2021 OJACC Achievement Award Recipients

OJACC created four awards to be given to Ohioans whose work has contributed to the improvement of community corrections.

Representative C. J. McLin Award

The late Representative C.J. McLin, Jr., during his tenure in the General Assembly, actively worked to improve community corrections through funding and legislative change. The award is given annually to an elected official in Ohio who has worked towards the improvement of community corrections in Ohio.

Awarded to: The Honorable Sherrie Miday, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas

Nomination information: Judge Sherrie Miday established and oversees the High-Risk Domestic Violence Court for the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. This is one of a few such felony dockets in the United States.
During the winter of 2019, Judge Miday led a Strategic Planning and Visioning Forum of several community partners to discuss the feasibility of a dedicated docket to address dangerous and high-risk domestic violence cases. Judge Miday led stakeholder meetings to formulate a felony domestic violence court. By the fall of 2019, the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Innovations in Supervision Program awarded a three-year, $1 million grant to support a High-Risk Domestic Violence Court docket in Cuyahoga County. Social service researchers at Case Western Reserve University are studying the Court’s docket. The university’s involvement is a unique opportunity since there are very few dockets of its kind in the nation and even fewer have been evaluated.
Judge Miday uses multiple assets to combat these issues, including assistant prosecutors, assistant public defenders, behavioral intervention specialists, probation officers, a victim advocate and a docket coordinator. She continually and closely monitors the behavior of domestic violence perpetrators and participates in their compliance hearings with her team. She insists her team provide domestic violence perpetrators with resources to change their behavior. For instance, 88% of the perpetrators on her docket have experienced severe trauma. In response to this alarming statistic, Judge Miday’s team has partnered with a provider for trauma counseling and support. Her goal is to continuously influence positive behavior and accountability so that participants can live successfully within their communities.
Judge Miday’s leadership has made the docket a success. She had a vision and has worked hard to make that docket a reality. She actively solicits and listens to input from everyone and is always willing to reexamine assumptions and processes.
She is a dedicated professional who exhibits determination and leadership to combat the intimate partner domestic violence public health crisis in the United States. Her courage to take on this crisis provides hope for domestic violence perpetrators and their families and their future relationships. Judge Miday’s steadfast devotion and accomplishments bring credit to Cuyahoga County and beyond.
Previous Recipients:
Hon. Teresa Ballinger Honorable David T. Matia  Honorable Jim Slagle
Senator Merle Kearns Sheriff James A. Telb Honorable Charles E. Brown, Jr.
Commissioner John Dowlin Honorable James D. Henson Honorable Nancy R. McDonnell
Representative Cliff Skeen Honorable Elinore Marsh Stormer Honorable James A. Shriver
Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer Honorable Thomas E. Louden Honorable John Trebets
Speaker Vernal G. Riffe Honorable James Ray Representative Tracy Maxwell Heard
Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton Honorable James DeWeese Senator Rob Portman
Lieutenant Governor Mike DeWine Honorable John M. Durkin Honorable Luann Cooperrider
Honorable G. Haas HonorableSenator Charleta B. Tavares Michael J. Sage

Senator John Eklund

Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio

Judge Keith Spaeth

Dr. Bennett J. Cooper Award

Dr. Bennett J. Cooper was the first Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in Ohio. During his lifetime he has created many improvements in public policy towards corrections. He has worked on a national level to try to institutionalize needed changes. This award is given to a correctional administrator or policy maker who has shown a lifetime commitment to the improvement of community.

Awarded to: The Honorable Ted Barrows, Franklin County Municipal Court

Nomination information: After serving in various public service positions with the Ohio Attorney General, Public Defender, and City Prosecutor’s Office, Judge Barrows was elected to the Municipal Court Bench in 2003. He often describes himself as the “Wonk” of the Court. Judge Barrows is one of the most data-driven individuals we know, and as a leader, that is critical.  The value that he places on research has contributed to his success as a judicial leader.

Community corrections professionals understand the importance of having a champion on the bench, someone well-positioned to help advance the profession and put best practices into motion. Judge Barrows is always open to new ideas, but damn, you have better done your homework.  This is an especially important trait as we don’t need fly-by-night, unfounded initiatives in this field.

In 2012, Judge Barrows was elected by his peers to preside over the Court’s Military and Veterans Specialized Docket (MAVS). The MAVS docket was established to provide a non-adversarial approach to defendants who are veterans or have military service in any branch of the United States Armed Services and who have pled guilty to misdemeanor crimes.  Defendants in MAVS often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or adjustment issues following active duty in any branch of the United States Armed Services.  MAVS works closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that defendants receive services to which they are entitled, as well as with other community partners.  In all regards, the MAVS program strives to serve the men and women who have served our country and need a little support to maintain positive lifestyles. Through his exceptional work with the MAVS court, we have had the honor to witness not only the growth and success of the participants, but also the staff who have worked with Judge Barrows.  His passion for restorative justice approaches is contagious and authentic and one can’t help but want to perform at their best.

Judge Barrows is a consummate relationship and consensus builder.  In 2017, he was elected Vice Chair of the Franklin County Criminal Justice Planning Board.  The Board is responsible for regional justice planning and directing the justice mission of the Office of Justice Policy and Programs. Judge Barrows has been an instrumental leader who has helped to successfully advance the Board’s strategic goals and facilitated tough, but critical conversations among passionate and well-informed stakeholders.  He has definitely left his footprint on the fabric of Franklin County.

In 2020, Judge Barrows was elected the Administrative and Presiding Judge of the FCMC.  During his tenure he was tasked with navigating the largest municipal court in the state of Ohio through the pandemic.  Through his leadership, the FCMC opened a satellite location at the Greater Columbus Convention Center where Court operations could safely continue during the pandemic.  In addition to the challenges of COVID-19, this past year also brought forward the eviction crises that is being felt throughout the Country.  By providing expansive work space at the Convention Center, the Court was able to provide tenants access to onsite community partners who provide free legal and financial assistance as well as linking tenants to resources like mediation services, job and family services, and self-help advocates to assist individuals represent themselves in court without an attorney.  Judge Barrows did this all of this and provided the staff tasked with supporting Court operations with generous leave and flexible work schedules.  One of his judicial colleagues went out of his way to comment on how well Judge Barrows led the Court during this time and how he could not think of another Judge who could have performed as well as he has.

Judge Barrows exudes humility.  He is not afraid to admit when he doesn’t know something or to apologize when maybe, because of his passion, his remarks might have come off a little strong.  He will stand up for those under his tutelage and has a keen understanding of the inter-relatedness and importance of all aspects of the criminal justice system. He is a trailblazer around issues affecting pretrial, probation, and behavioral health. He leaves a lasting legacy and for those of us who had the honor to work with him.

Previous Recipients:
Commissioner Marilyn Brown  Phillip Nunes  Maureen O’Connor
Geno Natalucci-Persichetti Grafton S. Payne II Lynn Grimshaw Sandra Cannon
Reginald A. Wilkinson Honorable Lynett M. McGough Edward Rhine Karhlton Moore
Loran Alexander Ralph Starkey Linda Janes Senator Bill Seitz
James Kura (posthumous) Randy J. Gorcz Candace Peters Hon. Nancy A. Fuerst
Joseph Janesz Jill Goldhart Terry Collins Sara Andrews
Robert Denton

Cynthia Mausser

James Wichtman

David Ervin

Thomas J. Stickrath Gary C. Mohr

Dr. Simon Dinitz Award

Dr. Simon Dinitz, through his work at the Ohio State University, has dedicated his life to improving the knowledge base of corrections. He has served on state and national commissions whose purpose was to improve corrections. As an educator he has also been responsible for training many correctional practitioners in the state. This award is given to a community correctional practitioner who has made contributions to the improvement of community corrections in Ohio.

Awarded to: Cheryl Gerwig, Chief Probation Officer, Wayne County Court of Common Pleas

Nomination information: Like Dr. Dinitz, Cheryl Gerwig demonstrates a commitment to improving the knowledge base of corrections. Over the decades, Cheryl has represented the Probation field on numerous state committees and other state-wide initiatives whose purpose was to improve community corrections.  Most recently, Cheryl is participating in the Supreme Court of Ohio’s House Bill 1 Workgroup where she shares her vast and first-hand knowledge with fellow stakeholders.

Like Dr. Dinitz, who was an educator and was responsible for training many correctional practitioners in the state, Cheryl makes it a priority to ensure that new Officers and Chiefs receive the highest level and type of education and support possible. Cheryl was one of the first Chiefs to participate in the Ohio Chief Probation Officer’s New Chiefs Orientation and Mentoring process and she continues to spearhead this effort.  Cheryl has been an active member of the Ohio Chief Probation Officers Line Officer Training Committee for decades to help ensure that new Probation Officers receive the targeted and specialized training necessary to help them be successful in their profession.  Cheryl also played an active role in outreach to various counties throughout the state who were seeking information on the why and how, as they contemplated starting their own probation departments in response to supervision changes within the APA.  Cheryl goes out of her way to make new Probation Officers and Chiefs feel welcomed and supported and will selflessly devote her time and energy to assisting them, however, they need.

Cheryl is currently the Vice President of the Ohio Chief Probation Officers Association and also represents Common Pleas recidivism reduction programs on the OJACC Adult Collaborative.  As Chief Probation Officer of Wayne County, she and her team are often at the forefront of the development, implementation and success of many cutting edge programs around risk reeducation and public safety.  Cheryl has worked in community corrections for 28 years and the field is better for her unwavering passion, skill and knowledge.  She also serves on the Wayne County Community Corrections Board, Wayne County Reentry Coalition/Task Force, Stark Regional Community Corrections Center’s Facility Governing Board, and the Sex Offender Program Certification Board for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. In addition, she is an active member of the American Probation and Parole Association and the National Association of Probation Executives (NAPE).

Cheryl exemplifies this award that is given to a community correctional practitioner who has made contributions to the improvement of community corrections in Ohio

Previous Recipients:
Misty Cromwell  Veronica Perry, CPO  Jennifer Burnside  George Pownall, Ph.D.
Eugene Gallo Tony Ingram Anne Connell-Freund Ed Dimond
Wendy Niehaus Denise Robinson Donna Martin-Hamparian George Farmer
Gayle E. Benson Merel Pickenpaugh Mary Spottswood Dr. Edward J. Latessa
Linda Modry Gayle Dittmer Bud Hite James J. Lawrence
Mike Cantrell Gary Yates Brian Lovins William D. Kroman
Daniel Peterca Christopher T. Lowenkamp Melissa Litteral Juli A. Tice
Tracy Walcnciej

James Wichtman Award

Jim Wichtman was one of the founders of the Ohio Community Corrections Organization, now known as the Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections. Jim dedicated his career to the progressive development of community corrections with great passion and commitment. In 2006, the OJACC Board of Trustees voted to create an award in Jim’s name to honor an OJACC Board Member who has dedicated themselves to OJACC’s mission.

Awarded  to: Ro-Ellen Sinkewich, Senior Director, Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana

Nomination information: Ro-Ellen Sinkewich is passionate about the continuous improvement of community corrections and has given of herself tirelessly for the Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections (OJACC).

Beyond serving as Treasurer for OJACC, Ro Ellen is the first person to raise her hand and volunteer to benefit our association no matter what the need.  In the past year, even though a pandemic, Ro-Ellen has been quick to volunteer in person for our legislative day as well as being on hand for OJACC testimony.

Ro Ellen gives of herself tirelessly to ensure community corrections continues to improve and expand services for those in need of our services. She brings vast experience to the board as Senior Director Residential Reentry Program Advocacy, Business Development and Training for Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana and nearly 20 years in community corrections. She is also very active in a number of other organizations, such as the Affordable Housing Alliance, the International Community Corrections Association and the Ohio Community Corrections Association. This knowledge and experience adds tremendous value to the work of the OJACC Board of Trustees.

Ro Ellen embodies the intent of the Jim Wichtman Award.

Previous Recipients:

Terry Grabowski Anne Connell-Freund   Sharon Weitzenhof
Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton M. Phillip Nunes Scott Sylak
Honorable Kenneth Spicer Kristina Hawk Corey Schaal
Maria Nemec

F. Edward Sparks

Gayle Dittmer

Molly Gauntner

Keith Spaeth