Ohio’s leader through coronavirus crisis grew up in Mahoning Valley


Amy Acton, then Amy Stearns, graduated from Liberty High School

(WKBN) – Ohio barbershops and nail salons are closing under the newest order from the governor who also wants everyone to start taking their temperatures and stay home if they’re high.

The state’s Department of Health Director is Dr. Amy Acton, who grew up in the Mahoning Valley. She uses simple, common language to help us understand the coronavirus situation.

Acton grew up Amy Stearns.

There are reports that her parents met at a Youngstown State University theater party. They married but then divorced when Amy was three.  

She lived a nomadic life with her mother — she says she lived in 18 or so homes in her first 12 years. She spent one winter in a tent in a campground. Then, she moved in with her father and moved to Liberty.

Sometime in early high school, possibly even her freshman year, Amy Stearns enrolled at Liberty High School and graduated in 1984.  

WKBN talked with one of her close high school friends — Elaine Jacobs, who says Amy Stearns was a cheerleader, in the National Honor Society, and during her senior year, she was homecoming queen.  

After high school, she graduated from YSU and then graduated from the Northeast Ohio School of Medicine.  

Elaine Jacobs says the person we now know as Dr. Amy Acton has always been the personable person she appears to be on TV.

“She’s clearly a beautiful woman today; she was a beautiful woman back then, young girl, I should say. She was beautiful inside and out,” Jacobs said. “She did not get those type of accolades, if you will, just because of her beauty. She was just so genuine, and I think that’s why she’s become kind of, quote, the rock star she was referred to by somebody else because you can tell she’s very genuine.”

Dr. Acton was part of the first class in the Liberty Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.

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