In 2014, Reaching Heights celebrates 25 years of supporting excellent public education in Cleveland Heights and University Heights, Ohio.

Our founding bylaws are here.

Our original Articles of Incorporation with the State of Ohio from 1990 are here.


Here’s a timeline of Reaching Heights highlights going back to our beginning.


• Planning begins for 4th Reaching Musical Heights concert, a community celebration of musical excellence, to take place in Spring 2015 at Severance Hall.

23rd Annual Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee set for Wednesday, March 12 at Cleveland Heights High School.

2014 Friend of Public Education Award honoree: Carla Bailey

• Registration opens for 10th Annual Reaching Heights Summer Music Camp, to take place June 16-21, 2014, at Wiley Middle School.


• Voters in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district resoundingly passed Issue 81, a $134.8 million bond issue to launch the first of two phases of a comprehensive overhaul of the district’s school facilities. The Reaching Heights Board of Directors endorsed the bond. The campaign, co-chaired by local activist Dave Tabor, Reaching Heights board member Alvin Saafir, and Reaching Heights Executive Director Patrick Mullen, won by 59% to 41%.

 92 students participated in the 9th Annual Heights Summer Music Camp. About one-third of our campers receive full or partial scholarships.

 2013 Friend of Public Education Award honoree: Reginald Evans

• The 22nd Annual Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee was held March 28 at Cleveland Heights High School. Our Champions: Barratrous Orthographers, a team representing the law firm of Squire Sanders with spellers Bonnie Bealer, Becky Bynum, and John Lazzaretti.

 Second annual Resource Fair for Families of Children with Disabilities held at Cleveland Heights High School, a cooperative initiative of the Exceptional Children’s Advocacy Group (ECAG), a Reaching Heights program, and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district.

 Reaching Heights Executive Director Patrick Mullen announces that he’ll step down in Spring 2014


 A redesigned reachingheights.org website went live in November, thanks to a pro bono contribution of time and talent by Pear Tree Communications.

 Reaching Heights created the Exceptional Children’s Advocacy Group (ECAG) to advocate for the families of the more than 1,000 students in our district with special needs.

 More than 85 students participated in the 8th Annual Heights Summer Music Camp. About one-third of our campers receive full or partial scholarships.

 2012 Friend of Public Education Award honoree: Tom Schmida

• The 21th Annual Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee was held March 28 at Cleveland Heights High School. Our Champions: Phyllis’s Phriends, with team members Lindy Burt, Kathy Soltis, and Tony Thayer, representing Noble and Oxford Elementary Schools’ PTAs and honoring the memory of Phyllis Albert.

 A Reaching Heights grant supported the Cleveland Heights High School production of The Phantom of the Opera, More than 600 CH-UH students participated as members of two casts, including 100 elementary students in a floor chorus and in the aisles and 200 middle school students in an on-stage chorus. More than 300 high school students contributed as actors, members of the pit orchestra, and in the stage crew. We have supported this annual musical production each year since its inception in 2007.


Second School News from Reaching Heights 4-page insert published in The Heights Observer

Oh, To Bee 20! The 20th Annual Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee was held Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, 7-9pm at Cleveland Heights High School. Our repeat Champions: O.O.P.S.A.L.A. (Orchestral Orthographers Publicly Support Annoyingly Lengthy Acronyms), with team members Lisa Boyko, Kathleen Collins, and Beth Woodside, all members of The Cleveland Orchestra.

 2011 Friend of Public Education Award honoree: Susie Kaeser

Reaching Musical Heights took the stage Monday, April 11, 2011 at Severance Hall. Featuring performance by elementary, middle school, and high school instrumental and vocal musicians, this community celebration of musical excellence showcase our students’ rich talents, helps cultivate a love of great music among the next generation of patrons of the performing arts, and is one heck of a good time.

• Renegade Lunch sponsored by Marigold Catering to benefit Reaching Heights takes place outdoors at the corner of Lee and Meadowbrook, bringing together community leaders from our school district, city government, local businesses, and non-profits.

•  Watch highlights from the 19th Annual Reaching Heights Spelling Bee, held April 21 at Heights High, on our YouTube Channel, reachable from our home page. Co-champions this year: Barratrous Orthographers, Sponsored by the S,S&D Foundation, featuring attorneys Geoff Barnes, Becky Bynum, and John Lazzaritti from the law firm of Squire, Sanders, & Dempsey L.L.P.; and OOPSALA (Orchestral Orthographers Publicly Support Annoyingly Lengthy Acronyms), featuring Cleveland Orchestra members Lisa Boyko, Carolyn Warner, and Beth Woodside.

•  2010 Friend of Public Education Award honoree: Lita Gonzalez.

• Hot Jazz on a Cold Night: Reaching Heights Night at Clyde’s Bistro and Barroom brings lovers of great music together at Cleveland Heights’s hot new dining spot to share a meal, listen to a high school jazz quartet, and raise some money to support excellent public education.

•  2nd Annual Forest Hill 5K ThunderRun Walk/Run chooses Reaching Heights as beneficiary of a 5k race through Forest Hill Park, formerly the Forest Hill estate owned by John D. Rockefeller

• First School News from Reaching Heights 4-page insert published in The Heights Observer

• Reaching Heights celebrates 20th anniversary
• New reachingheighs.org website is launched, incorporating video clips from our YouTube channel, ReachingHeightsOH
• 2009 Friend of Public Education Award honoree: John Carroll University.
• 18th Annual Adult Community Spelling Bee Champions: The Know Knothings, representing Cleveland Heights High School Parent Connection Council. Team members: Anne Kugler, Fran Lissemore, Jim Wright.
• 5th Annual Heights Summer Music Camp gives 85 young musicians a chance to shine during a fun and intense week of learning, culminating in a magnificent Finale Concert.

• Fourth Heights Summer Music Camp energizes 85 campers
• 2008 Friend of Public Education Award honoree: Andrea Freeman
• Reaching Heights adopts new logo, along with tagline: Our Passion: Excellent Public Education


• Patti Family Fund Music Lesson Scholarship program begins with 33 scholarships (ongoing in 2014 as Patti/Jackson Music Lesson Scholarship program)
• Reaching Musical Heights-Encore! brings children and families from across the district back to Severance Hall
• Patrick Mullen hired as Executive Director upon retirement of Susie Kaeser
• 2007 Friend of Public Education Award honorees: Don & Donalene Poduska

• 2006 Friend of Public Education Award honoree: Amy Jenkins

• Launch Heights Summer Music Camp (ongoing in 2014)
• 2005 Friend of Public Education Award honoree: Calvin Singleton
• Launch Many Villages academic tutoring program (ongoing in 2014)

• Launch Middle School Honor Band and Orchestra Festival
• Public Forums on School Funding and on What Works in Schools
• 2004 Friend of Public Education Award honoree: Maryann Barnes

• First Reaching Musical Heights concert at Severance Hall ignites community with power of musical excellence
• Provide grant to support CH Teachers Union professional development program
• Public forum on School Governance
• 2003 Friend of Public Education Award honoree: Vicki Copeland

• Publish Parent and Student Guide to the Heights Music Program
• Grant from Henry Doll to investigate service learning
• Provide staff support to 4th grade proficiency network
• Inaugural Friend of Public Education Award honoree: Jim Vail (ongoing in 2014)

• Advocate and support second year of 4th Grade Proficiency Network

• Launch 4th Grade Proficiency Network with grant from Cleveland Foundation
• Survey 100 recipients of School Team Grants to assess their impact
• Matchmaker project increases large donor gifts
• Support Concert Club for Monticello students to hear professional musicians

• Support 2000 by 2000 community reading program
• Reaching Heights celebrates 10th anniversary

• HeightSwings Jazz Concert at Cain Park
• Create James Bane Jazz Scholarship
• Initiate Teaching Fellowship Program

• Launch Thank-A-Teacher program (ongoing in 2014)
• Launch Neighborhood Newsletter program
• Sponsor Harp Fund
• Hold two PS21 public forums

• Involve 150 people in Study Circle conversations
• Hold 3 PS21 public forums

• Reaching Heights becomes a membership organization
• First Music Benefit – Reaching Notable Heights
• Launch PS 21 project – Public Schools for the 21st Century
• Launch Podis-Weiskopf Music Fund

• Publish first issue of Reaching Heights newsletter – Powerful Learning
• Launch Community Connection Grant program (ongoing in 2011)

• Reception and release of An Introduction to the Heights Schools
• Form Study Group of School Reform
• Workshop for principals on School Based Public Relations
• Public forum on The Achieving Middle School, Hayes Mizell

• 1st Reaching Heights Adult Spelling Bee, a fundraiser for our School Team Grants program. The 21st annual Bee will take place Wednesday, March 28, 2012, at Cleveland Heights High School.

• We award first four School Team Grants, totaling $4,400 Program – 4 grants and $4,400. During the 2009-10 school year, we awarded 14 grants worth $14,525. Since 1990, we have provided 275 projects worth $272,694

• Wyse Landau Advertising develops Reaching Heights name and logo:

• School Team Grant program created to promote collaboration, innovation, and excellence in instruction (program ongoing in 2011).
• First public forum – Ron Wolk

With filing of articles of incorporation, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Schools Foundation is created.

• A group of dreamers – Dave Sweet, Phyllis Evans, Steve Bullock, Marge Montlack, Dick Obermans, Louisa Oliver, and Tom Gerson – meet on Susie Kaeser’s porch to propose a foundation. Tom Anderson, Joe Shafran and Susie Kaeser negotiate articles of Incorporation with school board president Bernard Greene.

• Schools Consensus Project Task Force begins, addressing negative perceptions of our public schools that developed in the wake of racial changes in our community. Idea of a public school foundation discussed.

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