Skip to main content

Our Team

Co-Directors

Sharon Hoover (she/her/hers)

PhD, Clinical Psychology
Co-Director & Professor of Psychiatry
shoover@som.umaryland.edu

Sharon A. Hoover, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Co-Director of the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH). She currently leads NCSMH efforts to support states, districts and schools in the adoption of national quality performance standards of comprehensive school mental health systems (www.theSHAPEsystem.com). Dr. Hoover also serves as Director of the NCTSN Center for Safe Supportive Schools (CS3), focused on building trauma-responsive, comprehensive school mental health systems that attend to social determinants and injustices and engage and support marginalized populations, including youth of color and newcomer (refugee and immigrant) youth. Dr. Hoover has led and collaborated on multiple federal and state grants, with a commitment to the study and implementation of quality children’s mental health services. Creating safe, supportive and trauma-responsive schools has been a major emphasis of Dr. Hoover’s research, education and clinical work. She has trained school and community behavioral health staff and educators in districts across the United States, as well as internationally, including consultation on building safe and supportive school mental health systems in Canada, China, Northern Ireland, South Korea, Ukraine, and New Zealand. As an advisor to the World Health Organization, Dr. Hoover has provided consultation and technical assistance on comprehensive school mental health in several countries, including developing and implementing a student mental health curriculum for teachers throughout the Middle East and developing and evaluating a school-based intervention to support immigrant and refugee youth in Canada and the United States. 

Photo of Nancy Lever

Nancy Lever (she/her/hers)

PhD, Clinical Psychology
Co-Director & Associate Professor of Psychiatry
nlever@som.umaryland.edu

Nancy Lever is a licensed clinical psychologist and Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Co-Director of the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH, www.schoolmentalhealth.org). As Co-Director of the NCSMH and Executive Director of the University of Maryland School Mental Health Program, Dr. Lever has worked to advance innovative training and technical assistance efforts that aim to improve school mental health services and supports. For over 20 years she has led the advancement of interdisciplinary school behavioral health training for advanced graduate psychology, psychiatry, and social work students, as well as for the current education, health, and behavioral health workforce. She has helped to advance a school mental health multi-tiered framework that is based on school-family-community partnerships, and culturally responsive, high-quality behavioral health services. Dr. Lever serves as a leader for the National Quality Initiative on School Based Health Services (funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration) supporting states, districts, and schools in advancing school mental health policy and adopting national school mental health quality performance standards (www.theSHAPEsystem.com). She co-led the development of the National School Mental Health Best Practices: Implementation Guidance Modules for States, Districts and Schools and Classroom WISE, an online mental health literacy training curriculum for educators. She has had leadership roles on numerous federal and state research projects related to school mental health quality and sustainability and has represented the school mental health voice on national, state, and local committees.


Team

Maria Alvarez headshot

Maria Alvarez

MSW, LCSW-C
School Mental Health Senior Counselor
pg_maria.alvarez@pgcps.org

Maria Alvarez is a Licensed Certified Social Worker- Clinical who joined the Prince George’s School Mental Health Initiative in 2018, as a Senior Counselor. Maria received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland. Maria has clinical expertise working with children, adolescents, and families in a variety of settings including an outpatient-mental health clinic, treatment foster care program, domestic violence agency, and community hospital. Maria seeks to create a supportive environment for students and works collaboratively with school staff.

Sarah Barber headshot

Sarah Barber (she/her/hers)

MPH
Research Project Coordinator
sbarber@som.umaryland.edu

Sarah Barber is a recent graduate from Florida State University where she earned her Master in Public Health degree as well as her B.S. in Family and Child Sciences with a minor in Sociology. She has previously worked for the Florida Department of Health as a Rural Health Analyst where her primary duties were to research and analyze disparities amongst rural populations in the state of Florida. Sarah's interest in mental health stemmed from studies and research about childhood trauma and the impacts this has on the psychological, emotional, and physical development of individuals. She is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion and working with children and families. She is excited to continue to increase her knowledge about mental health as a public health issue and work as the Project Coordinator for the NCS3 team and Research Coordinator for the School Mental Health Response Program to best create and implement trauma response initiative in K-12 schools.

Tiffany Beason

Tiffany Beason (she/her/hers)

PhD, Clinical-Community Psychology
Core Faculty & Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
tbeason@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Beason is a licensed clinical and community psychologist and Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and faculty at the National Center for School Mental Health. Dr. Beason’s research interests relate to academic achievement, positive racial/ethnic identity, adaptive social andcoping skills, and sense of community among youth and young adults. Dr. Beason has served as a school mental health clinician in the Baltimore City Public School System for several years, where she provided supports that promote positive mental health for all as well as early intervention and treatment services for youth experiencing significant mental health difficulties. Dr. Beason serves as the director of Cultural Responsiveness, Anti-Racism and Equity within the National Center for Safe Supportive School. Dr. Beason is also a co-developer of a national curriculum for educators to promote culturally responsive and equitable mental health support in classrooms.

Alyssa Beda headshot

Alyssa Beda (she/her/hers)

DO
Psychiatry Fellow
abeda@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Alyssa Beda (she/her) earned her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed her Adult Psychiatric residency at the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, and is now in her second year of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at the University of Maryland, Sheppard-Enoch Pratt Hospital in Baltimore. She is a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) member with plans to begin work at a Federally Qualified Health Center in the D.C., Maryland, Virginia (DMV) region upon completion of her CAP fellowship. She is excited to work with the NCSMH this school year!

Photo of Yourdanos Bekele

Yourdanos Bekele

BA, Psychology, Biology
Senior Clinical Research Assistant
ybekele@som.umaryland.edu

Yourdanos primarily assists on the Evaluating Promising School Staff and Resource-Officer Approaches for Reducing Harsh Discipline, Suspensions, and Arrests project. The project, implemented in Cecil County Public Schools, involves a multi-tiered approach to comprehensively reducing unnecessary student suspensions and arrests and increasing the effectiveness of School Resource Officers.

Eliya Bernstein headshot

Eliya Bernstein

MSW, LMSW
School Mental Health Counselor
ebernstein@som.umaryland.edu

Eli received his MSW from the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work. He is a School Mental Health Counselor for the University of Maryland, School Mental Health Program (SMHP), where he was an intern. Eli provides mental health services to children enrolled in Baltimore City Schools and has been trained in Botvin LifeSkills. He is excited to continue working with SMHP and the Baltimore city youth.

Photo of Larraine Bernstein

Larraine Bernstein (she/her/hers)

MS, Community Health Education, Health Administration
Policy Analyst
lbernste@som.umaryland.edu

Ms. Bernstein is a Policy Analyst and has worked more than 30 years coordinating efforts across agencies at the local and state levels to improve child, adolescent and young adult health. She has extensive experience managing and implementing grant programs focused on prevention, early intervention, and access to care, and policy development and efforts to improve the lives of youth and young adults in Maryland. Ms. Bernstein is currently responsible for managing outreach, education and training programs focused on the behavioral health needs of youth and young adults and the professionals who support and/or treat them.

Kim Beverly headshot

Kim Beverly

MS, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, LCPC
School Mental Health Counselor
New Song Academy
kbeverly@som.umaryland.edu

Kim was born and raised in Southern California before moving to the DMV in the summer of 1999. Prior to earning a MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Walden University, she worked as a preschool teacher, a Disabilities and Mental health Coordinator, and as an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant in Baltimore City. Currently, she is a School Mental Health Counselor at the University of Maryland, School Mental Health Program (SMHP) where she provides a multi-tiered level of supports for students, staff, and families at New Song Academy and Carver Vocational-Technical High School. Kim utilizes an eclectic approach within her therapy including CBT, Play therapy, EMDR, Brainspotting and more. Kim’s interests include supporting children and adults diagnosed with ADHD and working with clients who are impacted by anxiety.

Deidra Bibbs headshot

Deidra Bibbs

Pre-doctoral Intern
DBibbs@som.umaryland.edu

Deidra Bibbs is a doctoral candidate in School Psychology at Ball State University. Deidra has clinical and research training in school, community, and juvenile justice settings where she conducted Special Education and psychodiagnostic assessments, individual and group therapy, and classroom and systems-level consultation. She is passionate about providing holistic and inclusive mental health services to at-risk youth from marginalized communities, in addition to conducting culturally-relevant research to inform institutions that serve those who are most at risk for mental health issues and underutilization of mental health services. Deidra’s dissertation examines the intersection of race and gender, and disproportionate discipline practices, and how school policies and procedures (i.e., student handbooks and codes of conduct) perpetuate disproportionality and reinforce the school to prison pipeline.

Photo of Jill Bohnenkamp

Jill Haak Bohnenkamp

PhD, Clinical and School Psychology
Core Faculty & Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
jbohnenk@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Bohnenkamp has extensive experience in school mental health research, policy and clinical practice at the local, state and national levels. She works with individual school personnel, district, state and national leaders to advance high quality school mental health. Dr. Bohnenkamp builds on multiple years of direct clinical experience as a school mental health clinician in urban, suburban and rural school districts to inform her research and policy work. Her research focuses on behavioral, academic and school safety outcomes of school mental health service provision, mental health training for educators and pediatric primary care providers and ways to increase access to evidence-based mental health services for youth and families.

Image of Catie Carpenter

Catie Carpenter (she/her/hers)

BA, Psychology
Clinical Research Assistant
catherine.carpenter@som.umaryland.edu

Catie recently graduated from Loyola University Maryland where she studied Psychology and English and worked with the non-profit Active Minds to promote mental health for college students. At the NCSMH, Catie works on the KP RISE and American Academy of Pediatrics projects. She hopes to strengthen her research skills and clinical child and adolescent psychology and plans to continue her education in clinical psychology with a focus on improving care for adolescents and destigmatizing mental illness.

A placeholder photo until a headshot is acquired.

Jamee Carroll

Postdoctoral Fellow
JCarroll@som.umaryland.edu

Taneisha Carter headshot

Taneisha Carter

MS, Applied Psychology
Clinical Research Sepcialist
tacarter@som.umaryland.edu

In her current position, Taneisha aids on various projects related to the advancement of the quality and sustainability of school mental health services. Primarily, she works on Maryland Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education (MD-AWARE) which aims to increase awareness of mental health issues in school-age youth and improve current mental health referral systems in schools and communities. Additionally, Taneisha helps with Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network, School-Based Health Services National Quality Initiative (CoIIN-SBHS-NQI) that works to establish and facilitate Collaborative Improvement & Innovation Networks (CoIINs) to support School-Based Health Centers, School Mental Health Programs, districts, and states to adopt and implement best practices, policies, and financing strategies that support and expand the numbers of quality, sustainable school health programs.

Spencer Choy headshot

Spencer Choy

MA, Psychology
Pre-doctoral Intern
SChoy@som.umaryland.edu

Spencer Choy is a clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is completing his pre-doctoral internship training here at the National Center for School Mental Health. His clinical and research interests broadly focus on disseminating and implementing evidence-based services with youth populations in public sectors of care. He particularly examines parental engagement in evidence-based care, including factors that contribute to parental intentions to utilize such supports.

Photo of Elizabeth Connors

Elizabeth Connors

PhD, Clinical Child and Community Psychology
Core Faculty
elizabeth.connors@yale.edu

Dr. Connors' work as a Clinical/Community Psychologist is driven by the central principle of improving access to high-quality mental health care for underserved children, adolescents, young adults and their families in critical access points such as schools and primary care settings. Her research focuses on the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices (namely, measurement-based care) in these settings where children’s mental health concerns are most likely to be identified and addressed. In addition to conducting community-partnered research, she also provides training, technical assistance, systematic quality improvement and evaluation supports to school-based clinicians, mental health agencies, school districts and behavioral health systems at local, state and national levels. She serves as the Improvement Advisor for the School Mental Health Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network.

Tovah Cowan headshot

Tovah Cowan (she/her/hers)

MA, Clinical Psychology
Pre-doctoral Intern
TCowan@som.umaryland.edu

Tovah is a clinical psychology PhD candidate at Louisiana State University, currently completing her pre-doctoral internship with a specific focus on early detection, assessment, and intervention for youth and young adults with experiences of psychosis. Her research thus far has focused on novel methods which explore experiences and symptoms in the context of an individuals’ day to day life, like digital phenotyping and ambulatory assessment. These new assessment methods may improve the options for assessment and intervention. She has a specific focus on ensuring that these novel technologies are used equitably and that biases are identified and addressed. Undergirding both this program of research and her clinical work is a commitment to improving the mental healthcare options available to all individuals with psychosis.

Photo of Jennifer Cox

Jennifer Cox (she/her/hers)

MSW, LCSW-C
Director, School Mental Health Program
jfcox@som.umaryland.edu

Jennifer Cox is the Program Director and a senior Lead Clinician for the University of Maryland, School Mental Health Program (SMHP), a program whose mission is to enhance the learning environment of Baltimore City Public schools by removing the barriers to learning and actively promoting the social-emotional-behavioral well-being of students.  Mrs. Cox has over a decade of experience providing clinical services, resources, and consultation across a multi-tiered system of supports.  She provides administrative and clinical oversight to 25 SMHP schools and has worked to expand the SMHP tele mental health program to increase psychiatry services and access in schools. Mrs. Cox has a Certificate in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, is a board approved supervisor for social workers and is a state-wide trainer for Botvin’s LifeSkills.   Her work in schools, specifically with evidence-based practices and parental involvement in school, has been published and recognized by the field. She was the recipient of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Field Instructor of the Year Award and presents at local, state, and national levels.  Most importantly, she is the wife to a fantastic husband and mother to two amazing boys.

Photo of Dana Cunningham

Dana Cunningham (she/her/hers)

PhD, Clinical Psychology
Faculty Consultant, Adjunct Assist Professor of Psychiatry, & Director of the Prince George's School Mental Health Initiative
dcunning@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Cunningham has been the Director of the Prince George's School Mental Health Initiative (PGSMHI) since 2006. The PGSMHI is designed to provide intensive school-based counseling and support services to students in special education in Prince George’s County Public Schools. Dr. Cunningham has extensive experience providing direct clinical service in urban school districts and often provides training, technical assistance, and consultation to local and State-level education and mental health agencies. Dr. Cunningham’s clinical and research interests include trauma, resilience, children of incarcerated parents, and empirically supported treatment for ethnic minority youth.

Victoria Daley headshot

Victoria Daley

MSW, LMSW
School Mental Health Counselor
Morrell Park Elementary/Middle School
vdaley@som.umaryland.edu

Victoria Daley, LMSW, graduated with her master’s degree from University of Maryland School of Social Work. During her time as a graduate student, she was able to gain experience in public and non-public school settings. Victoria is currently working in Baltimore City Schools as a school-based mental health counselor, where she uses a strength-based perspective to meet the needs of students and their families. Victoria is passionate about making mental health services more accessible and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.

Photo of Ellie Davis

Ellie Davis

MSW, LCSW-C
Business and Operations Manager
edavis@som.umaryland.edu

Ellie Davis has worked in the field of school mental health for more than 20 years, first as a clinician in Baltimore City Schools followed by Associate Director of the School Mental Health clinical program and currently as the Business and Operations Manager for the National Center for School Mental Health.  In her current role, Ms. Davis oversees all budgetary and fiscal aspects of the Center including proposal preparation and post award administration.  Ms. Davis manages faculty and staff effort on a complex portfolio of contracts, grants and service agreements.

Headshot of Ebonee Dixon

Ebonee Dixon

MSW, LMSW
School Mental Health Counselor
Rosemont Elementary/Middle School, North Bend Elementary/Middle School
ebdixon@som.umaryland.edu

Ebonee Dixon is a School Mental Health Counselor with the School Mental Health Program (SMHP). Ms. Dixon obtained her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Wilmington University, where she began discovering the importance of mental health to youth. Ms. Dixon graduated with her Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Social Work. Ms. Dixon has experience in individual and group therapy, community organizing and substance use recovery. Ms. Dixon currently provides mental health services to elementary & middle school aged students of Baltimore City Public Schools. Ms. Dixon discovered her passion for school based mental health during her first year of graduate school. She is driven by the opportunity to provide accessible services to families in the Baltimore Area.

Photo of Kristina Floyd

Kristina Floyd

MSW, LCSW-C
Lead Counselor, Clinical Trainer
kfloyd@som.umaryland.edu

Mrs. Floyd has provided direct clinical services, supervision, case management, and consultations to children, their families, and colleagues within non-public and public school systems since 2009. She is currently a lead clinician and clinical trainer supporting multiple projects within the National Center for School Mental Health. Mrs. Floyd has a Certificate in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, is a board approved supervisor for social workers and is a state-wide trainer for Botvin’s LifeSkills. She has presented at local, state, and national levels on evidenced-based curriculums and other issues related to school mental health. Since 2015, Mrs. Floyd has worked for the Association of Social Work Boards as a subject matter expert to write and develop questions for the Masters level national social work exam using current, evidenced-based references and resources. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

A placeholder photo until a headshot is acquired.

Stephen Gibson (he/him/his)

MS, Educational Psychology
Clinical Research Sepcialist
stephen.gibson@som.umaryland.edu

Stephen Gibson is a Clinical Research Specialist at the National Center for School Mental Health, with expertise in evaluation and data analysis. In 2019, he earned a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from North Carolina State University and his B.S. majoring in Psychology while minoring in Social Work from North Carolina Central University in 2016. Currently, Stephen is a 4th-year doctoral candidate in developmental psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Stephen's research interests include understanding the various effects of racism and racial trauma on the mental health symptomology of Black youth. Additionally, utilizing various statistical and data analytic techniques, Stephen seeks to understand how culturally relevant factors such as parenting practices, racial identity, and coping strategies serve as protective factors for Black youth’s developmental and educational outcomes.

Aijah K B Goodwin headshot

Aijah K. B. Goodwin 

PhD, School Psychology
Postdoctoral Fellow
Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy High School
abarutigoodwin@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Goodwin is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Center for School Mental Health. She graduated from the school psychology doctoral program at Louisiana State University, where she completed research on cultural responsiveness in schools, including identifying indicators of culturally responsive practices and examining the relationship between culturally responsive practices and students’ outcomes. Clinically, Dr. Goodwin has received clinical training and professional experience with school mental health, including individual therapy, group therapy, teacher and family consultation, and systems-level school mental health implementation. She also has experience working with children, families, school staff, and medical providers in school settings, outpatient clinics, and medical centers. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in honors psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Master of Arts in Psychology from Louisiana State University, and doctoral internship at Florida State University’s Multidisciplinary Center. Her research and clinical interests include culturally responsive practices and the implementation of evidence-based school mental health practices to decrease mental health and educational disparities.

Kim Gordon-Achebe headshot

Kim Gordon-Achebe

MD
Program Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship
kagordon@som.umaryland.edu

Kim Gordon-Achede, MD, is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Director of the University of Maryland Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship. She is board certified in both psychiatry and child & adolescent psychiatry with specialized expertise in community psychiatry, school-based mental health, residential treatment, complex pediatric trauma, diversity, inclusion, and health equity. A talented educator and national leader, Dr. Gordon-Achebe has dual appointments at Tulane University School of Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Gordon-Achebe is currently collaborating on projects focused on teaching medical students, residents, child & adolescent psychiatry fellows, and school mental health practitioners on how to address the mental health needs of youth using antiracist, culturally-responsive and equitable practices to address social determinants of mental health issues with youth and their families. Dr. Gordon-Achebe's schools consultative work includes intensive case management and psychiatric services for University of Maryland School of Medicine, Division of Community Psychiatry, Child Services with the Programs for Assertive Community Treatment. She has extensive clinical experience in the assessment and treatment of pediatric mental health conditions, and provides training to medical students, adult psychiatry residents, child psychiatry fellows, and allied health professionals about systems of care, social determinants of health, cultural competency, and structual competency in psychiatry and medicine. Dr. Gordon-Achebe has presented at many national conferences and her leadership has been instrumental in providing mentorship and leverage for many psychiatrists to develop educational resources, networks, and supports to advance the cause of mental health equity. Her research interests involves trauma, human trafficking, diversity, inclusion, and equity in medical training, and ingetrating non-traditional and family supports in residential treatment and school-based settings.

Photo of Melissa Ambrose

Melissa Grady Ambrose

MSW, LCSW-C
Training Director
mambrose@som.umaryland.edu

Melissa Grady Ambrose, LCSW-C, received her MSW from Virginia Commonwealth University and has over 20 years of direct clinical and supervisory experience working with children and families. For fourteen years Ms. Ambrose provided school-based mental health services through the University of Maryland School Mental Health Program working with students in grades K-12. She specializes in working with high risk youth, including youth with substance use concerns.  Melissa currently serves as the Maryland state trainer for the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA), an evidence-based program to treat adolescent substance use. She is also a clinician specialist providing substance use counseling in a high school setting. In addition to providing A-CRA trainings, Ms. Ambrose coordinates additional evidenced-based training opportunities for Maryland school districts.

Sami Hartley headshot

Samantha "Sami" Hartley (she/her/hers)

PhD, Clinical-Community Psychology
Postdoctoral Fellow
Carver Vocational-Technical High School
shartley@som.umaryland.edu

Sami is a postdoctoral fellow and former pre-doctoral intern at the Center and recently earned her PhD clinical-community psychology program from the University of South Carolina. She has worked with schools, health providers, and community coalitions in the field of adolescent suicide prevention and response, as a program evaluator for initiatives promoting resilience and integrated school mental health, and as a mental health clinician in public schools and outpatient settings. She earned a BA with Distinction in Human Biology (Area of Concentration: Neuroscience & Mental Health) from Stanford University and her Masters in Clinical-Community Psychology from the University of South Carolina. Her clinical and research interests focus broadly on building capacity for high-quality implementation of evidence-based practices in school mental health, with a particular affinity for program evaluation, implementation science, and organizational readiness.

Richenda Hobbs headshot

Richenda Hobbs

BA, Psychology
Community Outreach Worker II
rhobbs@som.umaryland.edu

Ms. Hobbs has worked with the Prince George's School Mental Health Initiative since 2008. She has more than 20 years’ experience working with students and families in educational, home and community-based settings. Ms. Hobbs provides supportive services to students in Special Education in Prince George’s County Public Schools. She has a passion for helping others and is dedicated to supporting families reach their fullest potential.

Asia Humphries headshot

Asia Humphries

School Mental Health Counselor
MSW, LMSW
ahumphries@som.umaryland.edu

Asia Humphries graduated with her master’s degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Social Work. She enjoys being able to provide children and their families with skills and resources to assist with making their everyday lives a little easier to manuever. Ms. Humphries was a trainee with SMHP at Harlem Park Elementary Middle School, where she provided telehealth services to individuals, groups, and families. Her field placement inspired her to continue working with children and their families in a school-based setting and she is now the SMHP Counselor at Lillie May Carroll Jackson Charter School.

Opal Jones headshot

Opal Jones

MA, Psychology, LCPC
School Mental Health Senior Counselor
ojones@som.umaryland.edu

Opal Ellis Jones grew up in North Carolina and attended Warren County Public Schools. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a Master’s degree in Psychology at the University of the District of Columbia. Mrs. Jones has over 30 years’ combined experience providing mental health counseling for adults, children, and families in several states and overseas. She is currently employed with the Prince George’s School Mental Health Initiative as a Mental Health Clinician at a Prince George’s County, Maryland, middle school where she provides individual, group and family counseling as well as professional development for staff.

A placeholder photo until a headshot is acquired.

Jerica Knox

PhD
Post-doctoral Fellow
jerica.knox@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Knox is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for School Mental Health where she primarily focuses her evaluative efforts on the National Center for Safe Supportive Schools. Dr. Knox takes a strengths-based approach to understanding home and school contextual factors that promote well-being in children and adolescents. She uses qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the effectiveness of culturally-responsive and trauma-informed approaches. Dr. Knox is from Georgetown County, South Carolina. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina and her Master of Science and PhD in School Psychology from North Carolina State University.

Photo of Jennifer Lease

Jennifer Lease

MSW, LCSW-C
School Mental Health Senior Counselor
Wildwood Elementary/Middle School
jlease@som.umaryland.edu

Jennifer is a Senior Clinician with the School Mental Health Program (SMHP), providing targeted therapy services to children and families as well as broader supports to the whole school population. Jennifer has worked in schools in West Baltimore for over a decade and is trained in a number of evidence-based practices, including Botvin's LifeSkills Training, The Incredible Years, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Interpersonal Therapy for Adolescents (IPT-A). Jennifer is a statewide trainer of Botvin's LifeSkills and has a Certificate of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. She received her Master's in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She is dedicated to providing empowerment and opportunities for underserved communities.

Janice Mace headshot

Janice Mace

MSW, LCSW-C
Behavioral Health Program Coordinator
jmace@som.umaryland.edu

Janice Mace is a senior counselor at the University of Maryland’s National Center for School Mental Health. For nearly a decade, Ms. Mace has partnered with school districts to develop their Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) programming. She has extensive experience providing a variety of school-based behavioral health services, in both clinical and programmatic capacities. Currently, Ms. Mace serves as the project coordinator for Maryland’s State Opioid Response - Student Assistance Program, as well as co-developer and coordinator of a district-wide substance use prevention and early intervention initiative in Baltimore County Public Schools.  Her prior roles include the provision of program development and implementation support, training and professional learning, collaborative staff consultation, and direct client services in general education, self-contained special education, and residential treatment settings. In addition, Ms. Mace maintains a small private practice in her Baltimore, MD hometown, where she offers clinical and consultative services for personal and business growth.

Alicia Marhefka headshot

Alicia Marhefka (she/her/hers)

MD
Psychiatry Fellow
amarhefka@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Alicia Marhefka earned her medical degree from SUNY Upstate in Syracue, NY. She completed her adult psychiatry residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. She is now in her second year of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at the University of Maryland, Sheppard-Enoch Pratt Hospital in Baltimore.

Alison McCanon headshot

Alison McCanon (she/her/hers)

MD
Psychiatry Fellow
alison.mccanon@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Alison McCanon completed her medical school and psychiatry residency training at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA. She is board certified in psychiatry and practiced in an outpatient community psychiatry setting seeing adults in Norfolk for 2.5 years before moving to Baltimore to begin her training at the University of Maryland's Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship in March 2022.

Photo of Sylvia Huntley

Sylvia McCree-Huntley

EdD, Counseling Psychology
Director, Professional Development & Continuing Education
shuntley@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Huntley has wide-ranging experiences in providing professional development, training, and conferences on a national level and throughout the state of Maryland. For over 20 years, Sylvia has worked on multiple projects for the National Center for School Mental Health. Sylvia’s doctoral degree is in counseling psychology, with an earned master’s degree in alcohol and drug counseling, along with a bachelor’s degree in social work and psychology. Her clinical experience has been built on internships and direct services at Mountain Manor Treatment Center, Focus on Recovery, Baltimore City Detention Center, St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore School Mental Health Initiative, and the School Mental Health Program. Sylvia has her alcohol and drug trainee license. Her research interests continues to focus on trauma, alcohol and substance use disorders among adolescents, and the homeless population. She teaches psychology and addiction courses and is on the committee for redesigning and changing classroom settings into the flip model.

Caitlyn McNulty headshot

Caitlyn McNulty

BA, Psychology
Clinical Research Assistant
CMcNulty@som.umaryland.edu

Caitlyn recently graduated from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania where she studied Psychology and Arabic. She is a clinical research assistant at the NCSMH, working primarily on Maryland Family and Youth Interventions for Substance Use (Maryland FYI), Youth Care Coordination, and Early Intervention for Psychosis. Caitlyn plans to further her education in clinical and community psychology, with a focus on culturally responsive trauma interventions in immigrant and refugee communities.

Deja Moses headshot

Deja' Moses

MS, LGPC
School Mental Health Counselor
dmoses@som.umaryland.edu

My name is Deja’ Moses, a recent graduate from North Carolina A&T State University with a Master of Science in Clinical-Mental Health Counseling and a Marriage and Family Counseling certificate. I completed my Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Towson University. I am currently a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor (LGPC) in the state of MD and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). I have clinical experience working with multiple populations including children, adolescents, and adults. Through a strength based, holistic, and humanistic approach I promote resilience, strength, growth, and love. Striving to enhance my client’s self-efficacy, confidence, and overall life satisfaction.

Claire Noll headshot

Claire Noll (she/her/hers)

MSW, LMSW
School Mental Health Counselor
claire.noll@som.umaryland.edu

Claire Noll graduated with her master’s degree from Salisbury University’s School of Social Work. As a graduate student, Ms. Noll spent two years as a trainee with the University of Maryland School Mental Health Program and discovered her passion for working with adolescents. During this time, she provided teletherapy to individuals, groups, and families of Wildwood Elementary/Middle and in-person mental health services for teens at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. Ms. Noll plans to pursue her clinical license and continue to serve students and families in partnership with Baltimore City schools. 

Ayla Nuvroz

Ayla Novruz

BS, Psychology
Graduate Assistant
ANovruz@som.umaryland.edu

Ayla Novruz is a graduate research assistant at the National Center for Safe Supportive Schools (NCS3) and the NCSMH. She is currently a Clinical and Behavioral Medicine PhD student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Before joining NCS3/NCSMH, she managed a wide range of research projects focusing on social determents of health inequities. Her interests lie on the impact of early life adversity (ELA) and various forms of trauma during childhood on later life mental and physical health.

Kiera O'Donovan

MA, Clinical Psychology
Postdoctoral Fellow
Keira.ODonovan@som.umaryland.edu

Keira’s clinical and research interests focus on the early detection, assessment, and response to risk for youth and young adults experiencing psychotic symptoms, and for individuals and families navigating the early phases of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Guiding her clinical work and research program is a commitment to the integration of multicultural responsiveness in all aspects of mental health care and scholarship on the systemic, institutional, and interpersonal levels. Her work strives to address and disrupt systems of inequity and mental health disparities within marginalized communities. Specifically, her focus is on enhancing multicultural responsiveness in the diagnosis and treatment of psychotic disorders. Keira received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and subsequently earned master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston, which focused on the effects of social adversity on factors related to risk and resilience in mental health.

Photo of Shawn Orenstein

Shawn Orenstein

MPH, Prevention and Community Health
Program & Policy Manager
sorenstein@som.umaryland.edu

At the Center, Shawn serves as a program and policy manager of the National Quality Initiative on School Based Health Services project, supporting the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Networks and the School Health Assessment and Performance Evaluation (SHAPE) system. Shawn also provides policy-related support to the 2020 Bainum Family Foundation grant. She is particularly interested in how state and national policies affect quality and growth of school-based health services.

Andrea Ortiz headshot

Andrea Ortiz

LMSW
School Mental Health Counselor
Roland Park Elementary/Middle School
andrea.ortiz@som.umaryland.edu

Andrea Ortiz, LMSW, graduated with her master’s degree from the University of Maryland School of Social Work, Baltimore. Prior to becoming a School Mental Health Counselor for the University of Maryland School Mental Health Program (SMHP), Ms. Ortiz worked in Baltimore City for three years providing case management services to survivors of intimate partner violence, (IPV), as well as running abuse intervention groups for individuals who perpetrated IPV. Ms. Ortiz was a trainee with SMHP at Violetville Elementary Middle School, where she provided individual, group, and family tele therapy. Her field placement inspired her to continue working with children and their families in a school-based setting and she is now the SMHP Counselor at Roland Park Elementary Middle School.

Headshot of Karah Palmer

Karah Palmer

MEd, Community Development & Action 
Research Project Coordinator
karah.palmer@som.umaryland.edu

Karah Palmer started her career in education as a pre-school teacher and has a passion for working to improve learning conditions for all children. At The Center, she serves as the Research Coordinator for the Kaiser Permanente Resilience in School Environments (KP RISE) Formative Evaluation. Before joining the NCSMH team, Karah facilitated health services and equity research at Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. She earned her M.Ed. in Community Development and Action from Vanderbilt University, Peabody College, and is primarily concerned with understanding how schools and communities can work together to create trauma-informed and culturally-responsive learning environments for students and families.

Photo of Nikita Parson

Nikita Parson

MSW, LCSW-C
Assistant Director, School Mental Health Program
Western High School
nparson@som.umaryland.edu

Ms. Parson is a proud Alumni of Morgan State University and University of Maryland, Baltimore. She is the Assistant Director and a Lead Clinician with the School Mental Health Program. She has over 10 years of experience providing comprehensive services including direct clinical care (e.g. individual, group, and family therapies), prevention activities, consultations, supervision, and crisis intervention in Baltimore City Public Schools. She is passionate about decreasing the stigma on mental health and promoting a healthy social/emotional wellbeing especially among youth and young adults in underserved communities. Ms. Parson also serves as the Trainee Coordinator with the SMHP and through this has a chance to help mold, nurture, and produce the next set of clinicians in this field. Ms. Parson has been trained in Trauma Focus Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is a board approved supervisor for Social Workers and a statewide Botvin’s Life Skills trainer.

Photo of Brittany Parham

Brittany Patterson (she/her/hers)

PhD, School/Counseling Psychology
Core Faculty & Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
bpatterson@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Patterson’s current clinical and research interests involve trauma responsive schools and effective implementation of evidence based mental health programs in underserved schools and their surrounding communities. In her current role as a clinical faculty member with experience in school-based services at the Center for School Mental Health, Dr. Parham serves as a primary point person for developing and delivering training and technical assistance both within the school mental health clinical programs as well as to school stakeholders (including experience developing and delivering in-service curricula for teachers, school police officers, parents, and school staff). She currently coordinates a grant funded youth gambling prevention research project and provides direct school-based clinical care to a Title I Baltimore City School.

Jami Pittman headshot

Jami Pittman (she/her/hers)

Postdoctoral Fellow
PhD, Clinical Psychology
jpittman1@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Jami C. Pittman is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Center for School Mental Health who has been trained as a community-engaged child clinical psychologist. Jami earned her B.S. in Psychology from Millsaps College, a small liberal arts school in Jackson, MS. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Wayne State University, in Detroit, MI, and completed her predoctoral psychology internship in Baltimore at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress. Her research, clinical, and community engagement training and expertise has centered on supporting system change and healthy interpersonal development in primarily Black and African American and trauma and violence-exposed youth and families. Jami also has a passion for data science and statistical measurement and evaluation. Jami is ultimately interested in leveraging her skills to develop and support the provision of equitable and just, trauma-informed, and culturally-sound policies and practices, curricula, and interventions that empower youth, families, and communities and support the pursuit of our shared humanity.

Meredith Powers headshot

Meredith Powers

MEd, Clinical and School Psychology
Pre-doctoral Intern
Meredith.Powers@som.umaryland.edu

Meredith Powers is a pre-doctoral intern at the Center and doctoral candidate at the University of Virginia studying Clinical-School Psychology under the mentorship of Dr. Catherine Bradshaw. Prior to graduate school, Meredith earned a Combined B.S./M.Ed. in Special Education and was named a Teacher of Promise by the Maryland State Department of Education. She has worked as an elementary and middle school special educator and as a clinical research coordinator at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC. Meredith’s research interests include how to effectively address racially-biased school discipline practices, promote culturally-responsive classroom management, and implement school-wide prevention programs. Her clinical background includes providing consultation to teachers and school administrators, as well as delivering evidence-based care to children and adolescents who are experiencing traumatic stress. 

Nyjae Pride headshot

Nyjae Pride

School Mental Health Counselor
MSW, LMSW
npride@som.umaryland.edu

Nyjae Pride is a School Mental Health Clinician with the University of Maryland, School Mental Health Program (SMHP) providing services in Baltimore City Public Schools. Ms. Pride received her Bachelor’s in Sociology and Social Work from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Salisbury University. She continued her education graduating with her Master’s from the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work. Throughout this time she had the opportunity to intern with multiple agency’s growing individually and professionally. While also expanding her clinical skills and knowledge for her newly developed passion, social work. Ms. Pride has experience in providing Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program (PRP), Therapeutic Behavioral Aide, and Counseling Services to children and families. She has experience in modalities such as CBT and Motivational Interviewing. Ms. Pride currently provides mental health services and supports to Elementary & Middle School aged children at Katherine Johnson Global Academy.

Photo of Joanna Prout

Joanna Prout

PhD, Clinical Psychology
Clinical Research Manager
jprout@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Prout has extensive experience in conducting evaluations of initiatives to improve behavioral health outcomes for children, youth, and families.  Prior to becoming an evaluator, she worked for over 10 years as a clinician in school and community settings serving underserved populations.   She has a particular interest in engaging diverse partners in evaluation and the use of evaluation for rapid-cycle quality improvement.

Sumer Rahe headshot

Sumer Rahe

BA, Psychology
Clinical Research Assistant
srahe@som.umaryland.edu

Sumer graduated in 2019 with a B.A. in Psychology from Loyola University Maryland. Before joining NCSMH as a clinical research assistant on the State Opioid Response (SOR) project, she interned at the Center, lending help on various projects, such as the Brief Intervention for School Clinicians (BRISC) and Resilience in School Environments (RISE). Sumer is interested in furthering her education and studying community psychology, specifically focusing on social justice.

Pamela Rakhshan Rouhakhtar headshot

Pamela Rakhshan Rouhakhtar

MA, Human Services Psychology
Research Fellow
prakhsha@som.umaryland.edu

Pamela is a research fellow and former pre-doctoral intern in the University of Maryland Clinical High Risk for Psychosis track within the VA Maryland Health Care System/University of Maryland School of Medicine Psychology Internship Consortium. She is a doctoral candidate in Human Services Psychology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Pamela's interests include validation and development of psychosis spectrum assessments, application of advanced quantitative methods in the study of early psychosis assessment, and studying the role of cultural and contextual factors -- particularly race -- in our understanding of the psychosis construct, as well as illness presentation, course, and treatment.

Headshot of Dr. Samantha Reaves

Sam Reaves

PhD, Clinical Psychology
Core Faculty & Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
sreaves@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Reaves works to integrate her research and clinical experiences to improve outcomes for children. Her research interests lie at the intersection of mental health and education and she often investigates how school or family factors influence student outcomes in underserved communities. As a clinical-community psychologist, she believes great prevention work can be done and realizes the importance of strengthening the systems children are nested in to promote wellbeing so she is committed to supporting schools, at multiple levels, to improve policies and procedures around student socioemotional functioning. In her work at the NCSMH she primarily support to the Partnering for Student Wellness project, the SOR parenting program evaluation, and the National Quality Initiative.

Photo of Perrin Robinson

Perrin Robinson (he/him/his)

MS, Clinical Psychology
Lead Clinical Research Specialist & Communications Manager
probinso@som.umaryland.edu

Since 2016, Perrin has supported the NCSMH across a variety of projects on teacher, student, and young adult/adolescent wellness. Perrin holds an MS in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University Maryland where he teaches research methods, social psychology, and gender and sexuality studies part-time. At the NCSMH, he enjoys his roles in program evaluation via qualitative and quantitative data collection, management, analysis, and reporting. As of 2018, Perrin oversees communications at the NCSMH, including management of the website, listserv, and social media, as well as supporting the Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health where he is a co-facilitator of the Cultural Responsiveness & Equity specialty track. He currently serves as the Evaluation Specialist for Maryland Healthy Transitions and the NQI CoIIN state learning collaboratives, is the advisory board liaison for the NCSMH, leads the Wellness Committee, and co-coordinates the NCSMH student volunteer program. Perrin's professional interests involve supporting LGBTQ+ mental health, racial equity, and promoting diverse, inclusive, and accessible education and supports.

Headshot of Gabrielle Sanchez

Gabrielle Sanchez (she/her/hers)

MSW, LCSW-C
School Mental Health Counselor
Harlem Park Elementary/Middle School
gsanchez@som.umaryland.edu

Gabrielle Sanchez is a School Mental Health Counselor at the University of Maryland, School Mental Health Program (SMHP). Ms. Sanchez graduated with her master’s degree from Indiana University School of Social Work. Ms. Sanchez began working in the mental health field as a case manager at a residential facility shortly after finishing her bachelor’s in social work at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN. This opportunity allowed for Ms. Sanchez to work with children, families and various service agencies to support effective client change. Ms. Sanchez provides individual, family, and group therapy to students in Baltimore City Public Schools. She has been trained in Botvin’s Life Skills, Brief Intervention for School Clinicians (BRISC), and Trauma Focus Cognitive Behavioral therapy.

Joseph Santangelo

MSW, LMSW
School Mental Health Counselor
Digital Harbor High School
jsantangelo@som.umaryland.edu

Joseph Santangelo, LMSW, is a School Mental Health Counselor for the University of Maryland, School Mental Health Program (SMHP). Joseph graduated with his master’s degree from Morgan State University School of Social Work. He has worked in Baltimore communities for the past five years, helping connect families to affordable housing, training individuals to seek gainful employment, and advocating for those in crisis. Joseph was previously an intern with SMHP at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and is passionate about working in Baltimore City high schools. He provides individual, group and family therapy to students, and has been trained in Botvin LifeSkills and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Photo of Jasmine Savoy

Jasmine Savoy

MSW, LSCW-C
School Mental Health Counselor
Carver Vocational-Technical High School
jsavoy@som.umaryland.edu

Jasmine Savoy is a School Mental Health Counselor with the School Mental Health Program (SMHP). Ms. Savoy graduated with her Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Social Work. Ms. Savoy has experience in case management, individual and group therapy, and inpatient behavioral health. Ms. Savoy currently provides individual, family, and group therapy to high school students of Baltimore City Public Schools. In addition to providing counseling services, she also provides teacher consultations, staff-in-services, classroom presentations, and family outreach activities. Ms. Savoy’s passion for school based mental health began in her first year of graduate school. She cares about the well-being of adolescents and wants to help students develop social-emotional skills they can use over time.

Photo of Kristin Scardamalia

Kris Scardamalia

PhD, School Psychology
Core Faculty & Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
kscardamalia@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Scardamalia has extensive experience working with high needs youth and their families as a school psychologist in both the public schools and juvenile services. Her research focuses on the intersection of the education, juvenile justice, and mental health systems and their contribution to the disproportionate number of minorities impacted by the school to prison pipeline. Dr. Scardamalia’s research addresses universal prevention and intervention through her work on the development of a classroom based, modularized social emotional learning curriculum and through her research on district-wide strategies to reduce exclusionary discipline practices.  

Cindy Schaeffer headshot

Cindy Schaeffer

PhD, Child-Clinical Psychology
Core Faculty & Associate Professor of Psychiatry
cschaeff@som.umaryland.edu

Dr. Schaeffer's research focuses on developing, evaluating, and ensuring the successful real-world implementation of interventions for youth involved in, or at high risk of involvement in, the juvenile justice and child protective service (CPS) systems. She is particularly interested in family, school, and peer-based interventions that target issues such as school dropout and expulsion; deviant peer relationships; teen and parent substance abuse; low parenting skill; and family conflict / family violence. Dr. Schaeffer’s work has been highly influenced by Multisystemic Therapy (MST), an ecological, empirically-supported family-based intervention originally designed for juvenile offenders, and she has worked to adapt that model for new populations. She is also the developer of a linked parent-teen mobile phone app system, iKinnect, to improve parent-teen warmth and parental management of risky teen behavior.

Christa Schmidt headshot

Christa Schmidt

MA, Developmental Psychology
Graduate Assistant
christa.schmidt@som.umaryland.edu

Christa is a third-year doctoral student in the Applied Developmental Psychology program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College in 2018 and her master's degree in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University in 2020. Christa's research primarily aims to understand how bicultural children become healthy bicultural adults in different cultural contexts.

A placeholder photo until a headshot is acquired.

Cameron Sheedy

Research Project Coordinator
csheedy@som.umaryland.edu

Erin Sisk headshot

Erin Sisk

BS, Psychology, Sociology
Community Outreach Coordinator
esisk@som.umaryland.edu

Erin has been facilitating community outreach for the Prince George's School Mental Health Initiative since 2007. She has worked with both middle and high school students, helping them as they transition to high school and then onto post-secondary education and the workforce. Over the past decade, she has created and maintained an extensive resource directory that assists students and their families find the necessary resources to help them succeed.

Rachel Spiegler Headshot

Rikki Spiegler

MSW, LCSW-C
School Mental Health Senior Counselor
Baltimore Polytechnic Institute High School
rspiegler@som.umaryland.edu

Rachel “Rikki” Spiegler is an LCSW-C and an ADHD Certified Clinical Services Provider. She received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. For four years, Rikki worked in a non-public school providing individual, group, and family counseling services as well as social skills training to students ages 10-21 with diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, anxiety, depression, language processing challenges, and learning differences. In private practice, Rikki provided therapeutic services to children, adolescents, young adults, and their families. Rikki is currently working in Baltimore City Schools as a school-based clinician and is passionate about taking a supportive, strengths-based approach to providing comprehensive services to children and their families.

Headshot of Janai Springer

Janai Springer

MSW, LCSW-C
School Mental Health Counselor
Dorothy I. Height Elementary School
springer@som.umaryland.edu

Janai Springer completed her MSW program at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and is excited to contribute her skills and knowledge to providing mental health counseling for elementary school students in Baltimore City. After completing her social work internship at Furman Templeton Elementary School, and working with many other student populations, including special needs and ESOL students, she realized her passion for helping young learners thrive in all aspects of their lives. Ms. Springer is interested in pursuing her clinical license and making a lasting positive impact in the local community through providing mental health education and support to under-served children and families.

A placeholder photo until a headshot is acquired.

Yao Sun (she/her/hers)

Graduate Assistant
MA, Child and Family Education
yao.sun@som.umaryland.edu

Yao Sun is a graduate research assistant at NCSMH. She is currently a doctoral student in the Applied Developmental Psychology program at UMBC. Before joining NCSMH, She managed projects on youth's psychological well-being in Italy and Hong Kong. Yao’s research interests mainly focus on youth's social and emotional development such as social skills and aggressive behaviors, and how parenting practices and culture may shape this development.

Katie Trainor headshot

Kathryn "Katie" Trainor

PhD, School Psychology
Posdoctoral Fellow
Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School
ktrainor@som.umaryland.edu

Katie is a postdoctoral fellow and former pre-doctoral intern at the Center and recently earned her PhD in School Psychology at the University of Florida. Prior to coming to the center, Katie worked as a middle school teacher and research clinician in Philadelphia, PA, and as a school-based mental health clinician and researcher in Florida. She obtained her Masters in Education from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Her research and clinical interests focus on best practices for implementing integrative mental health programs within schools and supporting the well-being of teachers and behavioral health providers. She is particularly interested in teachers’ roles and experiences working with the social, emotional and behavioral needs of their students and how members within a system interact to promote healthy student outcomes.

Courtney Vaughan headshot

Courtney Vaughan

MSW, LCSW-C
School Transition Specialist
cvaughan@som.umaryland.edu

Mrs. Vaughan began her career as a clinical social worker shortly after graduating from the University of Maryland School of Social Work in 2005. Her passion for working with families and children in Baltimore City started when she joined the University of Maryland School Mental Health Program, as she provided clinical services in Baltimore City Public Schools for a number of years. Mrs. Vaughan's desire for supporting families and working with schools continued as she transitioned to her current position as a School Transition Specialist with the University of Maryland's BFAST Program (Bringing Families & Schools Together). The purpose of this program is to support students, families, and school staff as a student returns to their school and community following a psychiatric hospitalization at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

Photo of Christina Walker

Christina Walker

MS, Human Services-Special Education
Budget Analyst
cnwalker@som.umaryland.edu

Christina has been with the Center for over 18 years and specializes in finances and conference coordination. Christina is involved in the management of both our local (SHIP) and annual (ASMH) conferences and provides a wealth of logistical support related to financing and Center operations.

Maya Wallace headshot

Maya Wallace (she/her/hers)

MSW, LMSW
School Mental Health Counselor
maya.wallace@som.umaryland.edu

Maya Wallace graduated with her master’s degree from the Morgan State University School of Social Work. Her area of specialization is in urban youth, children, and families. Ms. Wallace was a trainee with the School Mental Health Program (SMHP) at Western High School, where she provided a continuum of effective mental health promotion and intervention to build on strengths and address the needs of students and families. Ms. Wallace was inspired by her internship with SMHP to continue working with children and families and is now a SMHP Counselor at Franklin Square Elementary Middle School.

Photo of Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis (she/her/hers)

MSW, LCSW-C
Associate Director, School Mental Health Program
Violetville Elementary/Middle School
kwillis@som.umaryland.edu

Mrs. Willis graduated with her Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Social Work. It was during this time of her field placement with the University of Maryland, School Mental Health Program (SMHP) that Mrs. Willis knew she wanted her career to be devoted to advancing children’s mental health in schools. Mrs. Willis began employment with SMHP in 2009 and currently has a dual role with the program serving as a Lead Counselor and the Associate Director of the program. Mrs. Willis’ programmatic efforts have focused on enhancing the training model for best practices and service delivery for all staff including licensed social workers and professional counselors, doctoral interns, psychiatry fellows, and graduate level trainees. Clinically, Mrs. Willis enjoys partnering with students, staff, and families to promote social, emotional, behavioral, and academic success and utilizes a variety of evidence based practices at Violetville Elementary/Middle School. Mrs. Willis is a Board Approved Supervisor, Botvin’s LifeSkills Trainer, and contributor to many special projects in the field.

Ashley Woods headshot

Ashley Woods

MSW, LCSW-C
School Mental Health Senior Counselor
Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts High School
awoods@som.umaryland.edu

Ashley Woods is a Senior Clinician for the University of Maryland, School Mental Health Program (SMHP). Ms. Woods has been working in under the Expanded School Mental Health Program for 8 years and has taken a special interest in working in Baltimore City high schools. She has been trained and certified in Botvin’s Life Schools, Brief Intervention for School Clinicians (BRISC), and Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA). Ms. Woods has a strong interest in supporting and developing the field of Social Work by training multiple Masters level students, as well as being a resource to colleagues.

Photo of Marie Yuille

Marie Yuille

MBA
Lead Clinical Research Specialist
myuille@som.umaryland.edu

Marie Yuille graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology in 2015 from UMBC. Before joining the NCSMH, she worked at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center for 3.5 years as a Clinical Research Assistant, and assisted with various intensive studies that focused on cognitive remediation in patients with schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia. Her duties included study recruitment, facilitation, and data management assistance. She joined the Center as a Clinical Research Specialist for the State Opioid Response (SOR) beginning in 2019.