Education

Inspiring Minds Youngstown Director Arrested, Replaced

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Timothy Frost, the executive director of Inspiring Minds Youngstown, has been placed on indefinite leave without pay following his arrest Sunday on one count of aggravated trafficking in drugs.

Inspiring Minds Youngstown was launched last year, an offshoot of the Warren-based Inspiring Minds founded 10 years ago by former professional football player Deryck Toles, who is its CEO.

In a statement released Tuesday, Toles announced that Lindsay Benton, a founding board member of Inspiring Minds Youngstown and founder of Lindsay Renea Dance Theatre, was named interim executive director of the organization.

Benton, a Youngstown native who holds a bachelor’s degree from Howard University, was appointed to lead Inspiring Minds Youngstown after Toles and other officials were notified that Frost was arrested.

According to the police report, Frost was driving a Cadillac Escalade on Evergreen Avenue around 1 a.m. Sunday that matched a description of a car from where shots were fired. A chase ensued and Frost’s car crashed on Indianola Avenue.

“I’m shocked and saddened by this, but the important thing is that we’re showing our children that we have a zero tolerance for drugs,” said Toles in a statement. “Our program is too important and is making a huge difference in the lives of the children we are serving. We will not become sidetracked and we will continue serving the children who need us.”

Toles noted that Inspiring Minds has “a strict no tolerance policy when it comes to drugs.” All Inspiring Minds employees are subject to the organization’s drug and background check policy. Frost has no prior history of issues with this policy, he added.

Frost, a native of Youngstown, left his post as the vice president of operations at a children’s academy in Florida to launch the Youngstown program. Interviewed last June when the Youngstown program was announced, Frost said Toles inspired him to introduce kids who were incarcerated in Florida to visual arts, music, and poetry.

“The key is not to just inspire the child, but to be inspired and inspire someone else,” he said. “It’s a chain reaction.”

Benton is a veteran community collaborator and Inspiring Minds supporter and an adjunct faculty member at Youngstown State University. A graduate of Ursuline High School and Howard University, she is working on her master’s degree in Fine Arts at Jacksonville University. She was a recipient of the 25 under 35 Award for 2016 by the Mahoning Valley Young Professionals and has gained national acclaim for her work as a dancer.

“Lindsay Benton is no stranger to the work that has been happening there,” Toles said. “And she brings with her a true understanding of the students we are serving and the mission that we have. We feel incredibly honored to have someone of her strength and caliber waiting in the wings to take over. Our children will be well served.”

Editor’s Note: Deryck Toles and his Inspiring Minds program are featured in The Business Journal’s  four-part Thought Leaders video series.

Pictured: Timothy Frost.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.