About Us


Ohio Gap Closers has one mission. To purposely improve the academic achievements of youth in foster care by delivering exceptional professional development and training sessions.

About Us


 

We want to help children succeed, but we can't do it alone. Please join us and allow our family to help your family! Together we can Overcome, Give Thanks and Contribute to your child's bright future.

Our History


Ohio Gap Closers is founded in the Porter family traditions established in Alliance, Ohio. These traditions include overcoming adversity, being thankful, and contributing. Our story starts with our matriarch, Ella Louise Porter (pictured below). Click on her picture to learn about our journey to creating OGC.


Our History




 

We want to help children succeed, but we can't do it alone. Please join us and allow our family to help your family! Together we can Overcome, Give Thanks and Contribute to your child's bright future.

Ohio Gap Closers is founded in the Porter family traditions established in Alliance, Ohio. These traditions include overcoming adversity, being thankful, and contributing. Our story starts with our matriarch, Ella Louise Porter (pictured below). Click on her picture to learn about our journey to creating OGC.


Our History

A Look Back

Our History

We honor the late Ella Louise Porter by continuing her love for children no matter where they come from through our work at Ohio Gap Closers LLC.

When you’re born into a family of approximately 45 different people, you have to be able to overcome adversity. Sometimes the adversity could be at home, in class, or at school trying out for the basketball team. The adversity could be from opening the refrigerator and wondering what you are going to eat tonight. No matter what the adversity is, it takes all of us working together to overcome it.

Growing up with a large family that included our father, mother, White siblings, Black siblings, and siblings with special needs, we were always thankful for each other. Our parents and teachers at school helped shield us from the materialistic nature of society and taught us to recognize that we had something to be thankful for in having each other.

As you can imagine, there was no room for laziness in our large family. Each and every one of us had to contribute. The boys took out the trash and mowed the lawn, while the girls cleaned the floors and washed the dishes. This might sound old school to many, but in the Porter household, this is how we were trained to contribute to the greater good.

It is only by the grace of God that we have all reached adulthood relatively unscathed. The fundamentals that our mother, Ella Louise Porter, taught us of overcoming, giving thanks, and contributing has produced great results including but not limited to: husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, lawyers, police captains, military service men and women, counselors, social workers, financial analyst, managers, high school principals, college admission officers, homeland security agents, entrepreneurs, information technology specialist, and our one of a kind Porter Palooza!


Our Founders' Team


Taylor Porter

Taylor Porter

Information and Innovation

Taylor Porter is Principal at Gamble Montessori High School in Cincinnati Public Schools. He served as Assistant Principal in Westerville City Schools and completed his BRIGHT Fellowship at Middletown High School. Before BRIGHT, Taylor was a Business Analyst for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Bureau of Automated Systems. He also worked as a Social Program Specialist for the Public Children Services Association of Ohio. To expand his work with students Taylor is a co-founder of the Ohio Gap Closers, an organization that works to improve academic outcomes for students in foster care. A graduate of the Columbus Center for Urban Progress’s Progressive Leadership Academy, Taylor holds an MBA from The Ohio State University (2016) and a B.S. in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati (2009). Taylor is married to his wife, Fauzia, and has two children Taelynn-Marie and Ellis.

Emily Ragland

Emily Ragland

Talent Development

Emily Ragland serves as Director of Admission at Capital University. Emily has spent her professional career serving as an advocate for college access for those with the most need, serving on both the Community Based Organization side and now working in higher education. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree from Capital University and a Master’s degree from the University of Dayton. Emily values family – as one of 13 kids, she spends her free time with her family or attending music events with her husband, who is a music educator.

Travis Porter

Travis Porter

Partnerships and Community Engagement

Travis Porter is a community leader in foster care services and in the mental health field. Travis is active in the community serving children, adults and foster families. Travis is trained in collaborative problem solving and a licensed CPI instructor at The Village Network. He is also an active case manager for CareSource. Travis has experience at mentoring at-risk youth, served as a behavior specialist at Rosemont, and community support person at Dublin Counseling Center/Syntero. Travis is a graduate of Mount Vernon Nazarene University and holds his BSW and LSW.

Mark Bobo

Mark Bobo

Finance and Contracts

Mark Bobo is a leader in child advocacy and student achievement. A graduate of The Ohio State University, holding both a BS in Agricultural Economics and Executive MBA. Mark is presently working for the Ohio School Board Association as lead consultant of membership engagement. Mark worked more than ten years in the banking and finance industry. Previously, he was Assistant Vice President and Operations Manager of the Issue Resolution Group for CHASE Mortgage Banking in Columbus. Vice-Chairman of Franklin County Children’s Services, He is a co-founder of Ohio Gap Closers as well as serves on several advisory boards. Mark is married to his lovely wife, Deborah, and they both are the parents to four beautiful children: Aiyanna, Mark II, Mathias, and Mahalia.

Racquel Armstrong

Racquel Armstrong

Diversity and Inclusion

Racquel Armstrong is Assistant Principal at Bexley Middle School. She has over 10 years of experience in teaching and administration where she has blended her passion for youth with challenging oppressive schooling contexts. She is a doctoral student at The Ohio State University, where her area of study is Multi-cultural & Equity Studies. She holds an MBA from Ohio State’s Max M. Fisher College of Business, an M.S.Ed. from The University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Wellesley College. She is the recipient of a leadership certificate from The Progressive Leadership Academy and is a past Truman Scholar and Woodrow Wilson fellow. She is a co-founder of Ohio Gap Closers as well as serves on several advisory boards.



Our Team


Information and Innovation

Taylor Porter

Taylor Porter is Principal at Gamble Montessori High School in Cincinnati Public Schools. He served as Assistant Principal in Westerville City Schools and completed his BRIGHT Fellowship at Middletown High School. Before BRIGHT, Taylor was a Business Analyst for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Bureau of Automated Systems. He also worked as a Social Program Specialist for the Public Children Services Association of Ohio. To expand his work with students Taylor is a co-founder of the Ohio Gap Closers, an organization that works to improve academic outcomes for students in foster care. A graduate of the Columbus Center for Urban Progress’s Progressive Leadership Academy, Taylor holds an MBA from The Ohio State University (2016) and a B.S. in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati (2009). Taylor is married to his wife, Fauzia, and has two children Taelynn-Marie and Ellis.

Talent Development

Emily Ragland

Emily Ragland serves as Director of Admission at Capital University. Emily has spent her professional career serving as an advocate for college access for those with the most need, serving on both the Community Based Organization side and now working in higher education. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree from Capital University and a Master’s degree from the University of Dayton. Emily values family – as one of 13 kids, she spends her free time with her family or attending music events with her husband, who is a music educator.

Partnerships and Community Engagement

Travis Porter

Travis Porter is a community leader in foster care services and in the mental health field. Travis is active in the community serving children, adults and foster families. Travis is trained in collaborative problem solving and a licensed CPI instructor at The Village Network. He is also an active case manager for CareSource. Travis has experience at mentoring at-risk youth, served as a behavior specialist at Rosemont, and community support person at Dublin Counseling Center/Syntero. Travis is a graduate of Mount Vernon Nazarene University and holds his BSW and LSW.

Finance and Contracts

Mark Bobo

Mark Bobo is a leader in child advocacy and student achievement. A graduate of The Ohio State University, holding both a BS in Agricultural Economics and Executive MBA. Mark is presently working for the Ohio School Board Association as lead consultant of membership engagement. Mark worked more than ten years in the banking and finance industry. Previously, he was Assistant Vice President and Operations Manager of the Issue Resolution Group for CHASE Mortgage Banking in Columbus. Vice-Chairman of Franklin County Children’s Services, He is a co-founder of Ohio Gap Closers as well as serves on several advisory boards. Mark is married to his lovely wife, Deborah, and they both are the parents to four beautiful children: Aiyanna, Mark II, Mathias, and Mahalia.

Diversity and Inclusion

Racquel Armstrong

Racquel Armstrong is Assistant Principal at Bexley Middle School. She has over 10 years of experience in teaching and administration where she has blended her passion for youth with challenging oppressive schooling contexts. She is a doctoral student at The Ohio State University, where her area of study is Multi-cultural & Equity Studies. She holds an MBA from Ohio State’s Max M. Fisher College of Business, an M.S.Ed. from The University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Wellesley College. She is the recipient of a leadership certificate from The Progressive Leadership Academy and is a past Truman Scholar and Woodrow Wilson fellow. She is a co-founder of Ohio Gap Closers as well as serves on several advisory boards.


Our Advisory Board


Gia Bell

Gia Bell

Manager of Training and Development, Healthcare and Behavioral Health

Gia D. Bell is both a passionate and servant leader, who is frequently called upon for her advocacy for Autism and underrepresented populations. She leads mainly by example, always doing her best and encouraging others to do the same. Gia was recently awarded the Women’s Network Leadership Institute Laura Allio Emerging Leaders award at the Greater Akron Chamber. She was also the recipient of the 30 For the Future Award through the Young Professional Network.

Gia has received Congressional Recognition from her work on Autism. She led the project at Cleveland Clinic Akron General to designate Cleveland Clinic the first Adult Autism Friendly Hospitals in the nation. Gia graduated from Kent State University. She is currently the Manager of Training and Development at Red Oak Behavioral Health. Gia currently serves on the board at the Women’s Network Leadership Institute Leadership Council. She also serves on the Fund Development Task for at the Akron Urban League Young Professionals. She is a member of the Torchbearers Akron’s Class of 2020. She also serves on the Parent Board Association at St. Vincent de Paul Elementary and Julie Billiarts Schools. She is a member of the Autism Society of Greater Akron, ATHENA Women and Leadership, Women’s Network Leadership Institute, Change Direction Committee, and the Greater Akron Chamber.

Traci Mcarty

Traci Mcarty

LISW-S, Clinical Director THE VILLAGE NETWORK

Traci McCarty has been a licensed social worker in Ohio since 2000. She has worked at The Village Network as a therapist, foster care clinical supervisor, program manager for juvenile court programming, and now Clinical Director for TVN’s Southwest Region. Concurrently, Traci has served as an adjunct professor at MVNU since 2009

Jennifer Stovall

Jennifer Stovall

School Counselor, Westerville South High School

With 23 years as an educator, Jennifer Stovall continues to focus on student and family well-being. She understands the importance of foundation, support, and follow-through when it comes to students in foster care. Receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and a Masters Degree in School Counseling, Jennifer spent 9 years as an Intervention Specialist and beginning her 15th year as a School Counselor at Westerville South High School. She serves as the Department Chair of the Counseling Department and recently has been awarded Educator of the Year for her building. Her hobbies focus on following her energetic boys during their involvement in sports, year-round.

Charmaine Campbell

Charmaine Campbell

Principal, Columbus City Schools-Parkmoor Elementary

Miss Charmaine Campbell has been employed with the Columbus City School District since the fall of 2007. Shortly thereafter, she obtained her English as a Second Language license. She has received several undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Ohio State University in the field of Education. Currently, she holds a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in African-American and African Studies with a specialization in early childhood family development, a Masters of Art in Educational Administration, a Masters of Education in Pre-K to third-grade education, and she is a National Board Certified Teacher.

Most recently, this summer she attended Harvard University and completed a course on Family Engagement. In the winter of 2015, she became the Principal of Parkmoor Elementary School. Since coming to Parkmoor, through grant writings and community partnerships, Miss Campbell has brought and implemented several in-school and after-school programs that help to aid both teachers and students achieve academic excellence. In 2017, Miss Campbell was awarded Principal of the Year in Central Ohio by The Ohio Alliance of Black School Educators.



advisory board


Principal, Columbus City Schools-Parkmoor Elementary

Charmaine Campbell

Miss Charmaine Campbell has been employed with the Columbus City School District since the fall of 2007. Shortly thereafter, she obtained her English as a Second Language license. She has received several undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Ohio State University in the field of Education. Currently, she holds a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in African-American and African Studies with a specialization in early childhood family development, a Masters of Art in Educational Administration, a Masters of Education in Pre-K to third-grade education, and she is a National Board Certified Teacher.

Most recently, this summer she attended Harvard University and completed a course on Family Engagement. In the winter of 2015, she became the Principal of Parkmoor Elementary School. Since coming to Parkmoor, through grant writings and community partnerships, Miss Campbell has brought and implemented several in-school and after-school programs that help to aid both teachers and students achieve academic excellence. In 2017, Miss Campbell was awarded Principal of the Year in Central Ohio by The Ohio Alliance of Black School Educators.

School Counselor, Westerville South High School

Jennifer Stovall

With 23 years as an educator, Jennifer Stovall continues to focus on student and family well-being. She understands the importance of foundation, support, and follow-through when it comes to students in foster care. Receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and a Masters Degree in School Counseling, Jennifer spent 9 years as an Intervention Specialist and beginning her 15th year as a School Counselor at Westerville South High School. She serves as the Department Chair of the Counseling Department and recently has been awarded Educator of the Year for her building. Her hobbies focus on following her energetic boys during their involvement in sports, year-round.

Manager of Training and Development, Healthcare and Behavioral Health

Gia Bell

Gia D. Bell is both a passionate and servant leader, who is frequently called upon for her advocacy for Autism and underrepresented populations. She leads mainly by example, always doing her best and encouraging others to do the same. Gia was recently awarded the Women’s Network Leadership Institute Laura Allio Emerging Leaders award at the Greater Akron Chamber. She was also the recipient of the 30 For the Future Award through the Young Professional Network.

Gia has received Congressional Recognition from her work on Autism. She led the project at Cleveland Clinic Akron General to designate Cleveland Clinic the first Adult Autism Friendly Hospitals in the nation. Gia graduated from Kent State University. She is currently the Manager of Training and Development at Red Oak Behavioral Health. Gia currently serves on the board at the Women’s Network Leadership Institute Leadership Council. She also serves on the Fund Development Task for at the Akron Urban League Young Professionals. She is a member of the Torchbearers Akron’s Class of 2020. She also serves on the Parent Board Association at St. Vincent de Paul Elementary and Julie Billiarts Schools. She is a member of the Autism Society of Greater Akron, ATHENA Women and Leadership, Women’s Network Leadership Institute, Change Direction Committee, and the Greater Akron Chamber.

LISW-S, Clinical Director THE VILLAGE NETWORK

Traci Mcarty

Traci McCarty has been a licensed social worker in Ohio since 2000. She has worked at The Village Network as a therapist, foster care clinical supervisor, program manager for juvenile court programming, and now Clinical Director for TVN’s Southwest Region. Concurrently, Traci has served as an adjunct professor at MVNU since 2009

 

Services


Let us help you close the gap! Ohio Gap Closers offers professional development to parents, teachers and social workers in the following areas:

In this training we focus on transient students and how to find success in any academic setting. Parents will walk away empowered with real life tools to help their child. Teachers and workers will walk away with a better understanding on how to reach all students in the classroom.


Please contact us to personalize your professional development package.

Services


Let us help you close the gap! Ohio Gap Closers offers professional development to parents, teachers and social workers in the following areas:


Please contact us to personalize your professional development package.
 

Resources


Here at Ohio Gap Closers, we aim to offer resources for parents, students, educators and all those who strive to better the lives of the children in their communities. Sign up for our newsletter to get your free resources!



Resources


Here at Ohio Gap Closers, we aim to offer resources for parents, students, educators and all those who strive to better the lives of the children in their communities. Sign up for our newsletter to get your free resources!


 

Help Us Close The Gap



Your donations make a difference


Give the gift of family. Your contribution helps us to close the academic achievement gap, health gap, and positively impact outcomes for children in foster care. Click the button below to make a donation.

Close The Gap



Your donations make a difference


Give the gift of family. Your contribution helps us to close the academic achievement gap, health gap, and positively impact outcomes for children in foster care. Click the button below to make a donation.

Close The Gap


Your donations make a difference


Give the gift of family. Your contribution helps us to close the academic achievement gap, health gap, and positively impact outcomes for children in foster care. Click the button below to make a donation.

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