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Lake County ESC - Administration

The Superintendent shall be the chief executive officer of the Educational Service Center. The Superintendent shall define and establish those administrative positions required to implement the educational services and programs established by the Board. In each case, the Board will approve the broad purpose and function of the position in harmony with State law and regulations.

Responsibility shall flow clearly from the Superintendent through the administrative staff to the operational personnel.
LCESC Organizational Chart

Leadership Team

Brian Bontempo, Superintendent
Sherry Williamson, Treasurer
Debra Burke, Director of Human Resources and Operations
Tippi Foley, Director of Early Childhood
Jovette Hiltunen, Director of P-16 and STEM
Julie O’Neil, Director of Special Education
Merrie Darrah, Director of Region 4 State Support Team
Heidi Fyffe-Yocum, Director of Teaching and Learning

Brian Bontempo, Ed.D.
(440) 350-2563, Ext. 701

Dr. Brian Bontempo was appointed superintendent of the Lake County Educational Service Center (LCESC) in the fall of 2009. He joined the LCESC in August 2005 as assistant superintendent. Dr. Bontempo served as principal at Willoughby South High School, a suburban school of over 1,200 students. His background also includes working as assistant principal for both middle and high schools, director of technology, classroom teacher, and head wrestling coach. In addition, he has served on numerous levy, labor management and dispute committees, and has considerable experience in curriculum and program development. During his time as a building level administrator, Dr. Bontempo was awarded the Ohio Assistant Principal of the Year from the OASSA and the Educator of the Year from John Carroll University. Dr. Bontempo is well-versed in school law, special education, leadership, and has a wealth of knowledge and a strong background in school finance. He has served on numerous state committees and has presented at state conferences.   Dr. Bontempo is most recognized for his coaching and developing talent as well as leading organizations through change. Most recently he has served on the Ohio Department of Education Regional LPDC Support Team and provided the groundwork for the document, Organizing for High Quality Professional Development. Dr. Bontempo holds a B.S. in Business Education, an M.Ed. in Computer Education, an M.Ed. in School Administration, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership as well as Administrator, Treasurer, and Superintendent Licenses.


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Sherry Williamson
Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer
Auburn Career Center/Lake County ESC  
(440) 358-8006

Sherry Williamson was appointed Treasurer of the Lake County Educational Service Center (LCESC) August 1, 2014.  She handles the finances for the LCESC, the Lake County Financing District, and the Auburn Career Center.  The Treasurer is employed by the Board of Education to administer, in cooperation with the Superintendent, the financial, legal and contractual business of the school district.  Like the Superintendent, the Treasurer reports directly to the Board and acts as the Chief Financial Officer to the Board.  The community depends on theTreasurer's Office to invest district funds wisely, provide accurate financial information, and ensure that the funds of the district are spent within the confines of the law.  The Treasurer also serves as Secretary to the Board and maintains Board meeting minutes.  Mrs. Williamson is a graduate of Kent State University, has served in the finance sector of education since 1999, and resides in N. Kingsville, Ohio.

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Debra Burke, PHR
Director of Human Resources and Operations
440-350-2563 ext. 727  

Debra Burke is the Director of Human Resources and Operations at the Lake County Educational Service Center in Painesville, Ohio. Her human resources career has led her to work in the manufacturing, education, construction and technology industries. Deb holds Bachelors of Arts in Accounting and Business Administration from Malone University and she obtained her PHR in 2005.

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Tippi Foley
Director of Early Childhood
440-350-2563 ext. 711

Tippi Foley joined the Lake County Educational Service Center as the Director of Early Childhood in 2008. Prior to her joining the Lake County ESC, she was a teacher, Career Pathways Specialist, and Enrollment Specialist for Auburn Career Center since 1996. During her tenure at Auburn Career Center, she developed new programs for students throughout Lake and Geauga Counties. Her background also includes working as a teacher at the Porter Science Center, high school softball and soccer coach. She also serves on the Local Professional Development Committee (LPDC) for the Lake County ESC. She earned her Masters Degree in Instruction and Educational Administration in 2002.

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Jovette Hiltunen
Director of P-16 and STEM

440-350-2563 ext. 791 

Mrs. Jovette Hiltunen was appointed Director of Teaching & Learning of the Lake County Educational Service Center in the fall of 2010.  She joined the LCESC in the summer of 2009 after 22 years in the Mentor Exempted Village School District where she most recently served as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction Pre-K-12.  Her background includes 10 years as a building administrator and 7 years as Title 1 Coordinator.  She has served on numerous committees including strategic planning, portfolio assessment, district technology, Family Civic Engagement, and Race to the Top.  Mrs. Hiltunen has been an adjunct instructor for Notre Dame College and has presented at state conferences in the areas of authentic assessment and instruction, reading instruction, Reading Recovery, and using tuning protocols to improve instruction.  In her past positions Mrs. Hiltunen has overseen several large federal and private grants and is currently working with several districts in the Ohio Improvement Process.  Her current work involves staff development in aligning standards, curriculum, and assessments as well as helping building administrators use data to improve their building’s instruction.  Mrs. Hiltunen holds a B.S. in Education, an M.S.Ed in Curriculum and Supervision as well as Administrator and Superintendent Licenses.

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Julie O’Neil
Director of Special Education
440-350-2563 ext. 746

Julie O’Neil is the Director of Special Education for the Lake County Educational Service Center.  Julie is a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) and was employed by the Ashtabula County Educational Service Center as the SLP for the Jefferson Local School District and the Ashtabula County Preschool Program for 5 years, as well as, the Kenston Local School District for 3 years as the SLP for the middle and high schools.  Just prior to coming to the Lake County Educational Service Center, Julie served the Perry Local Schools in Lake County for nine years as the district’s SLP and the Director of Student Services.   Throughout her career, Julie has been involved in program development at the district and local levels.  Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts from The Ohio State University in Speech and Language Science and a Masters of Arts from Cleveland State University in Speech Pathology and Audiology.  In addition, she holds licensure as a Pupil Services Administrator.


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Merrie Darrah
Director of State Support Team Region 4 (SST4)
440-350-2563 ext. 752

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Heide Fyffe-Yocum
Director of Teaching & Learning 
440-350-2563 ext. 722



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Lake County Educational Service Center
382 Blackbrook Road, Painesville, Ohio 44077
Phone 440-350-2563 / Fax 440-350-2566
Superintendent, Brian Bontempo