Sophia Center is a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania and is a member of Sylvania Franciscan Ministries

Sophia Center Staff

Our team is comprised of experienced, licensed professionals and staff who want to serve for the betterment of our local communities.

Sister Rachel Nijakowski

Sister Rachel Nijakowski

Psychologist/Executive Director

Licensure
Psychologist, Ohio 4699
Degree/Certification/Experience
Ph.D. (Ball State University 1990), Masters of Education (Bowling Green State University 1982)
Philosophy
I believe that everyone has the ability and the right to become balanced in their mind, body, and spirit. It is my privilege to walk the journey with them as their life coach.
Leah Cavanaugh

Leah Cavanaugh

Clinical Therapist

Licensure
LISW-S
Degree/Certification/Experience
Master of Social Work (University of Michigan, 2000)
Philosophy
Leah Cavanaugh, MSW, LISW is a clinical social worker specializing in childhood and adolescent behavioral health issues. Trained primarily as a cognitive behavioral therapist, Leah utilizes a short-term, goal-focused approach for treatment with individuals, families, and groups. Her focus includes depression, anxiety, argumentative and oppositional behaviors, adjustment to divorce and remarriage, and young adult identity formation. Leah also works with clients on individuation and separation issues and healthy relationship development. Her past work experience involved school-based mental health services, crisis intervention and suicide prevention training.
Ildiko Crawford

Ildiko E. Crawford

Clinical Social Worker, LISW, ICDC

Licensure
LISW, ICDC (Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor)
Degree/Certification/Experience
Master’s in Clinical Social Work, Ohio State University (1989)
Philosophy
Individual, Marriage and Family Counseling- Depression, Anxiety, Self-esteem, Grief, Client Centered, strength based, Cognitive Behavior Brief Therapy
Caitlin Dudenhoefer

Caitlin Dudenhoefer

Licensed Professional Counselor

Licensure
L.P.C. – License #C1600344 Ohio
Degree/Certification/Experience
• Bachelors degree in Psychology (Franciscan University in Steubenville) • Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (Franciscan University in • Steubenville)
Philosophy
I believe we are all on a life-long journey that shapes us into who we are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. As a counselor, I feel honored to be invited along on this journey by my clients. I see my role as working with my clients as they seek to become the best version of themselves through exploring their gifts and talents, sharpening the ones they already have and adding a few more tools to their tool belt to assist them along the way. Throughout the journey I hope to be an advocate and support in the difficult times as well as an encourager when there are successes and goals are met. At the end of our time together, my hope is that my clients leave a better and more confident version of themselves as they journey forth.
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Linda Joan Dvorak

Specialist in Learning & Behavior Disorders, ADHD and Executive Function

Licensure
Ohio
Degree/Certification/Experience
• Bachelor of Education K-8 • Bachelor of Special Education K-12 • Specific Learning Disability, Severe Behavioral Disorder, Cognitive Delay
Philosophy
To help students of all ages reach their full potential.
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Polly Taylor-Gerken

School Psychologist

Licensure
Ohio Board of Psychology: Licensed School Psychologist, Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Degree/Certification/Experience
• B.S., M.Ed., Ed.S • 15 years K-12 Education • 9 years private practice
Philosophy
All barriers to success in educational endeavors – across the life span – can and should be responded to. Supporting social-emotional development, learning challenges and mental health problems that interfere with school and learning is among the most important work we do.
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Sister Sharon Pollnow, CSA, LISW-S

Licensed Independent Social Worker in Clinical Practice

Licensure
Independent Social Worker since 1998
Degree/Certification/Experience
• Masters in Social Work (University of Michigan) • Master of Arts in Education (University of Minnesota) • Certified Spiritual Director Experience: • Psychosocial assessments and counseling of individuals, couples and families • Cognitive Therapy for depression and/or anxiety • Grief and Trauma Therapy • Relationship Counseling
Philosophy
Persons seek meaning and desire peace and hope on life’s journey. It is my privilege to be part of that process at Sophia Center. Through a therapeutic relationship of listening, offering feedback, and providing strategies, clients discover their inner strength and goodness, and gain insight into improving their sense of self and quality of life.
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Sister Eileen Marie Ripsin, OSF

Counselor

Licensure
Licensed Professional Counselor
Degree/Certification/Experience
• Master of Arts in Education • Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling Sister Eileen has experience working with all ages on a variety of life issues including: anxiety, depression, addiction, grief and loss, and issues of self-worth.
Philosophy
Reverencing the resilience of the human spirit, S. Eileen provides a strengths-focused approach in therapy using a variety of modalities to help engender self-compassion, hope and a willingness to change while discovering deeper meaning and purpose in life.
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Bonnie Schrock

Psychometric Assistant

Licensure
Licensed Social Worker (LSW) in Ohio and Michigan
Degree/Certification/Experience
• Bachelors degree in Psychology from Lourdes University • Masters of Art in Counseling from Bowling Green State University (BGSU)
Philosophy
Every person deserves to succeed in life given the right tools.
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Rachel Shields

Clinical Social Worker

Licensure
LSW
Degree/Certification/Experience
Masters of Social Work (MSW)
Philosophy
Rachel helps clients to work toward their goals using a variety of evidence-based practices with a strengths-focused, person-centered, holistic foundation.
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Rev. Daniel J. Zak

Senior status Diocesan priest (ordained May 27, 1967)

Licensure
Masters in Counseling and Guidance
Degree/Certification/Experience
• Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy • Master of Arts in Theology • Masters in Education • Counseling & Guidance • Certified in use of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) • Certified in use of FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study) • Experience in directing people in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
Philosophy
“The glory of God is the human person fully alive”. Helping people use more of their potential physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
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Barbara M. Duffey

Controller

Licensure
CPA
Degree/Certification/Experience
Philosophy
Linda Fadden

Linda Ann Fadden

Administrative Assistant

Licensure
NA
Degree/Certification/Experience
• Have worked at Sophia Center, Inc. for 28 years (since 1990) • Taught early childhood and special education for 10 years.
Philosophy
Sister Brenda Hawley

Sister Brenda Hawley, OSF

Receptionist / Support Staff

Licensure
Masters of Education
Degree/Certification/Experience
7 years at Sophia Center, Inc. 42 years in Early Childhood Education
Philosophy
I am friendly and hospitable creating a welcoming environment for visitors as I support the Staff at Sophia.
Sandra Lentz

Sandra Lentz

Office Manager

Degree/Certification/Experience
Associate of Business Administration (ABA)
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Sister Ritamary Pyzick, OSF

Sophia Center, Inc. Support Staff

Licensure
Teaching Certificates in MN, MI and OH
Degree/Certification/Experience
• Sophia Center, Inc. 4 years • Pastoral Ministry 24 years • Teaching 28 years
Philosophy
I aim to be kind and courteous to all who call for help from Sophia Center. These are God’s children in need of our help. Jesus says “…what you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, that you do unto me.”
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ACADEMIC SUCCESS

“Our daughter struggled through her middle grades to keep up with her peers and her grades. Thanks to the great team of testers and especially the way results were explained to us by Dr. Nijakowski. She is now succeeding academically with a 504 plan and medication for her ADHD/Inattentive type.”

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