Julie (Starr)Schwartz was born and raised in Toronto, Ohio. Growing up she was almost always outside and developed a deep love of nature, animals, archery, hiking, and water sports. After graduating as Salutatorian from Toronto High School in 1999, she attended the University of Toledo where she received degrees in both Education and Biology. Here she met her husband Brad Schwartz, who was in Pharmacy school. They made Mansfield their home in 2004, have now been married almost 15 years and have two children; a son Payne (age 11) and a daughter Blake (age 7) who both attend Discovery School. As a family they enjoy many outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and gardening.
Julie began her career as a Biology teacher at Ashland High School in 2004. She went on to receive her Masters’ degree in Educational Leadership from The Ohio State University in 2010 and quickly became the Assistant Principal of Ashland High School where she’d remain until 2016.
Feeling pulled to spend more time with family and more time outdoors, and with a growing sense of urgency to connect young people to nature, Julie left the traditional walled classroom to serve as an Outdoor Educator/Interpretive Naturalist and Youth Program Coordinator for the Ohio Bird Sanctuary in Mansfield. While at OBS, Julie learned not only how to handle birds of prey, but the ins and outs of running a non-profit. She graduated from the Osborne-Meese Academy though the Richland County Foundation in 2017, and made many more community connections throughout the Mansfield area. She’s been a presenter during Mohican Wildlife Weekend about the importance and benefits of connecting children to nature.
In 2018, the Board of Discovery School, under the direction of Margaret Black, welcomed Julie as the Head of School of the “little school in the woods” and she’s just completed her first year there (the school’s 43rd year.) This position perfectly merged her love of children, love of the outdoors, and strong leadership abilities. During this school year, she secured grants to revamp the playground & create a beautiful outdoor classroom space, as well as started and taught the school’s first Archery program. She believes whole-heartedly in the inquiry-based approach to learning at Discovery, the area’s only International Baccalaureate School. This summer you’ll find her teaching Outdoor Survival Camps at Discovery School and climbing Maine’s Mt. Katahdin with her family.