Our 2023 Speakers will be posted soon

Meet the Speakers from the 2022 conference

Denise Moody
Founder & Director, Resilience Impact & Keynote Presenter
Denise Moody, MSW, LICSW is the founder and executive director of Resilience Impact, LLC. She has been working in educational settings for fifteen years, working with early childhood through high school age students primarily at the district level. Ms. Moody has special interest in the area of trauma-informed systems of care, school-based mental health and multi-tiered systems of support. She has been an adjunct professor at Winona State University in the Department of Social Work since 2006 and has a small private practice providing psychotherapy to adolescents and adults. Ms. Moody holds a bachelor’s degree from Winona State University in Social Work and a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas/College of St. Catherine in Social Work. She has also completed post graduate work in the area of Educational Leadership with the University of Minnesota and is licensed as a Director of Special Education and as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Jasmyn Wright
Keynote Presenter

Jasmyn Wright is the CEO & Founder of The Push Through Organization – a non-profit that uses innovative practices to equip, inspire, educate, and empower individuals to overcome adversity and become change agents. An elementary educator of 12 years, Jasmyn’s empowering and "out of the box" teaching style has been featured in a global GAP Kids back-to-school campaign, as well as various national and international media outlets. Her push through philosophies have been adapted into adult and K-12 classroom settings across 20 U.S. states and 32 countries. Published by Simon & Schuster, Jasmyn’s affirmational and empowering children’s book, I’m Gonna Push Through!, encourages children to access their power within and use it to overcome challenges. Jasmyn has had the opportunity to deliver two TEDx talks, as well as travel the world, leading keynotes and serving as a curriculum developer, keynote speaker, and consultant to various educational organizations.

Bucky Flores
Keynote Presenter

Robert “Bucky” Flores, is the Program Coordinator for the, Launching Emerging Adults Program, a transition focused high school. Raised in a mixed race home, with diverse childhood and adult experiences, Bucky is a quick connector with an analytic approach to problem solving. Committed to lifelong learning, Bucky returned to formal education as a non-traditional student. He holds an A.S. Wilderness Management degree from Vermillion Community College, B.S. degrees in Therapeutic Recreation, and Recreation & Tourism from Winona State University,  a M.S. Education Leadership degree from Winona State University, and certification in the Neurosequential Model of Education. A combined 17 years of work experience in therapeutic residential programming, wilderness therapy, outdoor education, and public school settings, Bucky, has a strong foundation in therapeutic and educational programming. Bucky served as an outdoor educator and eagle care provider for eleven years with the National Eagle Center, and resigned as the acting Director of Visitor Services. In collaboration with Project Get Outdoors he developed and delivered an early childhood aged nature immersion summer camp and has worked as an adjunct instructor for the Winona State University Recreation and Therapeutic Recreation Department. Instructing courses related to play theory, foundations of leisure, outdoor pursuits, and travel study.  A self described naive optimistic humanist, Bucky believes in the human spirit and inherent value of every being.  Bucky is a happy husband, and proud father of two daughters. He lives with his family on a small hobby farm and event venue near Zumbrota, Minnesota. 

Lauren Ashbaugh
Keynote Presenter

Lauren Ashbaugh, Ph.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. Lauren received her undergraduate degree in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was a student-athlete on the women's basketball team. She played professionally overseas for a year before returning to the United States to earn her Ph.D. in Clinical and School Psychology at the University of Virginia. Her doctoral training in Clinical and School Psychology at the University of Virginia provided rigorous training in psychoeducational assessment, school-based mental health assessment and intervention, empirically-based treatments (including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and training in research and methodology. As a research team member of the Virginia Youth Violence Project, she received training and trained others in school threat assessment and bullying interventions. Her dissertation examined early experiences of violence in adult male and female inmates in Ohio and Texas.Lauren worked at Boston University Medical Center, a major Trauma I hospital outpatient clinic in Boston, a therapeutic day school for adolescents, and a large public high school before moving back to Washington state in 2016. She served as the Site Training Director at BUMC and collaborated with the Boston Veteran's Administration Consortium in Clinical Psychology to train doctoral-level interns in psychology. Clinically, Lauren specializes in evidence-based prevention and intervention for children, teenagers, adults, and families who struggle with trauma, chronic stress, anxiety, depression, executive functioning, and/or behavioral challenges. She has expertise in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Triple P Positive Parenting Program, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for trauma, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Interpersonal Therapy for depression.

Amanda Burget
In Person Breakout Session Presenter
Amanda Burget earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Evangel University. She currently works in the Rochester, Minnesota school district as a Student Resiliency Specialist. She has served in this role for 3 years and has helped grow the TOPS (Teens Offering Peer Support) Program, which serves to provide mental health support to students through a wellness room and trained peer supporters. She also works to organize mental health educational activities for students and provide triage support to the school counselors and social workers. Amanda has enjoyed cultivating the growth of the TOPS program at Mayo High School and sharing the power of peer supporting. She looks forward to continued growth of the program at Mayo, in addition to programs being added in other local schools. Amanda has served in a variety of social work roles throughout her professional career. She has worked in the mental health sector as a service coordinator, but has spent a majority of her years working in the child welfare system. She worked as a foster care case manager in Missouri, overseeing numerous foster care cases and helping facilitate permanency for children and teens. She then worked in Michigan for the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange as a Match Support Program (MSP) Specialist, then served as the MSP Program Manager. During her time as supervisor, the MSP program grew in referrals and became an important service to many families in the process of adoption. Throughout her time in child welfare, Amanda learned much about trauma and supporting children, teens and their foster and adoptive families through their journey to permanency. In her free time, Amanda enjoys spending time with her husband and dog in the beautiful state parks of Minnesota.
Denise Gilstrap
Virtual Breakout Session Presenter
Denise Gilstrap, PhD, is an assistant professor and clinical director at Loyola University New Orleans. She received her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from The University of Mississippi, where she specialized in play therapy. She also completed a Master of Science in Counseling from Texas A&M University-Commerce (2009) and Master of Arts in Teaching (2006) and Bachelor of Arts in English (2004) from Texas Woman’s University. She holds credentials as a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor, National Certified Counselor, Registered Play Therapist, and Professional School Counselor. Dr. Gilstrap has clinical experience as a school-based mental health therapist, family therapist, crisis counselor, and assessment therapist. Prior to becoming a counselor, Dr. Gilstrap worked for seven years as a middle school language arts and reading teacher in Dallas and New Orleans. She is TF-CBT and EMDR-Training. Her research interests include school-based trauma-informed practices, play therapy, youth behavioral interventions, family therapy, and counselor preparation and supervision. She has presented at various state and national conferences on these topics. Dr. Gilstrap has been inducted into Chi Sigma Iota (2009) and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (2014). She’s also a former ACES Emerging Leader (2015) and graduate of the Association for Play Therapy Leadership Academy (2018).
Martha Kent
In Person Breakout Session Presenter
Martha Kent is the Director of Student and Staff Wellness at Mountain Education Charter High School. She brings 36 years of teaching experience in a variety of settings including public, private, and DODDS overseas schools to the table to help understand the underlying issues affecting today’s youth in regards to mental health and the effects of trauma. With this diverse experience, she has seen what a difference addressing student wellness and lifeskills can do to increase academic achievement. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Masters Degree in Education from the University of North Georgia and an Educational Specialist Degree in Administration and Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University. Additionally, she is a certified trainer for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and safeTALK.
Jennifer Balzer
In Person Breakout Session Presenter

Jen has been in the field of education for 18 years. She has had many roles which have included Special Education Assistant, teacher, coach, and Associate Principal at both the elementary and high school levels. One of the most important things to Jen is that students and their families are supported when they are impacted by mental health issues.

Sarah Clarke
In Person Breakout Session Presenter

Sarah Clarke, MA, LPCC, is a licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, who has been working with children, adults and families for 15 years. She has a particular focus on helping children who have experienced significant trauma, and the adults who work with them. She has a firm belief that we cannot fully help the children we know and love, until we help the adults who work with them. She has been working in overlapping worlds of mental health and education for the past five years. During that time, she has found how the techniques of mental illness treatment can be applied to the world of education. She has developed a passion for developing the skills of educators to better provide for the wellness of both themselves and their students. She currently is the Social-Emotional Learning Lead for Rochester Public Schools, and provides clinical therapy to a small case load of adults and couples at Flourish Counseling in Rochester, MN. Sarah holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the state of Minnesota.

Beth Shermoen
In Person Breakout Session Presenter

Beth Shermoen is the Director of CEIS and Equity with Northland Learning Center in Virginia, Minnesota. She is the former Piedmont Elementary School Principal in Duluth, Minnesota. She graduated from Bemidji State University, in Elementary Education with a specialty in communication and literature. Beth is, also, a certified Senior Business Management Professional. She holds a Master’s in K-12 Instruction, with Principal/Superintendent Licensure. She is currently working to complete her Doctorate of Education at Bethel University. Her professional interests and consulting areas include: Turnaround School Leadership, Coordinated Early Intervention Services and Supports, MTSS and Equity in our Schools, the Whole Child Approach, Equitable Systems and Practices of Change, Policy and Implementation, Equity Walkthroughs, Social-Emotional-Behavioral Plans of Success, School Attendance & School Success, Teacher Evaluations and Classroom Walk-throughs, Restorative Practices and Trauma Informed Care, Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS), Strength Based Teaching and Learning, the Impact of Relationships and Connectedness within School Communities, Differentiated Instruction, Classroom Set-Up & Design, Student Accomodations, Supports and Enrichment, Team, School and Spectator Sportsmanship and Engaging the Heart of Learning for every student, everyday.  Beth is a nationwide certified Anti-Bullying Trainer and Mediator. Beth and her husband, Jerrod, enjoy their time on Rainy Lake with their golden retriever, Rainy.  They have two adult children, Jenna and Maria, who are also passionate about advocacy and servant roles in their professions and communities. Beth is an educational consultant who loves engaging in school communities. She created JJEM Education & Consulting in celebration of her children and nephews, Jenna, Jonah, Evan and Maria. They are the heart of inspiration for her both personally and professionally as a change agent and transformational leader in her work and beyond.

Christi Sickel
In Person Breakout Session Presenter

Christi Sickel is Assistant Director of Special Education with Northland Learning Center in Virginia, Minnesota. She has been a strong advocate for children with disabilities for several decades. After graduating from the Master's University in California with a degree in Elementary Education and obtaining dual licenses from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in the areas of Emotional/Behavioral Disorders and Specific Learning Disabilities, she taught elementary special education for  twenty years in the Mesabi East School District in Aurora, Minnesota. She holds a Master's in Education with Principal and Director of Special Education Licensures. Christi's professional journey has led her to her current passion of addressing and meeting the needs of the whole child through the MTSS framework. In addition, her visionary leadership has guided the NLC's Bridge to Independence 18-21 Transition Program to include robust life skills and work experiences for students, both in the classroom and within their community. A source of joy and purpose for Christi is equipping students with skills to reach their optimum potential and success in life. If she is not planning a "vacation on a dime," she can be found enjoying the idyllic beauty of northeastern Minnesota's lakes and pines with her large, close-knit family, including her husband, Craig, and their four young adult children Abigail, Bailey, Ethan and Cooper along with their menagerie of pets.

Sarah Giddings
Virtual Breakout Session Presenter

Sarah Giddings is a National Board Certified Teacher who is a teacher leader and curriculum coordinator for the WAVE Program—a reimagined teacher-powered alternative high school she helped develop. Sarah is also a National Teacher-Powered Ambassador, handling social media for Teacher-Powered Schools, and coordinates professional learning opportunities for the Washtenaw Educational Options Consortium. Sarah is proud to serve as the SEL coordinator for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. She was a Hope Street National Teaching Fellow and America Achieves Fellow. She has led professional learning on a multitude of her passions including transformative SEL, assessment literacy, teacher-powered leadership, education innovations, technology, policy, and trauma-informed approaches. She spent several years as a teacher-leader in Chicago Public Schools, designing cutting-edge GIS and student advisory curriculums. Sarah graduated with a M.Ed in K-12 Administration, certificate in Ed Technology, and B.A., all from Michigan State University. Contact Sarah Giddings at sgiddings@weocflex.org. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarah_giddings1

Melissa Sollom
Virtual Breakout Session Presenter

Dr. Melissa Sollom enjoys working with kids and adults to help design lesson plans, workshops, and interventions that work. She likes to spend her free time outdoors with her husband, three kids, and a house full of animals (i.e., 3 cats and a dog who likes to run the house). Dr. Sollom received her B.S. in psychology from the University of North Dakota, a M.A. in Community Psychology from St. Cloud State University, a M.S. in School Counseling and her PhD in Psychology with an emphasis in SEL from Northcentral University. She holds licenses as a School Counselor, K-12 Educator and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Certified Trainer. Dr. Sollom has over 14 years of experience as a psychology professor for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU), is a Professional Researcher for the SEL Program Top 20, a TRIO Advisor and Mentor, a Manager and Creator for a MNSCU Peer Mentoring Program, Mental Health Associate, K-12 School Counselor and currently serves as Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Consultant for the school district. She has been awarded the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities’ Board of Trustees Excellence in Teaching Award for Part-time Faculty, the On The Spot Recognition Award, an Academic All Star Award, Making A Difference Award, Honor Society’s Most Influential Teacher Award, and has been nominated for Teacher of The Year Award. Dr. Sollom has published two manuscripts: Sollom, M. M. (2009). Positive Illusions, Coping, and Psychological Health (Master's Thesis). Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN & Sollom, M. M. (2020). A Quasi-Experimental Study on Social Emotional Learning and Primary Prevention (Dissertation Manuscript). Northcentral University, LaJolla, CA.

Julia Rose Polk
Virtual Breakout Session Presenter

Julia Rose is Founder and President of Trauma Camp - a professional development company that trains educators about trauma-informed approaches in classrooms and schools - and host of the Trauma Camp for Teachers podcast. Julia Rose has studied childhood trauma for over 15 years, and has directly served her community for over the last five. She has completed Phase 1 of the ChildTrauma Academy’s Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics and Education, and is a graduate of UC Davis’ Napa Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship. Julia Rose's lectures and trainings have reached educators all around America and beyond, including teachers and schools in South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and England.

Ami Amero
Breakout Session Presenter

Ami Amero has been a High School History teacher in rural Maine for the past 25 years. She was the 2015 Jump$tart Maine Financial Educator of the Year and a seven-time Maine Teacher of the Year nominee. When not teaching, she facilitates a student book discussion group, is the advisor for Debate Club, National Honor Society, and Math Team. She recently completed her Master’s Degree in Mindfulness Studies (Education) from Lesley University.

Jennifer Glover
In Person Breakout Session Presenter

Dr. Jennifer Glover is a 26 year veteran in education from Georgia with the past 6 years working with Mountain Education Charter High School, a 2nd chance high school for dropouts. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning. She and her husband, Scott have been married for 25 years and have two children.

Carol Kampa
In Person Breakout Session Presenter

Carol Kampa has 35 years working in schools in varied roles including principal/assistant principal, ALC director and school counselor. She is a licensed Principal and School Counselor with Ed Specialist coursework from St. Mary's University and a masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a frequent presenter at the Minnesota State Secondary School Principal Conference and recently presented at the Trauma Informed Schools Conference in St. Charles, Missouri on "Compassionate Leadership". Carol was a featured speaker on a podcast entitled Getting Unstuck /Shift for Impact and she spoke on “Leading in a Time of Crisis”. Finally, Carol has a published chapter in Caring in Crisis - Stories to Inspire and Guide School Leaders by Corwin Publishing. Carol is a compassionate and inclusive leader who believes in the power of human connection in changing the lives of young people.

Megan Cassidy
In Person Breakout Session Presenter

Dr. Cassidy earned her doctorate in clinical and school psychology from the University of Virginia. She is currently a practicing school psychologist in Minnesota. Dr. Cassidy has previously worked as a private clinician specializing in pediatric anxiety disorders, provided psychological services in a pediatrician's office, and worked as a school psychologist in Massachusetts for an in-district emotional/behavioral disorders special education program.