Ohio’s Original Interscholastic Creative Writing Program for Middle Schools
Power of the Pen was incorporated in March of 1989 as an educational nonprofit (501)(c)(3) organization. It is helmed by a Board of Directors which draws its membership from the educational, corporate, and professional communities.
Members of the Board of Directors of Power of the Pen, serving as of December 2021, are:
» Barb Tschantz, Executive Director (non-voting). Barb has more than a decade of experience with Power of the Pen, having served as a coach, tab room supervisor, president of the State Committee, and regional director. She holds a B.S. in News, middle childhood teaching licensure, an M.Ed. in Reading Specialization, an Ed.S. in Curriculum and Instruction, and a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management from Kent State University. Barb is on the leadership council of the National Writing Project at Kent State University, and is a former middle school English Language Arts teacher and Kent State instructor of literacy. She has a professional background in corporate communications with organizations such as Walsh University and FedEx Custom Critical.
» Julie Lyberger, President, Regional Director. With more than 30 years in education, Julie is currently an administrator with Lake Elementary School in Hartville, Ohio. She formerly taught middle school English Language Arts. Julie holds a B.A. in Education and a master’s in Educational Leadership/Administration. She has served with Power of the Pen for more than 20 years in roles including coach, tab room supervisor, state tournament building monitor, and secretary of the State Committee.
» Robin Langlais, Secretary, Regional Director. Robin retired after 35 years as a media specialist in junior high and middle schools, most recently with Strongsville City Schools. She holds a B.A. in Library Science/Educational Media and an M.S. in Educational Technology. Robin has received numerous grants for educational purposes. In her 30 years with Power of the Pen, Robin has served as a coach, computer operator, and regional director.
» Jane Bethel, Treasurer. Jane is a retired CPA with more than 40 years of experience in government and nonprofit organizations. She has a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Akron. She worked at a public accounting firm, has served as a school treasurer, and most recently was deputy director of finance for Stark County Job and Family Services. She has served on several nonprofit boards and joined the Power of the Pen board in 2021.
» Amy Benedict. Amy has more than 20 years in the biopharmaceutical industry, primarily in positions of commercial leadership. She is currently the regional marketing liaison with Bristol Myers Squibb. Amy has a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from Bowling Green State University and a Masters of Science from Miami University. Amy has been a volunteer associated with many philanthropies and joined the Power of the Pen board in 2021.
» Tyler Chaplin. Tyler is a tax manager at Bober Markey Fedorovich, a regional accounting firm located in Akron. He is a CPA and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants. Tyler holds both a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a Master’s of Taxation from the University of Akron. He is passionate about education, learning and the local community. Tyler joined the board in 2020.
» Taryn Douglas. Taryn is currently an assistant prosecutor in the City of Canton Law Department. Prior to that, Taryn was an associate attorney with a law firm in Wapakoneta, Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Ohio State University and a Juris Doctor from the Ohio Northern University College of Law. Taryn credits her experience in Power of the Pen in 7th and 8th grades with helping her to develop writing skills that are crucial in the legal profession. Taryn previously served on the board of directors for the Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce. She joined the Power of the Pen board in 2021.
» Ann Durkin. Ann has more than 20 years of experience working in public service. She currently is a program administrator in the Child Support Division at Stark County Job and Family Services. Ann has a B.A. in English and a Masters in Business Administration from Kent State University. Ann joined the Power of the Pen board in 2021.
» Scott Edwards. Scott is executive creative director at Innis Maggiore Ad Agency. With 35 years of experience managing and directing creative services, Scott has worked across a broad range of industries, including casual dining, automotive, consumer packaging, healthcare, financial services, retail, manufacturing, nonprofit, energy and many more. His work is award-winning. A published author, Scott has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania as well as an M.B.A. in Marketing from New York University. He joined the Power of the Pen board in 2021.
» Mike Fejes, Coach. Mike holds a B.A. in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Kent State University. He has taught at Hudson Middle School for 25 years, serving as Power of the Pen coach for 20 years. As a volunteer for Power of the Pen, Mike has contributed to special projects, served as state tournament manager, and hosted tournaments at Hudson Middle School. He holds National Board Certification in English Language Arts/Early Adolescence, as well as Ohio Master Teacher Certification.
» Dave Hill. With more than 15 years of experience in corporate communications, Dave is a communications advisor for external communications at FedEx Ground. He formerly served as communications manager for finance and IT at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and communications manager with FedEx Custom Critical. He holds a B.S. in Public Relations from Kent State University. Dave joined the Power of the Pen board in 2019.
» Kaiser Jaffar. Kaiser has extensive experience in information technology and engineering, including positions as a structural design engineer, site engineer, CIPP engineer, takeoff estimator, and more recently software engineer and software developer. He is currently senior software developer with PNC. He is passionate about encouraging youth in various activities such as Power of the Pen, science fairs, and math competitions. Kaiser holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Louisiana Tech University and another Master’s in Computer Information Systems from Cleveland State. He joined the board in 2021.
» Anji Jain. Anji has more than 20 years of experience working in various roles in information technology. She currently serves as an IT manager at Progressive Insurance. Anji, who has her Masters in Business Administration from Cleveland State University, owned and operated her own business for six years before returning full time to information technology with Progressive. She joined the Power of the Pen board in 2021.
» Kathy Jambor. With more than 20 years of experience in marketing, Kathy is currently marketing director at Antigen Security. She carries a lifelong passion for writing with roots in Power of the Pen, where she placed sixth in a district tournament as a 7th grader. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Ohio University. Kathy joined the Power of the Pen board in 2021.
» Andrea Legg. Andrea is the director of the North Canton Public Library in Stark County. She has worked in public libraries since 2007 and is passionate about connecting her community to resources that will enhance lives and expand horizons. Andrea has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Malone University and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Kent State University. As a student at St. Michael’s Elementary in the late '90s, Andrea benefitted from her experience as a member of the school’s Power of the Pen team and credits the program with instilling confidence in her writing abilities at a formative age. She joined the board in 2021.
» Brittany Mackey. Brittany is part of the Talent Development team within Human Resources at The J.M. Smucker Co. where she focuses on employee and leadership development, engagement, empowerment, and resonant leadership. Brittany holds both a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and an M.B.A. from Ashland University. She also has Emotional Intelligence and Coaching Certifications from Case Western Reserve University, and is passionate about learning and empowering others to be the best version of themselves. She joined the Power of the Pen board in 2021.
» Gregory Parker. Greg, now retired, has 40 years' experience in leadership positions with White Castle Systems, Inc. He has volunteered at tournaments with Power of the Pen for more than a decade. Greg joined the Power of the Pen board in 2020.
» Amy Woodland. After more than 15 years of college-level teaching, Amy transitioned her skill sets into nonprofit and government work. Currently, she is the manager of community relations for the County of Summit Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Board. Amy holds a B.A. in English from James Madison University and an M.A. in English from the University of West Florida.