Stark County’s CARE Team Initiative (iCARE) is funded by the United Way of Greater Stark County. A Director and two Assistant Directors, who work closely with the iCARE Executive Committee, oversee the program. School and community representatives from existing and emerging iCARE Teams also meet monthly to coordinate efforts to address nonacademic barriers facing our children and families. This Implementation Roundtable promotes effective strategies to help the schools, families, and communities problem solve solutions to help students be more successful in both school and life.
Kay currently serves as the iCARE Team Director at the Stark County Educational Service Center. She has been in this role since April of 2011. The CARE Team Initiative Coordinates and Aligns Resources to Engage, Empower, and Educate our youth, families, and communities to equip them with the skills for life-long success and learning. CARE Team members (such as administrators, teachers, school counselors, nurses, family support specialists, mental health professionals, etc.) discuss non-academic barriers which might interrupt a student’s ability to learn and flourish in a school setting. Each CARE Team then develops strategies to address these barriers and monitor each student’s success.
Kay oversees CARE Teams in 114 school buildings across 22 school districts; works side by side with her administrative team of Carla Bidlack, Lynette Blasiman, and Crissy Mudd in supervising 41 Family Support Specialists; guides Stark Speaks Up for Kindness Initiative which began in 2011 as the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program; and coordinates the Trauma and Resiliency Education Committee which is implementing trauma-informed and resiliency-minded strategies in our school districts.
Kay transformed the CARE Team Initiative by fostering supportive relationships with both district and building administrators. These relationships, in turn, facilitated the expansion of the CARE Team program through in-depth teacher trainings surrounding obstacles that could influence a student’s capacity to learn in an educational environment. Through collaboration and innovation, the iCARE Initiative partners with school districts and community agencies such as: Stark County’s Board of Developmental Disabilities, Educational Service Center, Family Council, Family Court, Health Department, Job and Family Services, Mental Health and Addiction Recovery, Stark Educational Partnership, United Way of Greater Stark County and our medical community. Through these partnerships, our students, staff, and families have additional opportunities to thrive in their communities.
Kay’s love of teaching and inspiring others started around the age of seven when she would play school in her basement with neighborhood kids and family members. After graduating from Perry High School in 1976, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Education K-12 degree in 1980 from The Ohio State University. Kay began her teaching career in Columbus in 1980 and then returned to her alma mater in 1982 to continue her educational profession. In 1994 she earned a Master of Education Degree in Computer Science and in 2004 a Master’s Degree in School Administration from Ashland University. Kay was instrumental in building the Medical Tech Prep program at Perry High School, where she taught medical chemistry for years. In 2005, Kay transitioned from the classroom into administration and then retired from Perry Local Schools in 2010.
In addition to her love of teaching, Kay spent over 20 years coaching for Perry High School. These years of coaching gave her the unique opportunity to influence the lives of many athletes by promoting sportsmanship, teamwork, strong work ethic and lifelong learning skills that are nurtured through participation in athletics. As an assistant coach, the 1988 state runner-up softball team was inducted into the Perry Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016 and Kay, too, was inducted into the Perry Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010 for her pioneering contributions to their basketball program from 1973-1976. Her most significant achievements in her educational career have been the ability over the years to watch her students and athletes grow into loving and productive members of our society.
In Kay’s spare time, she enjoys singing in the Louisville Community Choir and Paradise UCC church choir, traveling, walking on any beach, golfing, reading, exercising and cooking.
Lynette currently serves as an Assistant CARE Team Director, a position she has held since 2016. Prior to her role as Assistant CARE Team Director, Lynette served her home district, Marlington Local as a Family Support Specialist and WRAP Around as a Family Support Specialist. She has an Associate Degree in Human and Social Services.
Lynette is the chair person for the Stark County Fetal Alcohol Initiative and sits on the FASD State Steering Committee. She has a passion for FASD awareness and prevention along with helping families who are living with FASD.
Lynette and her husband Ron have seven children, thirteen grandchildren and enjoy spending time with their family, camping and motorcycling.
Crissy Mudd serves as the Assistant CARE Team Director, a position she began at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. Prior to this, Crissy served as a Family Support Specialist for Lake Local School District. Crissy has her bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and is married to her high school sweetheart, Mark. Together they have four children and one grandchild. In her spare time, Crissy enjoys spending time with family, riding her scooter, boating, golfing and Hallmark.
Carla Bidlack has been part of the CARE Team Initiative since 2013. She served as an FSS at R.G. Drage before becoming the Assistant CARE Team Director in 2014. Carla’s role transitioned in 2018 to Family Support Specialist Training Coordinator as a result of the tremendous growth of the program. Carla holds a Bachelor of Arts in Individual and Family Studies from Kent State University and is a Licensed Social Worker for the state of Ohio. Previous to her work with the Stark County ESC, Carla worked as a Foster Care Case Worker, Birth Parent Counselor and Licensing Specialist. She also served as a Community School Liaison in Butler County, Ohio. In addition to her work with CARE Team, Carla works as a Life Coach. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband and four children as well as biking, walking, crafting and Pinterest.