Associate Executive Director, Children's Initiatives and Program Development
The School Superintendents Association
Sharon Adams-Taylor joined The School Superintendents Association (AASA) in 1990 as Director of the Association's Options for Pre-Teens program and is now the Associate Executive Director of Children’s Initiatives and Program Development. Previously, Adams-Taylor was a senior program associate with the Children's Defense Fund, where she coordinated CDF's adolescent pregnancy prevention clearinghouse. She also provided state and local technical assistance around adolescent issues and developed and managed a national coalition of youth and education organizations focused on positive outcomes for young people. Adams-Taylor's extensive background in training and research includes leadership positions with the University of North Carolina's Child Health Outcomes Project and the Resource Access Project, where she coordinated training and technical assistance for 178 Head Start grantees in six states, and fellowships at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Adams-Taylor has published several journal articles, books and book chapters related to children's health and well-being.
Steve Adelsheim (he/him/his)
Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing
Steven Adelsheim is a Clinical Professor & Associate Chair for Community Engagement at Stanford’s Department of Psychiatry, directing the Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing. Steve’s work is focused on early detection/intervention programs for young people and he leads the effort to bring allcove to the US, an integrated youth mental health model, which opened in June 2021 in Santa Clara County, CA, November 2022 in LA County, with plans to open in 4 other California sites over the few years. Dr. Adelsheim also co-leads PEPPNET, the national clinical network for early psychosis programs. He continues to also actively work in school mental health, youth suicide prevention, tribal mental health, media & mental health, integrated care, and telehealth. Dr. Adelsheim is committed to developing the national public mental health early intervention continuum for young people, from school mental health to allcove community integrated youth mental health programs to early psychosis programs.
Ohio State University School of Social Work
Concordia University Saint Paul
Dr. Baas, director of Concordia’s Southeast Asian Teacher Licensure Program, is committed to building a community of lifelong intercultural learners. She joined the Concordia staff in 2002 as an adjunct faculty member in the Southeast Asian Teacher Licensure and Special Education Teacher Education Programs. Baas has devoted her teaching to preparing future educators for diversity in the classroom and developing teaching methods to best serve students of various ethnic backgrounds. For more than 40 years, Baas has been training students at all levels. She brings her expertise to general students and students with special needs and has served as a behavioral assessor, consultant, dean, principal, and also as a school psychologist. She has worked in the collegiate ranks for more than 15 years, passing on her passion and knowledge to future educators. Baas also serves as the Minnesota Teacher Performance Assessment Coordinator. She has numerous publications related to school psychology, reducing assessment bias and preparing children to learn.
President & Chief Operations Officer
The Jed Foundation
Rebecca Benghiat has dedicated her career to working in service of the mental health and well-being of children and young adults. Most recently, Rebecca served as the Chief Operating and Advancement Officer at The Quad Preparatory School, a nationally recognized K-12 independent school in New York City that integrates an academically rigorous curriculum with evidence-based social emotional learning, specifically designed to support gifted children with learning differences. Prior to Quad Prep, Rebecca served as Executive Director of Facing Addiction with NCADD, responsible for all executive management functions for this leading national opioid addiction advocacy organization. Previously, Rebecca supported the rapid scaling of citiesRISE, a multi-million-dollar international youth mental health organization, to ensure the organization’s strategic and operational success. Rebecca has also spearheaded the launch of several multi-million-dollar philanthropic organizations, including the Child Mind Institute, the Seleni Institute, and the New Space for Women’s Health. Rebecca is a graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, certified in alternative dispute resolution and she has mediated a wide variety of claims in New York County civil and small claims courts. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy, with a focus on organizational analysis, from The University of Chicago.
Seth Bernstein (he/him/his)
Executive Vice President for Community Investments
United Way of Palm Beach County
In his role at United Way of Palm Beach County, Dr. Bernstein helps determine how to invest donor dollars into vital community nonprofit organizations and spearheads several community behavioral health initiatives. Prior to working for United Way, he served as the Staff Psychologist and Director of Community Engagement at Boys Town South Florida, directing several evidence-based programs in communities and schools throughout Palm Beach County. Previously, he held positions at the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, at a residential adolescent substance abuse treatment program, and at an outpatient counseling agency. Dr. Bernstein works very closely with many agencies and initiatives throughout the community and nationally. In addition, Dr. Bernstein regularly presents at state, national, and international conferences on topics related to prevention and early intervention services and support systems for children and families. Dr. Bernstein has received numerous awards and recognitions for his extensive efforts to improve the lives of people throughout our community. He lives in Delray Beach with his wife of 30 years and their two sons.
Scott Bloom (he/him/his)
Director of Special Projects
New York Psychotherapy and Counseling Center
Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
Georgetown University School of Medicine
Jeff Bostic is a member of the child psychiatry faculty at Georgetown University Hospital, active in the intake clinic, DC MAP consultation program to primary care clinicians, and consultation to local DC schools. He remains affiliated with Harvard/Mass General Hospital, where he was the Director of School Psychiatry from 1997-2016. Dr. Bostic remains active on the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) Committees for Schools and for Continuing Medical Education, and an assistant editor of their Journal. He received his MD and doctorate in education at Texas Tech University, psychiatry training at Timberlawn/UT Southwestern-Dallas, and child psychiatry training at the Harvard MGH/McLean program. His clinical and research interests include school consultation and enhancing mental health, police training to improve child/adolescent interactions, and sports psychiatry.
Anne Bowles (she/her/hers)
Council of Chief State School Offiers (CCSSO)
Anne joined the Council of Chief State School Officers in October 2018 and serves as Program Director. Anne is responsible for providing overall direction and coordination for the Council’s strategy on high-quality instructional materials and aligned professional learning, student-centered learning and student wellbeing and connection.
Director, The IDEA Partnership
National Association of State Directors of Special Education
Joanne joined the NASDSE staff in 1998 to assume the leadership of the IDEA Partnership. Previously, Joanne served as Director of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program, Leadership for Full Participation at the George Washington University. Prior to that role, she served for 26 years as the Director of Special Education, Dropout Prevention, Alternative Education and a Building Principal in the Shikellamy School District, Sunbury PA. During her tenure at NASDSE, she led the IDEA Partnership, an affiliation of 50 national organizations united to promote cross-stakeholder collaboration and build ally relationships between state education agencies and professional and family networks. Most recently, Joanne also served on NASDSE’s staff to the National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) and was instrumental in organizing the NCSIs service team on communication and collaboration. Joanne has deep cross-agency experiences and continues to work on projects, advisories and contracts in adaptive leadership, school-based mental health, communities of practice, military connected students and cradle-to-college and career systems.
Lauren Cikara (she/her/hers)
Director, K-12 Initiatives
Caroline S. Clauss-Ehlers (she/ella)
Long Island University, Brooklyn
American School Counselor Association
Jill Cook has nearly 30 years of experience in K–12 education and school counseling, including 19 years of service at ASCA. She helped create the ASCA School Counselor of the Year Program and also created, developed and expanded the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP), which has honored more than 900 schools across the U.S. for exemplary school counseling programs. She has worked with the Department of Education and the First Lady’s office on the Reach Higher initiative on behalf of ASCA and assisted with the School Counselor of the Year recognition ceremony at the White House in 2015 and 2016. In addition, she has served on numerous boards and advisory committees. She received her bachelor’s degree in music education and master’s degree in school counseling from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) and has done postgraduate work at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Appalachian State University. She and her husband, Glenn, live in Lorton, VA and have raised four artistic young adults.
John Crocker (he/him/his)
Director of School Mental Health & Behavioral Services
Methuen Public Schools; Massachusetts School Mental Health Consortium
Gabby Doyle (she/her/hers)
MA, Public Policy
Advocacy Campaign Manager
The Trevor Project
Midwest PBIS Network
Lucille Eber brings her expertise to the Midwest Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team. She is the former Director of the Illinois Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities (1993-1999), which transitioned to the Illinois Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Network (1999-2014), facilitating PBIS implementation for over 1,800 Illinois schools. She regularly publishes articles and chapters on school-wide positive behavior supports, and interconnected systems for mental health in schools.
Victoria Eckert (she/her/hers)
Youth MOVE National
Steven Evans (he/him)
Claudette Fette (she/her/hers)
Clinical Professor / Board Chair
Texas Women's University / Federation of Families - Texas
Paula Fields (she/her/hers)
MSN, BSN, RN
Vice President of Consulting & Technical Assistance
National School-Based Health Alliance
PhD, School Psychology
Former Director, Home and Hospital/Health Services
Baltimore City Schools
Lois Flaherty (she/her/hers)
Lecturer on Psychiatry
Paul Flaspohler (he/him/his)
Founder & Executive Director
School Psych Sistahs
Kierra Fulmore is a recruiting professional for a mid-sized, financial technology company. She is native to South Carolina but currently resides in Virginia. Kierra earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Clemson University. She earned her Masters of Science and Specialist from Indiana University of Bloomington, Indiana. Kierra’s passion for the field of School Psychology comes from her lived experiences. She believes in the power of School Psychologists as change agents, however, knows that professionals face a myriad of challenges navigating school districts. These challenges often result in burnout and job dissatisfaction. Those feelings are amplified for practicing School Psychologists of color who not only face traditional challenges but barriers as a result of their own identities. Kierra’s desire is to see School Psychologists lead in school districts. She has founded School Psych Sistahs to offer women of color in the field support as they strive to be the change they want to see in school systems. As a business professional, Kierra brings expertise from talent development and recruiting to help create and streamline programs for the organization. She continues to work with School Psych Sistahs as a corporate partner.
National Federation of Families
Dr. Lynda Gargan leads the country’s largest national advocacy organization focused solely on supporting the families of children and young adults who experience mental health and/or substance challenges. Throughout her career, Dr. Gargan has worked across the nation providing technical assistance and training to ensure that all individuals are afforded the opportunity to live in the community of their choice. Under her guidance, the National Federation has fully operationalized the Parent Support Provider Certification, an innovative peer support workforce initiative that utilizes the lived experience and specialized training of parents to assist and empower families who are raising children and youth with mental health and/or substance use challenges. Believing that mental health and substance use challenges are often inextricable, Dr. Gargan spearheaded efforts to expand the focus of the organization to embrace these dual diagnoses. Utilizing both her personal and extensive professional experience to inform her work, Dr. Gargan seeks solutions to the challenges that families face as they attempt to navigate the complex systems that serve children, adults, and families.
Seth Gerson (he/him/his)
Program Director, K-12 Education
National Governor's Association
Julie Goldstein Grumet (she/her/hers)
Vice President, Suicide Prevention Strategy
Director, Zero Suicide Institute
Education Development Center
Paul Gorski (he/him/his)
Founder & Director
Equity Literacy Institute
Pat Hunt is the executive director of FREDLA, the national Family Run Executive Director Leadership Association, a non-profit union of leaders of grassroots family-run organizations across the nation. Along with her lived experience as a parent, Pat brings over 25 years of experiences as an advocate for children with behavioral health needs and their caregivers. During this time, she had extensive experience overseeing both federal and state grants and served as the founding director of a family-run organization. Pat’s experience includes over 10 years in a corporate leadership role at Magellan HealthCare to advance best practices for children, youth and their families and to ensure that their experiences informed policies, practices and program development. She previously held a senior leadership position as a conduit for local grassroots experience to inform national policy decisions at the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. She has served as a VISTA Volunteer; directed a federally funded rural substance abuse prevention project; managed a statewide family-run organization, served as president of the Maine’s mental health planning council and was the only non-state employee member invited to the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet.
American Council for School Social Work
Stephen P. Hydon is a Clinical Professor at the University of Southern California, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. He also chairs the School Social Work Program, one of the largest in the country, with over 200 students each year earning credentials to practice school social work in public school settings. Dr. Hydon’s interests lie in social work practice in schools, child welfare, and secondary traumatic stress. He has trained nationwide on secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, educator resilience and the Psychological First Aid - Listen, Protect, Connect, Model, and Teach curriculum for school personnel. He is a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the Trauma and Services Adaptation Center for Resiliency, Hope and Wellness in Schools. Recently, Dr. Hydon was funded to co-lead a team of experts in the fields of education and secondary trauma to create a one-of-a-kind online learning platform for educators experiencing secondary traumatic stress entitled Support for Teachers Affected by Trauma (STAT): www.statprogram.org. He is married to his wife Maria, who is also a professor at USC. In his spare time, Dr. Hydon loves to cook, watch sports, and spend time with their three children.
Kayla Jackson (she/her/hers)
The School Superintendents Association (AASA)
Mona Johnson (she/her/hers)
Executive Director, Olympic Educational Service District 114
PhD, NCSP, LP
Professor & Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
University of Washington
Janine M. Jones is a Professor of School Psychology and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Education at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on providing culturally responsive interventions in schools, including the integration of cultural factors that are associated with resilience in racially diverse youth. Her work also includes the study of identity and belonging as critical elements in school engagement for youth of color. Dr. Jones is an author and the editor of The Psychology of Multiculturalism in the Schools: A primer for practice, training, and research. She is a licensed psychologist and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist.
MD, FAAP, DFAACAP
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Stanford University
Director of School Mental Health; Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
Professor Joshi’s scholarly work focuses on school mental health, suicide prevention in school settings, cultural aspects of pediatric health, doctor-parent-teacher collaboration in medical care, and well-being promotion in youth and young adults. He is the lead author of the K12 Toolkit for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention used by the California Department of Education, and co-editor of the recent book Partnerships for Mental Health: A Guide to Community and Academic Collaboration [Philadelphia, Springer (2015)].He has been the recipient of numerous awards in teaching and public service, most recently The Polymath Award (2021), given for excellence across multiple mission areas of the Stanford University Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.
Donna Mazyck (she/her/hers)
National Association of School Nurses
Professor of Counseling Psychology
John F. Kennedy University
Matthew R. Mock has led dynamic courses, workshops, and presentations on the relevance of social justice, community mental health, cultural competence, ethnicity, and multiculturalism in psychotherapy locally, throughout California, nationally and internationally. He is currently a Professor of Psychology with John F. Kennedy University. Prior to this, he was the Director and Ethnic Services/Multicultural Services Coordinator for the Family, Youth and Children’s Services of Berkeley Mental Health for over 20 years. For several years he worked throughout the State of California as the Director of the Center for Multicultural Development with the California Institute for Mental Health addressing disparities throughout 58 counties. He also has a private clinical and consulting practice in Berkeley providing clinical services to children, couples, adults and families, and consultation to programs and organizations. Dr. Mock is third generation Asian-American and has been committed to community mental health concerns, competent and responsive services to culturally diverse communities and social justice policies and practices, throughout his career. He has received numerous awards from professional organizations, guilds, and programs. He is an invited speaker nationwide and internationally and the author of numerous book chapters and articles.
Libby K. Nealis (she/her/hers)
Special Education & Child Health Policy Analyst
Rebecca K. Oliver (she/her/hers)
School Social Work Association of America
Professor of Psychology; Co-director, Center for Intervention Research in Schools
Dr. Julie Sarno Owens’ research focuses on the development of classroom interventions for youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related problems; the assessment of effectiveness and feasibility of classroom interventions under typical school conditions; and the identification of factors that facilitate teachers’ high-quality implementation of these interventions (including the use of technology). Her work has been continuously funded by local, state, and national grants, including the Institute of Education Sciences and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is an Associate Editor for School Mental Health and on the editorial boards of five journals. She is a licensed clinical psychologist in Ohio and a Presidential Research Scholar at Ohio University. Dr. Owens mentors graduate students in the clinical child psychology specialty area, and mentors undergraduates students interested in a variety of child-focused specialty areas (e.g., school psychology, school social work, school counseling).
MS, LPC, LMFT, RPT
Non-Profit Consulting and Professional Training
President & CEO
The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials
April Rai works to build upon the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO)’s 50-year history of ensuring equitable opportunities and maximum participation for minority individuals, veterans, people with disabilities and minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBEs). With over 15 years of experience managing private, public sector and non-profit organizations, April’s career focus has centered on strategic partnership development, coalition building, people and project management. Previously, April served as the CEO for the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), a coalition of over 100 organizations and agencies dedicated to youth health and safety education. In this role, April engaged with transportation stakeholders on road safety programs, injury prevention education and workforce development initiatives. April previously served as Manager & Affairs Analyst in the Office of the Dean at the University of Maryland, School of Nursing, directing government affairs and communications. In this role, April was responsible for managing the State of Maryland, Action Coalition, an initiative of AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. April resides in the Washington, DC metro area with her husband, and is based out of COMTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA.
Frank Rider (he/him/his)
Senior Human Services Financing Specialist
American Institutes for Research
Aaron Ridings (he/they)
Chief of Staff; Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy and Research
Caitlin Ryan (she/her/hers)
Director, Family Acceptance Project
Caitlin Ryan, PhD, ACSW is a clinical social worker, educator and researcher who has worked on LGBTQ health and mental health for more than 40 years, including in schools, and whose work has shaped policy and practice for LGBTQ and gender diverse children and youth. She is the Director of the Family Acceptance Project (FAP) at San Francisco State University – a research, education and intervention project – that helps ethnically, racially and religiously diverse families to support their LGBTQ children. Dr. Ryan and her team conducted the first research on LGBTQ youth and families and developed the first evidence-based family support model that helps diverse families and caregivers to prevent family rejection and health risks and to increase family acceptance to promote well-being for LGBTQ children and youth. This includes multilingual family guidance resources including FAP’s Healthy Futures posters and Best Practice resources for suicide prevention with LGBTQ youth. Dr. Ryan trains on FAP’s family support work across the U.S. and in other countries.
Director of Advocacy, Policy, & Partnerships
A native of Augusta, GA and long-time Massachusetts resident, Diego was most recently Senior Policy Advisor to Congressman Barney Frank until the Representative’s retirement in 2013. Diego made history with that appointment, being the first openly transgender person to work as a senior legislative staff member on Capitol Hill. He also testified before Congress in the historic Transgender Discrimination Hearing in 2008 and that year was named as the first openly trans person ever appointed to the DNC Platform Committee. Prior to his four years in DC, Diego spent five years as Director of Public Relations and External Affairs at the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, and AIDS Action Council, DC. Before to moving into the nonprofit sector, Diego worked for 20 award-winning years in global public relations, marketing, and diversity management at world headquarters of Fortune 500 companies including The Coca-Cola Company, Holiday Inn Worldwide, ITT Sheraton, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and began his career in 1980 at Burson-Marsteller/NY, then the world’s largest public relations firm. Diego was among The 100 Most Powerful Latino/s in Corporate America named by Hispanic Business Magazine, named an LGBT Latino Hero by the Mayor of Washington, DC, in the 100 most powerful Latino/s (Poderometro) in Massachusetts by El Planeta and in 2013, named to the Out 100 and in the Inaugural Trans 100, sponsored by GLAAD. Accredited in Public Relations, Diego earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a major in Public Relations from the University of Georgia, where today he serves on the Journalism College’s Alumni Advisory Board and is a member of G-Club, the University’s Letterman Club as the only male who earned his letter on the women’s tennis team. Diego is a Senior Fellow of UMass Boston’s Emerging Leaders Program in the College of Management.
Mark Sander (he/him/his)
Direction of School Mental Health
Hennepin County/Minneapolis Public Schools
Joel Solomon (he/him/his)
Senior Program Manager
National Education Association
Manager, Program & Strategic Initiatives
National Parent Teacher Association
Director of Pupil Services
Lincoln-Woodstock Cooperative School District, New Hampshire
Mary Steady is responsible for special education in the NH Lincoln-Woodstock Cooperative School District, maintaining and monitoring the records of students receiving services. Ms. Steady supervises special education staff at all grade levels, including those for the preschool and the deaf and hard of hearing programs. Previously, Ms. Steady spent ten years at the New Hampshire Department of Education, where she most recently served as an administrator working in the Bureau of Special Education and overseeing the Office of Student Wellness. Her responsibilities included coordinating services for children with disabilities and addressing mental health needs in schools. Among other previous career positions, Ms. Steady was a residential director at Spaulding Youth Center, a special education teacher and behavior specialist in the Winnisquam Regional School District, and a service coordinator at Community Bridges, a non-profit agency serving individuals with disabilities.
Bradley Stein (he/him/his)
PhD, MD, MPH
Director, Opioid Policies, Tools, and Information Center; Senior Physician Policy Researcher
Bradley Stein is director of the NIH funded RAND Opioid Policy Center and a senior physician policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. A health services and policy researcher and practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Stein's research focuses on better understanding and improving care for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders in community settings. Dr. Stein has worked extensively in recent years examining the effects of state policies and community characteristics on outcomes related to the opioid crisis, including treatment, prevention, and harm reduction. He has also worked in the area of school mental health, developing, evaluating, implementing, and disseminating a school-based intervention for students exposed to trauma and violence as well as a school-based suicide intervention program’s implementation. In addition, he has examined the mental health and substance abuse care of a broad range of Medicaid enrollees, including individuals with depression, children with ADHD, children with autism, children receiving psychotropic medications, and individuals with opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders. Dr. Stein previously served as the senior director of Research, Evaluation, and Outcomes at Community Care Behavioral Health, a large nonprofit managed behavioral health organization. He is a previous standing member of the NIMH Services Study Section and served on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychiatric Services. Dr. Stein received his M.D. and M.P.H. from the University of Pittsburgh and his Ph.D. from Pardee RAND Graduate School.
PCORI Research Project
University of South Carolina / University of Maryland Baltimore
Jennifer Ulie-Wells (she/her/hers)
Executive Director, Please Pass the Love
Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach
Director of Policy and Advocacy
National Association of School Psychologists
Dr. Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach consults with, advises, and collaborates with members of Congress, the Department of Education, and other key federal partners and national organizations to advance the availability of comprehensive school psychological services, promote safe schools, promote comprehensive school mental and behavioral health services, address the shortages in school psychology, and other education related issues. Dr. Strobach has developed, authored, and coauthored numerous articles and resources, including NASP’s Framework for Safe and Successful Schools and has presented nationally on issues related to school safety, school mental health, effective discipline policies, and the relationship between education policy and school practices.
School Mental Health Community of Practice Facilitator
American Occupational Therapy Association
Jane A. Walker is a licensed social worker and the mother of five children. Ms. Walker’s second oldest daughter, Cathy, developed mental health needs as a young child and was sent out of state to residential care at age 12 because, at the time, services were not available in Maryland. As a result of that experience, Ms. Walker has devoted her life to improving services for children with mental health needs and their families. She was a founding member of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health in 1989 and served as President of the Federation Board of Directors for two years. In 1999, she founded the Maryland Coalition of Families for Children’s Mental Health and served as Executive Director for 14 years. Ms. Walker served as the first Executive Director of FREDLA from January of 2014 through December of 2018. Ms. Walker is the recipient of numerous awards for her advocacy and leadership in children’s mental health.
Director, Clinical-Community Psychology Doctoral Program
University of South Carolina
Marleen Wong (she/her/hers)
PhD, Clinical Social Work
Center for Safe and Resilient Schools and Workplaces