Presenters

Becky Bernhardt, B.SW, is the School Community Outreach Coordinator at Mother Teresa Middle School (MTMS) in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Through this role, Becky works with marginalized high school and post-secondary students, their families and the student support team to holistically meet the affective needs of students. Through MTMS's comprehensive Response to Intervention Model, Becky uses the power of education, relations, networking, advocacy, empowerment and connection, to walk along side students at they journey to break through the barriers of poverty, intersectionality, childhood and present trauma(s), colonization, mental health struggles, addiction and discrimination through the "ism's". The collaborative RTI framework at MTMS guides teachers and support staff in working within a strength based perspective to best serve the interest of all students. Becky is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Education Psychology through the University of Regina. 

Steve Brown M.Ed. LMHC serves as the Director of Wellness at St. John's Prep in Danvers, MA. Steve has helped to develop and teach the school's mental skills program to students in grades 6 and 9. He also serves as a member of the school's Student Engagement Team and as a co-chair of the Wellness Committee.

Jane Brundige, B.Ed. is the Intervention Facilitator at Mother Teresa Middle School in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. In this position, Jane works with the teachers, student support staff, as well as social workers on creating, implementing, and adapting interventions (both academic and affective) for high-risk students. Mother Teresa Middle School has chosen to use the Response to Intervention (RtI) model with all students ranging from grade 6 to high school graduates in their post secondary and work place journeys. Through the RtI process, the team works alongside community organizations, counselors, psychologists, medical professionals as well as various First Nations bands to meet the needs of the students.

Keith Crowley, Ph.D. is in his ninth year serving as Principal/Associate Head of School at St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers, MA. Prior to St. John's, Keith served in two other Catholic schools as a coach, science teacher, department chair, and assistant principal for academics. His professional interests include mission-based leadership development, culture building and the psychology of change in organizations, curricular and instructional leadership, diversity, inclusion and equity in schools, student engagement, educational athletics, and community wellness. Keith authored a chapter in A Practitioner's Guide to Catholic School Leadership. He has consulted with a number of schools and organizations across the country and has partnered on projects with the Greeley Center for Catholic Education, Loyola University Chicago and the Roche Center for Catholic Education, Boston College. 

Gail Donahue has been in Catholic education for over 40 years and is currently the Director of the Academy of Catholic Educators at Notre Dame of Maryland University (ACES). The ACES program provides professional development and instructional coaching to Catholic schools. Gail has a BS from Penn State, a Masters from Trinity University and a Ph. D. in Educational Leadership from Notre Dame of Maryland. She is a former classroom teacher, reading specialist, high school assistant principal and principal. Dedicated to Catholic education and passionate about providing effective, differentiated instruction for all learners, Gail considers instructional coaching the most effective way to support teachers.

Sarah-Bess Dworin is Director of Restoring Community, a holistic culture and climate partner for schools and community-based organizations. Through this work, Dworin supports partners to implement interventions that decrease suspension, increase student engagement, and strengthen relationships throughout the community. A Steering Committee Member of the Transforming School Discipline Collaborative, Sarah-Bess partners with an interdisciplinary team of attorneys, school psychologists, policy advocates and community partners to support districts throughout Illinois to implement equitable and non-exclusionary discipline practices. Through her affiliation with Loyola University Chicago Law School, she teaches a course in Restorative Justice for the Certificate in School Discipline Reform. As former Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Umoja Student Development Corporation, Dworin founded Umoja’s regional professional learning team and managed the design and production of multiple SEL curricula, including a 4-year long daily social and emotional learning course for high schools. A former youth outreach worker in Chicago, Ms. Dworin received her MAT from the Teacher's College at Columbia University and taught at Bronx Lab High School in Bronx, NY for 5 years. Other publications span topics including adolescent war trauma and teen women's empowerment.

Curtis Kleisinger, B.Ed, B.A., M.A., is the Executive Director of Mother Teresa Middle School (MTMS) in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. In this role, Curtis performs the duties of CEO/Director of Education where he oversees the MTMS program and manages the school’s mission to break the cycle of poverty for marginalized students living in one of Canada’s worst neighborhoods. Since the school opened in 2011, Curtis and his team have strategically developed an innovative, holistic, strength based program that provides targeted interventions to improve the social, emotional, physical, cognitive and spiritual health and well being of students. MTMS intentionally builds relationships, addresses trauma and adverse childhood experiences while capitalizing on student identity and Indigenous culture to improve learning outcomes.

Deacon Tom Lambert is a founding member and co-chair of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Commission on Mental Illness, Advisor to Faith and Fellowship, Oak Park, Ill, on the Board of Pathways To Promise, and served on the Board of NAMI-Faithnet. Tom served 8 years on the Board of Directors for the State of Illinois’ National Alliance on Mental Illness including a 2 year term as President. Tom helped start and co-chaired the National Catholic Partnership on Disability’s Council on Mental Illness located in Washington D.C.

Tom has been a Deacon for 36 years and Tom’s oldest daughter has a mental illness. Over the past 25 years, he and his wife, Rita, have advocated for people with mental illness and their families in the community and for better pastoral awareness and care within the Church. He has led workshops across the country educating dioceses, priests, deacons, parish staffs, religious and laity about mental illness. He authored the manual “Mental Illness and Faith Community Outreach,” on how faith communities can begin helping people with mental illness and their families, wrote “Justice Issues and Catholic Social Teaching.” He has written and spoken nationally about spirituality and mental illness and how Faith Communities can get involved in outreach, advocacy, and justice issues. Tom operates a website for faith initiatives for people with mental illness and their families at www.miministry.org.

Michelle Lia, EdD, is the Assistant Director for Professional Learning and a clinical assistant professor at the Greeley Center for Catholic Education, School of Education, Loyola University Chicago. She plans, organizes, and leads professional learning and instructional coaching for Catholic schools in the Chicagoland area and beyond. She also teaches courses to undergraduate and graduate students related to reading, instruction, curriculum, and instructional coaching. @mliaCCE.

Tracy Mayhue, Educational Therapist serves Catholic, Independent and Public Schools as a consultant on Educational Neuroscience Practices and School-Wide Social and Emotional Learning Integration. Additionally, Tracy provides professional development at conferences and to schools nationwide on Social and Emotional Learning, Trauma-Informed Teaching Practices, and Emotionally Intelligent Leadership. Tracy has served as an educator in Catholic and public schools, teaching students in grades PreK - 8, and most recently served as a member of the St. Anastasia Catholic School administrative team. While in that position, she facilitated a dynamic school partnership with Loyola Marymount University's School of Education and Family of Schools. Tracy received her Educational Therapy certification through UC Riverside, and holds certifications in Interpersonal Neurobiology from UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center, and is certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid. Tracy is a facilitator and practitioner of Yale's RULER Approach, a Social and Emotional Learning program.

Patricia McGann is an Educational Consultant with 25 years of experience in Catholic education, most recently as the principal of an inclusive Catholic elementary school in Bethesda, Maryland. Patricia presents workshops and keynotes, and provides professional development for faculties and administrators. She serves as an instructional coach, and she assists administrators and boards with strategic planning, retreats and school improvement plans. Patricia's daughters-in-law, teachers and an occupational therapist, and her daughter, an academic support director, work with her in The McGann Group. She is married 47 years, and has 5 children and 9 grandchildren.

John Meehan (@MeehanEDU) is an English teacher and school instructional coach at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia. His first book, EDrenaline Rush, was published in June of 2019 by Dave Burgess Consulting, and offers a game-changing look at student engagement strategies inspired by theme parks, mud runs, and escape rooms. He is a 2017 ASCD Emerging Leader and an alumnus of the 2016-2018 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Advisory Council. In 2016, he was named one of Arlington, Virginia’s “40 Under 40” by the Leadership Center for Excellence. In March of 2019, he created the #EggDashChallenge – a classroom activity that became a viral video, racking up 75K+ views in less than one month’s time, and spawning hundreds of classroom videos in 40 US states, 6 Canadian provinces, and 8 countries.

Sandria Morten, Ed.D. is the Assistant Director for Inclusive Practices at the Greeley Center for Catholic Education, Loyola University Chicago.  In this position, Sandria teaches courses for the Leading Inclusive Catholic Schools (LInCS) certificate program focused on Multi-tiered Systems of Support.  She also provides professional development and consultation to Catholic schools across the country which are working to build support systems to serve students with disabilities.  Sandria has supported the development of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in many Catholic schools across the country, a framework which promotes positive school culture and supports students’ social and emotional wellness. @SandriaM_

Markeda Newell earned her BS in Elementary Education at the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Newell went on to obtain her MS and PhD in Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining Loyola's School of Education, Dr. Newell was an Assistant Professor in School Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Dr. Newell is currently an Associate Professor in School Psychology, and she is committed to advancing consultation and multicultural competence among school psychologists.

James Niesuchouski, LICSW is a school counselor who focuses primarily on social-emotional needs of students at St. John's Prep in Danvers, Mass. In this position, James supports students who are struggling emotionally and with mental health issues, while connecting them to outside resources if applicable. James has facilitated a mental skills curriculum into SJP physical education courses. James also assists with St. John's Prep "Community of Concern" tasks and manages SJP student assistance program. Lastly, James collaborates with school faculty and staff to ensure the betterment of students overall well-being.

Wendy Olson is the Assistant Principal for Student Life at St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers, Massachusetts. Student Life at St. John's is comprised of student health, activities, leadership, discipline and safety on campus. In this position, she is able to look for ways to challenge and support the "whole student". She serves on several school wide committees including Student Leadership committee, Wellness Committee, Gender Task Force, International Student Support Team and the Student Engagement Team. The work on these committees allows her to collaborate and connect with a variety of faculty and staff who work together to support the students at St. John's Prep each day.

Aislin Percival is the Office Coordinator and Interim Program Manager for NAMI Seattle. She has a Bachelors of Science degree in Health Sciences with a minor in psychology from Seattle Pacific University. As a long-time volunteer and employee of NAMI, her position includes both behind the scenes organizational and direct services aspects of administering free education and support programs for adults and young people with mental health conditions and their loved ones. She is passionate about increasing awareness of mental health conditions in youth. She has worked with adults and youth (13-17) experiencing mental health crises and a host of resulting issues including homelessness, substance abuse and involvement with the juvenile criminal justice system. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, playing with her dog and long distance running.

John Petruzzelli has spent his entire 31-year career in Catholic education.  In October 2018, John was appointed Principal of Kolbe Academy, the first faith-based/Catholic recovery high school in the nation, by Allentown Bishop Alfred A. Schlert.  Prior to Kolbe Academy, John served as Principal at St. Joseph Preparatory School in Philadelphia and Principal of Bethlehem Catholic High School in Bethlehem.  He has a wealth of experience in the Catholic school system that includes school administration, admissions, campus ministry and advancement.  He has also been a teacher in the Dioceses of Wilmington, Arlington and Philadelphia.  John is a graduate of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in History. He has earned a Master’s degree in Education in School Leadership and Instruction from Wilmington University in Delaware. John has enjoyed the life-changing work he is doing over the last year and half as the founding Principal of Kolbe Academy.  The opportunity to travel across the Diocese of Allentown, speak with many families who have been touched by addiction, travel to other recovery high schools, and work with students in recovery are all highlights of his tenure as Principal.

Rosario “Ross” Pesce, Ph.D. is the Coordinator of Clinical Training for the School Psychology Program at Loyola University Chicago. Ross has had extensive experience in school crisis prevention and intervention, violence prevention and trauma focused work and is currently involved in the Cicero/Berwyn community on the Health and Safety Committee of the Cicero Community Collaborative. He spent over 30 years in the community at the J. Sterling Morton HS District. Ross is a co-author of a school crisis training curriculum and has been a member of the National Association of School Psychologists’ School Safety and Crisis Response Committee for the past 10 years and is the Advocacy and Promotion Lead of this committee.

Brooke Tesche is the Chancellor of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Allentown and is the founder of Kolbe Academy. She oversees 40 schools in five counties including Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, Carbon and Schuylkill Counties. The school system includes 7 Diocesan High School, 3 Special Learning Centers for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and 30 elementary schools.

Dr. Tesche has her Bachelor’s degree from West Chester University in special education, a Master’s Degree from Saint Joseph’s University in Educational Leadership, a Doctorate from Immaculata University in Educational Leadership and her Superintendent’s Letter.  She recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Business Administration from DeSales University.  Dr. Tesche is lifelong educator with 20 years’ experience in both the public school system and private schools as an advocate for students.  Dr. Tesche has also been working with local partners including the Easton Opioid Awareness Task Force, the Lehigh Valley Summit for Addiction and Recovery, and the prevention and education committees in Lehigh and Northampton Counties.  Through all of her work, she remains committed and compassionate about educating our youth.  Brooke and her husband are members of St. Rocco’s Roman Catholic Church and love hiking, camping and their three dogs and two cats.