David Petrovic provides hope to parents as he tells his inspirational story of accepting and embracing life on the autism spectrum. 

Julie Billiart School alumnus, David Petrovic is no stranger to the spotlight. This 25-year-old TEDx speaker, author and junior high teacher has engaged audiences throughout the country with his story of determination and triumph. David’s journey from infancy to adulthood has been filled with many challenges along the way. He now aspires to help others facing obstacles and seeking hope.

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Mary Jo Hogan

Featured Staff of the Month – Mary Jo Hogan, M.Ed.

Julie Billiart Schools strive to build self-confidence, inspire Christian values and empower students with skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm for life-long learning.This month’s featured staff member, Mary Jo Hogan, said continuing her career at Julie Billiart Schools simply felt like “coming home” to her!

Mary Jo is an 8th Grade intervention specialist at our Lyndhurst campus. She received her Master of Education degree from Ohio University and particularly enjoys teaching reading and math.

Here’s what Mary Jo recently shared during an interview about her career and experience at Julie Billiart Schools.

Boys in art class

Getting To The Art of The Matter

Michael came home from school with a decoupaged cardboard vase filled with handmade paper flowers. He explained to his parents that he tore strips of paper, dipped them in a glue mixture and spread them on the cardboard to make a pattern. He continued to explain how he folded tissue paper and attached it to green pipe cleaners to make the flowers. His parents listened attentively as Michael continued to chatter on about his masterpiece, what he used to make it, and how each of his classmates made theirs. While this story doesnít seem particularly unusual to most, Michaelís parents were astounded by his willingness to share so many details about his art project AND with such enthusiasm.
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