Rachel Meffe, MSSA, LISW-S | President

Rachel has served on the Ohio School Social Work Association board since 2008. In addition to her board service, she is the district School Social Worker at Cuyahoga Heights Schools where she works closely with school teams to create PBIS programming, provides staff consultation and training on student mental health and behavior. She also conducts FBAs and creates behavior plans, conducts crisis interventions and provides ongoing mental health support to students.

Cynthia Johnson | Treasurer

Cindy has been a member of OSSWA since 2008 and began as a Student Board Representative.  She demonstrated her organization and people skills as vendor coordinator when Ohio hosted the Midwest Conference in the fall 2017 and is currently serving as Treasurer. She received a Master of Social Work degree from Case Western Reserve University in 2009 and has 10 years of experience as a Program Evaluator/Research Assistant at Case Western Reserve University. This includes work with the Prevention Research Center (CWRU) where she provided evaluation/research support to a variety of community-based agencies and school-based partners. Her work included a multitude of programs aimed to increase health literacy, a contributor to health disparities and improve the health of local teens (i.e. decrease risk behaviors such as alcohol abuse, drug abuse and risky sexual behaviors and increase healthy behaviors such as nutrition and physical activity).

Vacant | President Elect

Please contact our current president, Rachel Meffe, at [email protected] if you are interested in this position.

Jill Miller, LISW | Secretary

Jill received her Bachelors is Social Work from Bowling Green State University and her Masters of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University.  After 18 years at Bellevue City Schools she will be making the change this year to Tiffin City Schools. No worries, Ace the therapy dog will still attending school with her every day.  Jill has been a member of OSSWA since 2001 and has served various positions of the Board including Promotions director, Northwest Regional Director and currently is the Secretary for the organization.

Michele Patak-Pietrafesa, LISW-S | Print Communications Director

Michele comes to us from upstate New York where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology. She moved to Columbus about 10 years ago to work with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to implement adolescent quit-smoking programs in multiple schools throughout Ohio. Through her work with program implementation and evaluation in schools she grew a passion for working with schools to help students live up to their potential. She went back to school at OSU where she worked as a graduate research associate to implement and evaluate a parent engagement program at a local middle school while earning her MSW and school social work certification. During that time she also served as a board member for OSSWA as the OSU student representative and then as Director of Communications. Since then she worked on the school-based behavioral health team at Nationwide Children’s and is currently in private practice. Michele currently is attending OSU again, this time for her Social Work PhD.

Abbey Rutschilling, MSW, LSW | Electronic Communications Director

Abbey is a recent MSW graduate and earned her degree at the Ohio State University. She has her BA in psychology and sociology. Abbey is eager to begin her career as a school social worker! During her field placements she worked with students in grades K-12 providing mental health and academic support and taught lessons on social emotional skills. Prior to her MSW degree, Abbey worked as a Program Coordinator at a family homeless shelter. She lives in Columbus with her husband, Ryan, and dog, Zeke. She enjoys going on walks with her family, drinking coffee with a good book, and being outdoors.

Lindsey Neag | Programs Director

Lindsey Neag is a native to Akron, Ohio where she received her BA in Sociology with a second major in Interdisciplinary Anthropology at The University of Akron. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Social Administration specializing in School Social Work at Case Western Reserve University. She spent last year as an intern at Brunswick High School and this year she will be interning at Akron Children’s Hospital Palliative Care Unit. Lindsey also works as a Residential Treatment Specialist with OhioGuidestone. She is very excited to be an advocate for School Social Work in Ohio and looks forward to the future.

Jessica Romanelli, BSW | Awards Director

My name is Jessica Romanelli. I am 24 years old and was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio to two wonderful parents, and am one of three siblings. I am currently a Graduate Student at Case Western Reserve University pursuing a Masters of Social Science Administration with a Children, Youth and Families Concentration, and a School Social Work Specialization. I recently received my Bachelor of Social Work at Ohio University in 2017. My love for working with people began when I was 6 years old doing Meals-On-Wheels with my Pops (Grandpa). Ever since then, I have grown a large passion for Social Work and working with Children, Youth and Families, and helping them reach their full potential in life.

Brenda Rinkes, LISW-S | Legislative Director

Brenda Rinkes graduated with Bachelors (Ohio University ‘74) and Masters Degrees (Ohio State University ’81) in Social Work.  She is a Licensed Independent Social Worker and Supervisor in the State of Ohio and a Licensed School Social Worker with the Ohio Department of Education. Brenda has worked 37 years as a School Social Worker, including 34 years in the Bellaire Local School District. Prior to her recent retirement she worked an instructor and field coordinator for the Social Work Program at West Liberty University West Liberty, West Virginia and as Project Director for a Federal Elementary Counseling Grant in Belmont County, Ohio that employs 2 school social workers and 2 licensed professional counselors. In addition to OSSWA, Brenda is an active member of NASW, CSWE (Council on Social Work Education) and the North Central Social Work Field Directors Consortium.

Andrew Smith, MSW, LISW-S | Legislative Co-Director

Andrew is a school social worker in the Sheffield-Sheffield Lake City Schools and has over nineteen years experience working in the public school setting. Prior to serving as a school social worker, Andrew taught 7th grade science for the first fourteen years of his career.He received his undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University in science education and his Master of Social Work from Cleveland State University in the area of direct practice. Andrew continued his school social worker track through Case/BW.Andrew has gained his experience working in child welfare, public school, crisis counseling, and private practice. Andrew has specialized training in working with at-risk adolescents and those with relationship or mood disorders. Andrew is a trainer for the Lorain County Schools Crisis Counseling Team, and is an executive board member for the Lorain County Prevention Connection, and the Lorain County Board of Mental Health prior to being termed out by statute. Andrew has served as the President of the Sheffield-Sheffield Lake Teachers’ Association (OEA) and is currently actively involved sitting on the Ohio Education Association Fund for Children & Public Education (FCPE) State Council and Legislative Committees, which are the political arms of the OEA/NEA.

Betsy Youse, LISW-S | Promotions Director

Betsy Youse received her BSW from The University of Vermont in 1989 and MSW from The Ohio State University in 1992.  She has worked for county children services, home-based therapy services and in community mental health. Her belief that school is the vital venue to strengthen child mental health , led her to school social work over a decade ago.  She is currently employed as a school social worker in Worthington City Schools. Betsy feels social work is not just a profession, but a value set for compassionate and purposeful life. She is grateful for her loving extended family, her beloved adult children and her supportive life partner.

Sean Delaney, MSW, LSW | Membership Director

Sean Delaney is the Director of Counseling, Wellness and Support Services at Columbus School for Girls in Columbus, Ohio. She is drawn to the field of school social work and driven by her hope of continuing to work to promote the voice of youth and their families through community based action and service in an educational setting. A graduate of Wittenberg University with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish and a Masters of Social Work from The Ohio State University – Sean pursues excellence in all that she does as well as a possession of outstanding technical, oral and written communication skills in English and Spanish and strong cultural experiences. Sean has been working with the Ohio School Social Work Association for three years and continues to be inspired by the organization’s unwavering goal of advocacy and support for our profession. While she is not immersed in her work, she spends time coaching tennis, reading, traveling and spending time with her faithful pup, Beau.

Faith Gordon, LSW, LSSW | Northeast Regional Representative

Faith Gordon is a school social worker for Warrensville Heights City School District (WHCSD). She has been employed by the district since April 2016. Prior to working for WHCSD, Faith worked as a school social worker for Cleveland Heights University Heights school district for nine years. Faith earned an Associate’s Degree at Cuyahoga Community College and also became a licensed cosmetologist, after high school. She later returned to college and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Cleveland State University and a Master’s Degree in Social Science Administration from Case Western Reserve University. In addition, she obtained her school social work certification through the combined collaborative program between Baldwin Wallace University and Case Western Reserve University. Faith has served as a member of the Youth Advisory Commission Board for the City of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. She has served as a panelist on: Recognizing Signs of Suicide. She works with scholars and families to remove barriers that interfere with school success. She is a trained facilitator of the social-emotional curriculums “Why Try”, “Girls Circle” and “Restorative Justice”. She works with scholars in the areas of motivation, crisis interventions, prevention education, conflict mediation, truancy, and grief. She is a support to staff members and administrators in Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) school-wide as well as, in the classroom. Faith also acts as a referring agent for scholar and families to mental health agencies and needed resources. Witnessing scholars she’s worked with cross the stage on graduation day, is the joyous day of her school year!

Rachelle Griffin | Northwest Regional Representative

Martha Jones, LISW | Central Regional Representative

Martha Jones attended The Ohio State University earning both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Social Work. Originally from Mansfield, Ohio; Marty has recently relocated to Columbus and is employed by Columbus City Schools – grateful to be serving as a School Social Worker. Martha has previously worked in public health, developmental disabilities, rehabilitation/corrections and community mental health.

Brenda Rinkes, LISW-S | Southeast Regional Representative

Vacant | Southwest Regional Representative

Please contact our current president, Rachel Meffe, at [email protected] if you are interested in this position.

Student Representatives

Lindsey Neag | MSASS Student Representative

Vacant | University of Cincinnati Student Representative

Vacant | OSU Student Representative

Please contact our current president, Rachel Meffe, at [email protected] if you are interested in these positions.

Agency Advisors

Teri Kinsway, MSW, LISW-S | Ohio State University Advisor

Sarah Andrews, LISW-S | Case Western Reserve University Advisor 

Carol Wheeler-Strother, MSW, LSW, PhD | University of Cincinnati Advisor

Danielle Smith, MSW, LSW, CAE | NASW Ohio Advisor

Emily Jordan, MSW, LISW | Ohio Department of Education Advisor