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Meet Us

Six guiding principles drive the work of our small but mighty team:

  • Our children deserve an excellent education and our community is responsible for making it available.

  • Our community benefits from highly valued, successful public schools.

  • An informed public is important to successful public schools.

  • Vital schools depend on the support, interest, and involvement of the families and community they serve.

  • An independent community-based organization can help citizens contribute to their public schools and can build confidence in them.

  • Supporting teachers, who are at the core of the educational process, fosters educational success.



Executive Director

Krista Hawthorne

Krista was selected by the Board of Directors to be Executive Director in April 2014 after serving roles as Assistant Director and Communications Assistant since 2009.

For more than 20 years, Krista has been a lead volunteer with the international student exchange organization, AFS Intercultural Programs.

She and her husband have lived in Cleveland Heights since 1988. Their two daughters attended Coventry and Boulevard Elementary Schools, Roxboro Middle School, and Cleveland Heights High. They have hosted seven AFS exchange students who also attended Heights High and are Tiger Proud!


Community Engagement Coordinator

Tina Emancipator

The term “it takes a village” takes on a whole new meaning when you are raising children. Raising a family in Cleveland Heights, I have truly joined a village. I have felt the support and have tried to offer it whenever I could.  Reaching Heights could not embody that sentiment more, and I am excited to help continue to build our programs and to offer support and comradery to families and teachers alike.


Parent Mentor


Joy Howard has been a University heights resident for 12 years and proud mother of 5 children. Joy has 16 years’ experience in the medical field and 8 years of experience as an informatics specialist. She is a highly energetic parent advocate with valuable experience leveraging outstanding organizational, communication and leadership skills. She has worked with ECAG for several years providing support and resources to parents in need. Joy brings her medical knowledge, technology skills and 25 years of personal experience nurturing and supporting her exceptional children.



Linda Dudzinsky

Linda and her husband have lived in Cleveland Heights for over 33 years and are the proud parents of a daughter and son who attended Fairfax Elementary School, Roxboro Middle School and Cleveland Heights High. She is a past Fairfax PTA President and former member of the CH-UH PTA Council Executive Board. Linda also worked for eight years as Media Ancillary at Fairfax Elementary School. She is an active member at her church and also volunteers for Thea Bowman Center, a community center in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. She is proud to be working in support of the important mission of Reaching Heights.



Reaching Heights is a membership organization that is governed by a board of directors who live or teach in the school district. One director is a member of the CH-UH board of education. The superintendent of the CH-UH schools is an ex-officio member.

If you are interested in joining our dynamic and involved Board, please contact Krista Hawthorne.

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