Area: Special services

School district: Coventry Local School District

Residence: Akron

Age: 48

Title: Parent mentor

How long at district: 10 years

Family: Married to Kenneth Hartwig for 24 years. Mother of three boys who have all attended Coventry Schools: Tanner (2015 graduate), Owen (senior, 2019), Rudy (freshman, 2022). We also have a 10-year-old Corgi named Penny.

What is the most rewarding part of your position?: The most rewarding part of my job is being able to give a family hope. Getting news that your child has a disability can be devastating for families. I’m so glad that I can be here to help guide them in the special education process and give them hope for their child’s future.

What is the most challenging? Students with disabilities often have complex needs and those needs can change over time. It definitely keeps those of us supporting students and families on our toes.

If you weren’t doing this, you’d be? I can’t imagine doing anything else. I am the parent of three children that all have disabilities. That’s not something you plan for and I often tell people that “life happens”. As a result of this, I have found a career that allows me to help other people who are experiencing similar challenges.

Tell us something about the students you deal with most people don’t know or appreciate. Students with disabilities are some of the most creative and unique thinkers in our student body. The ideas that they have and the ways that they find to express themselves is really something special to see.

How do you unwind after a long day at work? I love walking in my neighborhood.

The students and co-workers would be surprised to know that you. I think people would be surprised that I do not have a teaching or education background. It’s not required for my job. The best way I can help families is from my personal experience and my knowledge of resources in their community, which is also “my” community.

What is the one responsibility about your position you didn’t know existed before taking it? There is no class you can take on becoming a parent mentor. You have to learn as you go. I have learned so much about disabilities and the special education process over the last 10 years.