Alumni Spotlight

Leah Abel Headshot
Leah Abel, Ph.D. '20

What year did you graduate and which program(s) did you complete?

I graduated from the School Psychology Ph.D. program in August of 2020.

What was your most meaningful experience while in the School Psychology program?

The experience that was most meaningful for me, was my internship with Akron Public Schools. Making the transition from learning about my role and responsibility as a school psychologist, to successfully applying it, was really rewarding. Not only did I feel prepared to be a school psychologist, but I felt that I could be a contributing member of my buildings' teams and the Child Study department, thanks to my preparation and training from Kent.

What has been your most significant professional accomplishment since graduating the program?

I was nominated and selected for the Dublin City Schools Golden Shamrock Award in December of 2019. Golden Shamrock winners are those who have made noteworthy contributions to the District. The Golden Shamrock is awarded seven times per year, to any two employees in the district. Employees are nominated by their peers and selected by a committee of representatives from local businesses, the City of Dublin, Dublin City Schools, and the community. I was nominated by my colleagues, and was the first School Psychologist to win this award!

Where are you currently employed and what is your role?

I am currently a School Psychologist in Dublin City Schools for two elementary buildings, Eli Pinney Elementary and Abraham Depp Elementary.


Garrard Headshot
Carli Garrard, Ed.S. '19

What year did you graduate and which program(s) did you complete?

I graduated last August (2019) from the School Psychology, Educational Specialist program.

What was your most meaningful experience while in the School Psychology program?

I am certain that most former students would agree that the most meaningful experience was definitely our internship experience. I was very lucky to be placed in a district that had a wonderful MTSS system in place, which was something I really wanted to experience working successfully. I also had such wonderful supervisors that were willing to really let me dive in and be involved with all aspects of the role of a school psychologist. Those critical experiences, although challenging, were so crucial to me feeling confident in my current role.

What has been your most significant professional accomplishment since graduating the program?

Although I have only been at my current position for one year, I feel there have been many positive changes. When I arrived, the district was just beginning their process to implement an MTSS system at the elementary level. Last year we began slowly implementing the system at the middle school level. This year we are continuing to expand the program at the middle school level, as well as the high school level. We also have begun talking at the district level about how to analyze the data we have collected to improve instruction on a more systemic level.

Where are you currently employed and what is your role?

I am currently employed by Streetsboro City Schools. I work as the school psychologist for the middle school, high school, and also complete out of district evaluations.


Ziccardi Headshot
Franklin Ziccardi, M.Ed. '17, Ed.S. '19

What year did you graduate and which program(s) did you complete?

I graduated with my Masters of Education degree on May 13th 2017 and with my Educational Specialist Degree on August 17th 2019.

What was your most meaningful experience while in the School Psychology program?

There were a lot of meaningful experiences throughout my time at Kent State University that helped prepare me for a career in the field of school psychology. The first one was being able to work at the Family Child Learning Center with families participating in early intervention and preschool services. I was able to work with families there due to a partnership with both Kent State University and the Family Childhood Learning Center / Akron Children's Hospital. I also felt that the challenging coursework that Kent State offered, in conjunction with my extremely rewarding internship experience, provided me with a lot of experiences that helped prepare me for employment upon my graduation.

What has been your most significant professional accomplishment since graduating the program?

My most significant professional accomplishment to date was becoming president elect of the Kent Akron School Psychology Association (KAASP) in 2020.

Where are you currently employed and what is your role?

I am currently employed in the Massillon City School District in Stark County Ohio. I currently serve four buildings and conduct initial and reevaluations for students with disabilities, as well as run the Response to Intervention (RTI) process for grades K-3.