Three of a kind
For UD education alumni Lannie Davis-Frecker ’07, Samantha Gebler Evers ’14 and Katie Coyne Schaefer ’14, good things come in threes.
All three fellow Flyers are lead administrators for Julie Billiart Schools, a Catholic network of schools with three locations in the Cleveland area, serving students with learning differences. Together, the three women worked together to launch Julie Billiart’s newest location, Julie Billiart Westlake this August.
“JB focuses on the whole-child approach to education. Students have the opportunity to develop skills and strategies that will allow them to grow physically, emotionally, academically, socially and spiritually,” Schaefer said.
JB Westlake provides students with sensory-friendly classrooms, a large gym, therapy rooms, specially designed quiet zones and alternate learning areas. Having spaces students can feel safe in and being physically engaged in the classroom are critical components to our learning process, Schaefer said.
This is JB Schools' third campus and the second that Davis-Frecker, president and CEO, has launched. Alongside its board of directors and donors, Davis-Frecker, Evers, and Shaefer have helped bring JB Westlake to life.
Davis-Frecker knew Schaefer prior to working together at Westlake. Schaefer and Evers were officers in the education fraternity Epsilon Delta Upsilon during their time at UD, and Schaefer introduced Evers to Davis-Frecker during the principal search for Westlake.
Now together on the same JB campus, Evers is principal of the school and Schaefer is assistant principal and director of special education.
“I love the core values that UD nurtured in us that we can carry in our work together,” Davis-Frecker said. “There is an incredible bond — an understanding and mutual respect that exists.”
The women recognize how the values of Julie Billiart schools closely align with the Marianist framework of UD.
“UD and JB both embody the community feel. They are inclusive environments where students can learn and thrive,” Schaefer said.
Evers added, “What makes JB different from other Catholic schools is not necessarily in what we teach, but in how we teach our students and that really separates us from all other schools. I think our passion for creating a safe and welcoming environment for students with learning differences is what brings us all to JB — the fact that we get to teach kids that God loves them is just a bonus.”
“The fact that we get to teach kids that God loves them is just a bonus.”
The three Flyers credit UD for strengthening their passions for education. Evers and Schaefer valued the mentorship of Stephen Richards, associate professor and coordinator of intervention specialists.
“During our junior and senior years, we were in many education classes together, specifically the intervention specialist classes with Dr. Richards,” Evers said. “The incredible education program for intervention specialists further grew my passion for special education.”
Davis-Frecker’s mentor, Joni Baldwin, associate professor in the School of Education and Health Sciences, is the major reason she went into educational leadership.
“Yes, though I knew I wanted to be an educator, Dayton provided fantastic experiences from day one that confirmed my choices,” Davis-Frecker said. “I could not do what I do today without the education, experience and community that I found at UD.”