Now Enrolling for 2022-23


Education Alternatives offers alternative learning programs for students who need enhanced behavioral, emotional, and special education services. With over 20 years of experience, EA is the premiere alternative education program serving IEP students in greater northeast Ohio.

Education Alternatives operates eight campuses located throughout the Cleveland and Akron metro areas. Campuses include Akron/Springfield, Bedford, Brook Park, Elyria, Painesville, Ravenna, Cuyahoga Falls, and Willoughby Hills. Our alternative schools pair special education professionals with qualified mental health providers to teach the Ohio Department of Education’s standard curriculum to every child in an accessible way.

The School Environment

Education Alternatives’ Day Treatment Program looks and feels like a traditional school, however, the difference is in the therapeutic philosophy that is present throughout our program.

autism school

Every School has a Building Director who leads a team of licensed teachers, therapists and treatment staff.

autism school

The low staff to student ratio in each classroom encourages individualized instruction according to each student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).


autism school

Every School has a Building Director who leads a team of licensed teachers, therapists and treatment staff.

The low staff to student ratio in each classroom encourages individualized instruction according to each student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).


Education Alternatives was founded in 1999 to provide academic and therapeutic services to children experiencing emotional and behavioral difficulties. The agency’s first school year began with nine employees and thirteen children. Today, Education Alternatives employs over 150 teachers and facilitators and provides multi-faceted educational, therapeutic, vocational, and case management services to hundreds of children each year. Education Alternatives serves more than 400 children each year that are enrolled in our programs by over 80 school districts in Northeast Ohio.

Click name of staff person to email directly.

Gerald Swartz
Executive Director
ext. 1226

Christine Swartz, Ph.D, LPCC
Clinical Psychologist
ext. 1231

Leah Luzier
Director of Business Operations
ext. 1206

Kerryanne Bollman
Chief Financial Officer
ext. 1204

Kristi Brown
Director of Human Resources
ext. 1229

Mara Kampe
Business Operations Manager
ext. 1225

Randy Brown
Accounting Clerk
ext. 1253

Shante Townsend
Staff Accountant
ext. 1209

Tim LaFountaine
Food Services Manager
ext. 1238

Kyle Robson
Maintenance Supervisor

Emmy Chen
Office Manager
ext. 1201

Lauren Ahmed
Marketing Coordinator

Ray Bielecki
Maintenance Supervisor
ext. 1233

Carolyn Jenson
Director of Clinical Compliance

Brittney Blowe
Human Resources Generalist
ext. 1254

Governing Board for Education Alternatives

Dr. Cynthia Leach
Board Member

Dr. David Ball

Dr. Christine Swartz
Board Member

Steven Van Dette
Board Member

Schedule A Tour

Therapeutic Philosophy

A Healing Process

Education Alternatives’ therapeutic philosophy for working with troubled children is centered in the belief that the healing process needed to give children hope for the future comes from trusting relationships with positive adults in a safe and nurturing environment. The relationships children build with Education Alternatives’ staff members serve as a healing presence and offer the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.

Attachment Theory

Our agency’s therapeutic model focuses on the underlying causes of a child’s emotional disability. This method addresses emotional needs through the development of a responsive, empathetic relationship with others. The therapeutic model is based on Attachment Theory originally developed by John Bowlby in 1944. Attachment Theory states that everyone has an “attachment style”, which is either secure or insecure and controls one’s ability to regulate emotions and develop healthy relationships. Insecure attachment styles are rooted in a child’s experience of trauma or neglect at an early age, which later results in defiant behaviors and a lack of empathy for others.

At Education Alternatives, staff members attune to the child’s emotional needs through trust and unconditional positive regard, which fosters emotional growth and leads to success.

school for special needs
echo school
school for special needs

Attunement is the empathetic relationship that staff members form with children under their care. Staff members demonstrate “unconditional positive regard” toward children and attune to their individual needs, which is the first step toward building a healthy, trusting relationship.

day treatment school
school for special needs

Attachment is the result of the reciprocal relationship that is established between the child and the program staff. A secure attachment results in the child’s ability to regulate emotions and engage in mutually supportive relationships with others.

day treatment school
school for special needs

Achievement is the ultimate outcome of Education Alternatives’ programs and is reflected in the child’s ability to learn, manage behavior, and positively relate to others. Once students apply secure attachment behaviors, such as self-care, increased trust in others, and decreased aggression, they are able to increase their ability to learn and succeed.

“They’ve helped us with transportation, they’ve connected her with services so she can get a job after she graduates, they’re available after school for extra one-on-one help with her schoolwork if she needs it, she connects with everyone … they’re amazing, they go the extra mile, and they genuinely care about the kids and their families.”

– Valeri L., Springfield parent