Empowering Education
Consultation & Systems Support Services
We provide professional learning and consultation services for educators, families, and community agencies. Empowering Education (EE) helps schools and organizations maximize success for all.

Empowering Education

Consultation & System Support Services

We provide professional learning and consultation services for educators, families, and community agencies. Empowering Education (EE) helps schools and organizations maximize success for all.

about us

EE associates are skilled in multiple arenas including education, school psychology, interagency collaboration, community organizing, classroom management, educational technology and curriculum design. The range of experience the EE team brings includes: teaching at elementary through graduate school levels, planning and providing professional learning experiences; and designing and implementing class wide, school wide, and district level learning and behavior supports. Consultants have knowledge and skills that include administration, distance learning, collaborative team development, program evaluation and group facilitation.


Empowering Education Director

Karen R. Schaeffer, M.Div., Ph.D.

Karen R. Schaeffer is the director and co- founder of Empowering Education Consultation and Systems Support Services. Karen earned her Associate Degree in Art Education from Midway College in Kentucky. She earned both the Masters in Education and Doctor of Philosophy Degrees in School Psychology at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio and completed a Masters of Divinity at Payne Theological Seminary.

Karen’s experiences include family advocacy across multiple community agencies. She serves as coordinator for a community collaborative dedicated to furthering the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through networking for empowerment.

During her twenty plus years as an educator, Dr. Schaeffer has helped lead state-wide committees to plan and implement effective academic and behavior prevention and intervention systems. She has helped support urban and suburban schools across Southwest Ohio in district-wide efforts toward evidence- based practices for school improvement. She has helped representative leadership teams implement culturally responsive school-wide positive behavior supports and literacy practices in integrated tiered-systems of academic and behavior supports. Early in her career she served as school psychologist specializing in district and building-level systems change and helped implement preliminary versions of Ohio’s Response to Intervention (RtI) efforts.

Karen’s experience includes leadership in collaborative creation of tools and resources to support implementation of research and evidence-based practices. She is skilled in planning, providing and evaluating high quality professional development and has presented at numerous regional, state and national conferences. Karen is a co-author of the book chapter “Best Practices in Professional Development: Moving School Systems to an Integrated, Three-Tier Model of Academic and Behavior Supports. In J. Grimes & A. Thomas, Best Practices in School Psychology IV 2007 edition.

Empowering Education Associates

Patricia D. Jimenez, B.A., M.Ed., received her B.A. in Psychology and her M. Ed. in School Psychology from the University of Cincinnati. She is fluent in Spanish and currently works as a consultant in the Cincinnati Public School District delivering culturally/language appropriate services for English Language learners including interpreting for parents, teachers and students. She also provides consultation, assessments and intervention supports for Spanish speaking families. She serves as an Associate for EE conducting audits for Positive School Culture.

Alissa Hencey, B.A., M.Ed., provides consultation regarding classroom instruction, organization and management. She has more than fifteen years of experience as an educator having worked as a junior high and high school Language Arts teacher and Intervention Specialist for Lebanon City Schools. She has her Masters degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Walden University and her Bachelors degree in English Literature from Ohio State University. Alissa actively supports quality education for all students. She has experience working in a co-teaching model and is successful in supporting inclusive educational service delivery to meet the needs of students who are receiving specialized instruction due to academic, behavioral and social/emotional needs.

Mark Schaeffer holds a B.A. from Kent State University. He serves as an associate for EE providing consultation and technical assistance in use of technologies for classroom instruction and distance learning. He teaches French in Ohio’s rural Hopewell Region. His experience includes provision of distance learning across multiple districts. He is skilled in the use of technologies for distance learning as well as audio-visual technologies for instruction.


Because we understand that transforming schools and community requires broad collaborative efforts, Empowering Education nurtures relationships with like-minded colleagues who engage in equity-driven empowerment work. Please read about a few of our collaborative partners.

Dr. Cora Bolden
Girls Moving Upward

Girl’s Moving Upward (GMU) is a program for young ladies ages 15 and up. The purpose is to inspire, to teach, to encourage and to empower them to develop into Godly and Bodacious young women. This is done through a variety of activities that include monthly meetings, speakers from the community who share their personal stories of growth and development. Monthly sessions include the teaching of social and communication skills, interpersonal development and leadership skills. In addition, Dr. Bolden, is available to provide training and workshops on working with young ladies or girls in your community and how to start programs like GMU. She specializes in working with youth in a variety of different settings with diverse needs.

For more information contact Dr. Bolden at 855-468-2289
P O. Box 24297, Cincinnati, OH 45224

Dr. Donna Mayerson
VIA Institute on Character

VIA / AI – Character & Organizational Matters – Linkedin

The VIA Institute on Character is a non-profit organization that systematically explores what is best about human beings. With the aid of scientifically validated character strengths assessments for youth and adults, VIA focuses on people’s strengths.

For more information contact Dr. Mayeson at donnam@viacharacter.org or 513- 621-7501

Lee E. Ketcham, B.A., M.Ed., received her B.A. in elementary education, and her M.Ed. from the University of Cincinnati. She holds an administrative license and principal’s certificate from Xavier University.  Lee brings over 35 years of experience working in business and education.

Ms. Ketcham’s work in education focused on helping teachers develop teaching and learning skills to work with children who have special needs.  She developed workshops and training opportunities for teachers to individualize and customize instruction for learners of all ages. Her extensive roles in education include supervisor of special education teachers, administrator of programs for inclusive education in a four county area, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Hamilton County Office of Education, and regional consultant with the Southwest Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center. Lee provided leadership skills through use of interpersonal communication skills, conflict management skills and problem solving strategies.  In addition she was facilitator for Ohio’s Improvement Process providing leadership to individuals and organizational systems. 

Work in the business world included V.P. of Interpersonal Communications Associates and Director of Personnel and Training for a local restaurant group. Lee’s consultation and facilitation skills engaged management and personnel in building collaborative work environments with cohesive work teams. Strengths include personnel development, conflict management, and strategic organizational planning.   Lee has developed an essential skill set that impacts systems change through leadership and partnership development with organizational leaders, businesses, educators and families.

During her 35 year career Lee has a longstanding commitment to the mission of equity and inclusion.  She has been involved in the initial development stages of programs working to build better lives for people with disabilities. Starfire, a visionary local organization, is an example of this early work as well as her involvement with the Mayerson Academy of Cincinnati. Lee’s work has been dedicated to ensuring independence and access for individuals with disabilities. Her career has been dedicated to the mission of equity and inclusion for all people.

Vanessa R. Cummings, M.Div., CAPP,
Ms. V. Consulting

Vanessa R. Cummings is a Certified Administrator of Public Parking (CAPP), Ordained minister, and a former social worker and police officer. She is an experienced parking and transportation professional with 24 years in the industry and a professional staff trainer and consultant with 19 years of experience. She is the owner and CEO of Ms. V Consulting, LLC, which provides staff training, motivational speaking, meeting facilitation, and operational assessments.

Ms. Cummings is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and a Public Relations minor; completed the Master of Divinity Degree at Payne Theological Seminary; earned the CAPP Certification through the University of Virginia and the International Parking and Mobility Institute (IPMI); and graduated from the Butler County Law Enforcement Academy. Additionally, she earned the Professional Diploma from the Central Association of College and University Business Officers (CACUBO).

Ms. Cummings has provided training in areas including customer service, diversity and leadership, dealing with difficult people, teambuilding, and de-stressing. She has been a speaker/trainer in various venues including colleges and universities, community organizations, state, regional, and international professional conferences, and for churches and their organizations. Ms. Cummings excels in meeting facilitation with the skills to create an open and safe environment for people to openly share and discuss controversial topics and employee concerns. She has the unique ability to unify people with differing philosophies and beliefs.

Ms. Cummings has 24 years of experience in higher education. Much of her work involved partnerships and collaborations with other departments and offices to improve public relations and customer service for the parking and transportation departments. Her creativity included hosting “Parking Jams” sponsored by parking and transportation that included food, games, information on parking and transportation, dancing, and positive interaction between customers and the parking and transportation team members.

Ms. Cummings is the current pastor of Payne Chapel AME Church, Kenton (Hardin County), Ohio, and serves as the Chief Secretary for the Third Episcopal District of the AME Church. She is also a founder and chair of Hardin County Talks (HCT) and the HCT Planning Committee. This organization grew out of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. programs hosted by Payne Chapel AME Church. The HCT has provided several community “Talks” and programs to discuss topics of diversity, civil rights and its relevance to the community, a candidates’ forum, and the most recent Dr. King County Wide observance.

Ms. Cummings has been a community organizer and community leader wherever she has lived, worked, or served in ministry. Ms. Cummings served on the Oxford City Council for six years including two years as the elected Vice Mayor. She served as President of the Oxford Unit National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for six years and later for two more years, and is currently serving as First Vice President.

DeLon Stradford
Digital Hard Copy LLC


Digital Hard Copy was  registered with the state of Ohio as a limited liability company in July of 2010, although I’ve been designing digital graphics and websites since 2001.

My goal is to provide professional and unique designs, collaborating with teams to realize their visual goals. 
Specialties include Logo designs, CD Cover artwork, photo restoration, web designs, animation and video editing.

For more information contact DeLon Stradford at designs@dhcstudios.com or 216-849-4833


Empowering Education supports clients in achieving desired outcomes using a collaborative consultation approach. Recognizing the diverse expertise and strengths of our clients, EE’s method of consultation facilitates an interactive process that enables people within the organization to generate creative solutions to mutually defined problems.

Strength-based Approach

A primary focus of EE consultation services is to enhance the ability of individuals’ or organizations’ capacities to meet new challenges and address unforeseen obstacles. Because EE consultants take a strength-based approach, clients are supported to identify and build on their own internal assets to solve problems or change practices.


EE consultants are committed to helping clients identify internal strengths, maximize assets, and integrate evidence-based practices, in order to leverage resources toward accomplishing a vision of equity and excellence for all.


EE consultants understand that sustainable results require addressing systemic infrastructure and operations at student, classroom, school, district and community levels.

Therefore, our services address these 5 Empowerment Arenas:

  • Empowering Students
  • Empowering Classrooms
  • Empowering Schools
  • Empowering Districts
  • Empowering Communities

Anchored in the professional learning research and principles of adult learning, Empowering Education professional development services are customized to meet the specific needs of the client. All professional development activities focus on clients building their own capacity to meet valued outcomes within their own context.


Empowering Education professional development services avoid the problems of “one-size-fits all” approaches. EE consultants work collaboratively with each client to gather pertinent information about their organization in order to design professional learning activities that are relevant to the client’s unique context and ongoing work.

Designed to Build Capacity

Empowering Education services include job-embedded professional development opportunities that lead to practitioners’ change in practice by using effective, supportive, and culturally respectful, as well as, motivational and professional “coaching” strategies.

Empowering Education works with organizational leaders to facilitate development and evaluation of effective services and programs. Programs are selected or designed to provide specific improvements that address opportunity gaps and result in positive outcomes.

Program Development Process

Empowering Education consultants use a collaborative approach within a systematic, strategic planning process to ensure client identified outcomes. EE helps clients identify their existing strengths, needs, and goals; then, facilitates program design, implementation, and evaluation.

Embedded Program Evaluation

Empowering Education builds evaluation into each phase of program development. This embedded program evaluation increases the likelihood of strong implementation that is sustained across time.

EE engages in program development and evaluation for the purpose of empowering people to:

  • Improve person focused outcomes through effective program design
  • Hone skills in collaborative strategic planning for system improvement
  • Take desired system improvements to scale

contact us

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