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Jaelyn Farris, Ph.D.

Founder & Director

Dr. Farris is a developmental psychologist and former clinical mental health counselor who grew up just across the state line in New Castle, Pennsylvania. After graduating from New Castle High School, she earned her bachelor's degree at Allegheny College in 1998, her master's degree in community counseling from Youngstown State University in 2000, and her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Notre Dame in 2007. Prior to founding Flying Trees Academy, Dr. Farris was a full-time college professor at YSU who was regularly teaching classes in child development and the psychology of education. Her research and scholarly activities for nearly two decades had focused on promoting healthy child development and preventing youth problems, often through supporting parents by teaching them science-backed approaches to child development and parenting, but her focus shifted when her own daughter entered preschool. At that time, Dr. Farris shifted her scholarship to an approach in which whole-child healthy development could be promoted through parent-school partnerships. She spent the next couple years developing plans for a new educational model which blossomed into The Farris Method. She put this new method to the test by launching Flying Trees Academy in the 2021-2022 school year. Dr. Farris is thrilled to offer the greater Mahoning Valley an innovative and transformational approach to education which is uniquely grounded in the science of child development – an approach that cannot be found at any other school and which is groundbreaking in its fusion of evidence-based approaches from the fields of psychology and education.

Dr. Farris is frequently asked why she chose the name “Flying Trees Academy.” Flying Trees are a metaphor for growing, developing, living things that have roots and wings. There is an old saying which suggests that there are two lasting bequests we can give our children: one is roots so they know where they came from and the other is wings to show them what they can become when they’re ready to fly. Dr. Farris finds so much joy in supporting our students develop their roots and wings so they can become flying trees.

Our Team: Team
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