is a Washington, DC and Gloucester, MA based author and educator as well as an advisor to nonprofit schools, organizations and governments. Her work focuses on student success with a specialization in trauma, its symptomology and approaches to its amelioration. She has worked with institutions planning for and dealing with person- and nature-made disasters including shootings, suicides, immigration detention, family dysfunction, hurricanes and floods. Recently, her work has focused on the impact of the Pandemic on student learning and psychosocial development. She speaks frequently in the US and pre-pandemic, she also spoke in more than 10 foreign nations.
She currently serves as Senior Counsel to Finn Partners. She is an instructor in continuing education at Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work and also sits on the Advisory Council at the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at Rutgers Graduate School of Education. She is an artist-in-residence at Molly Stark Elementary School (VT).
She is the award-winning author of three books: Trauma Doesn’t Stop at the School Door (TC Press 2020); Breakaway Learners: Strategies for Post-Secondary Success (TC Press 2017) and Failure and Forgiveness: Rebalancing the Bankruptcy System (Yale University Press 1996). She is also the author of a trauma-sensitive children’s book series, Lady Lucy’s Quest. She has read to more than 3000 children across the globe.
She served for 8 years as President of Southern Vermont College and also as Senior Policy Advisor to the US Department of Education during the Obama Administration. She also advised the Biden Election Domestic Policy Committee, focusing on student mental wellness. Prior to that, she was a tenured law professor for 22 years in NYC. She has also served on numerous local, regional and national boards, including Campus Compact, New England Board of Higher Education and the Sage Colleges.
A frequent voice on education issues across the preK–20 pipeline, she has written for numerous publications, among them University Business, Age of Awareness, Evolllution, The Hechinger Report, The New England Journal of Higher Education, LinkedIn, Forest of the Rain Productions, InsideHigherEd and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Since the start of the Pandemic, she has done over 80 podcasts on topics related to trauma, education and leadership.
Two of her most commonly quoted phrases are: (1) Education happens in many places and spaces of which the classroom is but one; and (2) Believe in the Power of the Possible as it is within us all.
Added information is available at: www.karengrosseducation.com
(in alphabetical order)
Upon completion of 2 terms of service on the National PTA® Board of Directors, Amy Arness reached term limits as a Member Representative. She will continue serving our Association with an appointment in Governance to the Programs Committee as the Reflections lead. Past National positions have included Convention & General Arrangements Committee, Finance Committee, Executive Director Review Task Force and National Council of States delegate on the topic of PTA Relevance, which informed the 2020 Strategic Vision. Amy’s State experience started as North Dakota PTA’s Health & Welfare Chair & continued on to a 2 term Presidency, the State & Federal Legislative Chair, an invitation to the Governor’s Inaugural Innovative Education Summit as a Panelist and an appointment by Superintendant of the ND Department of Public Instruction to the ESSA Task Force and several related work groups. A PTA story that is 24 years in length includes a Presidency at each level of her kids schools–Kindergarten Center, Elementary, Middle, High School, and the Fargo Council.
Amy has been married for 36 years to Richard, a physician with Sanford Medical. They have a daughter Jacky, a recent Graduate of University of Minnesota Law School, and a son Derek, presently in an accelerated Nursing program at University of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Amy received a BA from the University of Minnesota—Minneapolis in Communications. She was a Manager for Dayton’s (now Macy’s) department store, but made the decision to be a ‘full time’ Mom when they started their family. Along with PTA commitments, Amy’s favored ways to spend time have been 30 years of philanthropic endeavors to include Performing Arts Boards & Mission Jamaica, Business management duties & travel companion for her daughter’s year as Miss North Dakota, traveling to all 50 states (48 down, 2 to go!) and pursuing a healthy lifestyle.
Honors and Awards
• National PTA Lifetime Achievement Award/President’s Distinguished Service Award
NPTA State Membership Increase Award
School of Excellence Award—1st for ND
• Lifetime Achievement Award—North Dakota & Montana PTA
• Governor’s Service Award—2018
• Fargo-Moorhead Salute to Moms honoree
CANDY JO BRACKEN
Candy Jo Bracken is a single mother of 3 boys: Alexander (19), Ian (17), and Connor (14). She is a very busy manager at Alaska Powercom Supply, a brand-new woman owned and run startup electrical wholesale company in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Candy Jo is continuously attending trainings and researching new ways to help her children and herself succeed. While being a busy mom and full-time employee Candy Jo has found the time to give back to the community by working with her local, state and national PTAs. Recently, she was on the National PTA Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach Committee.
Currently Candy is on the National PTA Board of Directors, the Strategic Mission Committee, Alaska PTA VP of Legislation and VP of Membership and she is attempting to join Lathrop HS PTSA’s Board. She has also worked with her sons’ football teams as a team mom and booster club board member. Candy Jo believes that our children are our future and that we must provide a robust and positive public education experience for all. Candy Jo believes in the mission of PTA and that all children should have an adult that they can turn to for advice and a place to go that is safe and welcoming.
ERIK CHAMPY, PhD Education
Dr. Champy has supported children, adults and the community for over 30 years. He was elected to the National PTA Board of Directors in June 2019 and looks forward to sharing his time and talents to complement our esteemed national team of volunteer leaders.
As an elementary teacher, Champy equipped students with the knowledge and skills to be successful with academics while creating a safe environment to learn. As an adjunct professor, Champy has prepared educators to work with students and families to achieve greater outcomes for all.
Champy was a union leader and applied his knowledge, worked with community members and advocated for students from Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill. Along with colleagues and fellow advocates, he has lobbied lawmakers for a reduction in student debt, increases in education funding, child nutrition, reform of the No Child Left Behind Act, lowering the achievement gap and many other issues important to American families. Today, as a guidance counselor, Champy continues to work with diverse students, challenges their strengths, addresses their social emotional needs and assists with identifying career and college opportunities.
As a PTA leader in Massachusetts, Champy continues to advocate for children and the schools that our students deserve. During his tenure as state president, members established a robust Health, Safety and Wellness Committee, secured a gubernatorial proclamation for Arts education, formed the Massachusetts PTA Youth Committee, expanded interest and membership in PTA, strengthened partnerships, and identified the first LGBTQ Issues Chair for the Massachusetts PTA.
John Crocker has worked in public education for over a decade, primarily as the administrator for the Methuen Public Schools Guidance Department. He has overseen the planning and implementation of the “Mental Health Initiative,” which has focused on the establishment of a comprehensive school mental health system (CSMHS) in partnership with the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH). John has worked with the NCSMH as a member of the National School Mental Health Task Force and as the Massachusetts team leader for the National Coalition for the State Advancement of School Mental Health (NCSA-SMH). In his role as the director of school mental health & behavioral services, he is charged with overseeing the district-wide implementation and evaluation of Methuen’s comprehensive school mental health system (CSMHS) and positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS). His work has focused on developing a district-wide system of universal mental health screening, advancing the use of psychosocial data to inform school mental health staff’s therapeutic practice, and the development and evaluation of the CSMHS in Methuen. He has worked to scale up evidence-based therapeutic services across Methuen through the provision of district-wide professional development and the design and implementation of group- and individual-therapy programs. Mr. Crocker founded the Massachusetts School Mental Health Consortium (MASMHC), a group of approximately one-hundred and fifty school districts across Massachusetts committed to advocating for and implementing quality and sustainable school mental health services and supports. He received the National Center for School Mental Health’s School Mental Health Champion Award and was the 2019 Massachusetts School Counselors Association (MASCA) Administrator of the Year.
CHRISTINE FORTUNE GUTHERY
Christine Fortune Guthery is an attorney and a mother of three. She has had a life-long interest in promoting social justice and inclusion. After earning her law degree, she worked briefly as a civil litigator and then for the Circuit Executive’s Office of the U.S. Court of Appeals on a study of Gender and Racial bias in the courts.
In 2010, though none of her three children had been bullied, Christine saw a need for parents and schools to work together to support a positive school culture. By 2011, this movement had expanded beyond parents and schools to the whole community. Now that the organization has grown to over 8,000 members and is working in a number of communities, her passion remains in empowering people at the grassroots level to connect with each other over core values to create more kindness, inclusion, respect and justice for all.
Christine is a Reiki Master, an Intuitive Chakra Life Coach, certified in yoga for children and adults, and many healing modalities. She is a mom of 4, an artist, traveler, and creator. She received her BFA from the Art Institute of Boston and at the same time has been studying energy healing and mindfulness for over 25 years.
Christine has always been passionate about sharing with all children and adults, the tools of breath work, mindset, yoga, art, music, and chakra work, so they can learn to harness their confidence, self esteem and self worth. She has a reiki studio where she sees kids and adults for in person mentoring, and reiki healing.
Christine also offers coaching and mentoring via phone or zoom, and distance reiki sessions. ChristineChastanet.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Harney has been working at the Department for over 10 years in secondary education for at-risk youth with a focus on dropout prevention and reengagement, alternative education, and individual planning through My Career and Academic Plan (MyCAP).
What Is My Career and Academic Plan?
My Career and Academic Plan (MyCAP) is a student-centered, multi-year planning tool designed to provide students with ongoing opportunities to plan for their academic, personal/social and career success. Because the primary author of MyCAP is the student with guidance from at least one identified caring adult in the school setting and in consultation with parents/guardians, students are empowered to seek out learning opportunities that align with their individual career interests and self-defined goals. Through identification of interests and goals along with an acknowledgement of any barriers to success and supports necessary to overcome those barriers, MyCAP maps the academic plan, personal/social skill attainment, and workplace readiness activities required for postsecondary success. As the student comes to own his/her choices and future planning, MyCAP may also improve student engagement.
MyCAP implementation supports district and school goals such as: completion of MassCore (MA recommended program of high school study); increasing the number of students who take and pass Advanced Placement (AP) and college level academic courses; increasing student attendance and engagement; increasing high school graduation rates; and increasing the number of students enrolling, persisting and attaining a postsecondary credential.
MyCAP is intended for ALL students beginning as early as sixth grade. The MyCAP tool consists of both a process and an electronic platform. The electronic platform provides a place to organize and record progress related to academic achievement, personal/social skill development, and career development information that leads to workplace readiness. However, it is within the process that students: set attainable goals based on individual interests and strengths; engage in activities that promote academic achievement, personal social skill development and career development education; promote communication between students, school staff, parents, and other influential adults; and support school and district improvement efforts that are responsive to students’ interests and needs.
LESTER J. JAMES HARTMAN, MD, MPH, FAAP,
Dr. Lester Hartman, the medical home director for Westwood-Mansfield Pediatric Associates, is teaming up with an education care coordinator, who aids in helping children and families dealing with school issues, including the use of tobacco and vaping among children and teens. Dr. Hartman attended the Harvard School of Public Health from 2011–2012 and received a Masters in Public Health in Health and Social Behavior. He has since focused on preventing the return of the tobacco epidemic and has collaborated with Children’s Hospital to change the Longwood Street entrance to reduce children’s exposure to tobacco as they walk from the parking lot.
Dr. Hartman is a Mass General Hospital researcher collaborating with Harvard Medical School on youth and tobacco. He has attended 167 Board of Health meetings to raise the minimum legal sales age of tobacco (which includes vaping) to 21. There are now 166 towns—almost 70 percent of Massachusetts—under the regulation. He co-wrote a resolution on the age increase which now is endorsed by the 55,000 pediatricians of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Hartman has been a member of Westwood Mansfield Pediatrics since 1986. He is a former
member of Physicians for Human Rights and served for 16 years on the Pediatric Physicians
Organization at Children’s Hospital Boston (PPOC) Board of Directors. Since 2003, he has been
involved with the Clinique Mt. Carroll de Juampas in Haiti. Dr. Hartman went to medical school
at Louisiana State University. His residency was at Children’s Hospital Boston and Boston City
Hospital. Past accolades include the Community Pediatrician award from the PPOC as well as
being selected for the Best Doctors list several times.
JENNIFER HEDRINGTON, Seventh Grade Mathematics Teacher, Ferryway School
Malden Public Schools
Jennifer Hedrington has taught middle school math to secondary school students since 2004 and has worked in Massachusetts, Texas, and Baltimore. Hedrington holds a Juris Doctorate from the Massachusetts School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Atlantic Union College. She measures her students’ achievement by how they apply their education outside of the classroom, and she is proud of having heard current and former students say the following over the years:
- “Ms., I hated my skin and who I was, but I see myself in you, and now I love myself.”
- “Ms., I’m calling you ’cause I’m about to make a bad decision; talk me out of it.”
- “Ms., I graduated from college a year early.”
- “Ms., I got baptized.”
- “Ms., please be the godmother to my child.”
- “Ms., I got a full scholarship to Wentworth.”
- “Ms., look, this is me and Ayanna Pressley in D.C., I intern for her.”
- “Ms., I got accepted to a doctoral program.”
- “Ms., we’re getting married.”
- “Ms., I am going to start my own company.”
- “Ms., I am going to preach my first sermon.”
- “Ms., I’m going to protest the injustice.”
- “Ms., I’m going on a mission trip to Haiti.”
- “Ms., I messed up, but I’m not a mistake.”
- “Ms., I’m a math teacher.”
- “Ms., …I love myself.”
Most of Jennifer’s life has been involved in the social justice and racial
equity space. As a DEI practitioner and Culture & Engagement Strategist,
Jennifer and her spouse, Brian, strive to bring these components into
community-based entities and for-profit entities by providing education,
research, and data solutions designed to create a more harmonious,
productive justice-focused workspace for organizations through their
company JOHNSON TRANSFORMATIVE EQUITY GROUP, LLC.
In this space, Jennifer has conducted presentations and workshops for
Community Equity Organization (Farmington Hills, MI), the American
Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Michigan Chapter, New Detroit, Inc.,
Michigan PTA, National PTA, among others.
Jennifer recently served as a Roundtable Facilitator for the Inaugural 21- Day Equity Challenge for the United Way for Southeastern Michigan and as a contributor on the MI Safe Schools: Michigan’s 2020 – 21 Return to School Roadmap and the Public Health Advisory Council (2020) for the State of Michigan.
Jennifer serves on the board of directors for Affirmations LGBTQ Community Center (Ferndale, MI) and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Michigan. She is currently the chairperson for Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach for National PTA.
Jennifer has professional and service membership with various organizations, including the National Diversity Council, Michigan Diversity Council, and the American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity. NAACP (Lifetime), League of United Latin American Citizens, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), Freedom from Religion Foundation,
PTA, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Jennifer matriculated as an undergraduate at Oakland University and Marygrove College with a major in Political Science and a minor in English. She also holds a certification in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell
Jennifer and her spouse, Brian, an educator, live in Michigan with their two children and one cat. Collectively, they admit to owning way too much science fiction and superhero paraphernalia and loads of books that they are on a mission to complete before compilating their next book wish list.
ANNA KING, National PTA President
Anna King has over 20 years of leadership experience at all levels of PTA, including Oklahoma PTA President. She was elected President-Elect of National PTA in June 2019 and became President in June of 2021.
At the local level, she serves as a secretary for the Douglass High School PTSA and is a Board Member of the Douglass Law and Public Safety Academy. She loves volunteering in the high school in her community and working besides the students as they use their voices for change.
Besides PTA, Anna is also involved in many community activities, she is the OK-MDA School Safety Co-Lead, Advisory Board Member of the WestEd Advisory Board and Equity Advisory Member for the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
She is married to Glenn King and is co-owner of a family mobile catering business. A mother of three and proud Nana of ten, Anna is a dedicated and passionate child advocate. She believes everything is possible for all children, and being an inclusive association is key to better serve the many families and communities across the country.
SHARON LEVY MD, MPH
Sharon Levy, is a board certified Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She is the Director of the Adolescent Substance use and Addiction Program (ASAP) in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, which is comprised of clinical, research, training and policy arms.
Dr. Levy has evaluated and treated thousands of adolescents with substance use disorders, and has taught national curricula and published extensively on the outpatient management of substance use disorders in adolescents, including screening and brief advice in primary care, the use of drug testing and the outpatient management of opioid dependent adolescents.
She is the past chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Substance Use and Prevention, the President of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) and serves on the board of directors of the Addiction Medicine Fellowship Director’s Association.
DAVID MARTIN, Massachusetts Health Council CEO
David Martin, is the CEO of the Massachusetts Health Council. Previously he was Vice President of Operations at the Lown Institute, a health policy think tank whose mission is to prevent overtreatment and undertreatment in medicine and build a medical culture that fosters a more humane, effective, and affordable system of health and health care.
Prior to that David served as the Senior Director of US Health Care Economics, Policy and Reimbursement at Covidien, a $12 billion global healthcare products company. He was the director of health care policy and strategy in the Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services where he helped develop the Administration’s health care payment and delivery reform policy.
David has also served as legislative and policy counsel for Partners HealthCare in Boston and prior to that he was the chief of staff and legal counsel for the state legislature’s health care finance committee. He has also practiced law in the areas of criminal defense and insurance defense.
KRISTEN MCKINNON, Assistant Director, Student and Family Support
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Kristen McKinnon is the Associate Director of the Office of Student and Family Support (SFS) at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. SFS works in partnership with educators, schools, students, families, and other agencies and organizations across the Commonwealth to advance the Department’s mission. This work helps further the Department’s strategic priorities, including but not limited to supporting social emotional learning, health, and safety.
Jennifer Moitoso resides in Rehoboth, MA with her husband, Jeff, and their children, Abby, and Kevin. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Rhode Island College. For the last 28 years she has enjoyed her role as a Mental Health worker at Bradley Hospital, working with children and adolescents in both Inpatient and Partial Hospital settings.
She incorporates treatment models into her personal life, practices Mindfulness, uses Dialectical Behavior (DBT) skills, and engages in an Exposure (ERP) lifestyle. She has been a member of MA PTA for many years and served as a board member for her local unit. Her greatest passion is mentoring youth, encouraging all to set goals that align with personal values. In her spare time, she enjoys outings with family and friends and traveling.
RICHARD MORIARTY, MD,
Dr. Moriarty graduated from Colby College and the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He completed his pediatric training at Johns Hopkins Hospital and University of Rochester. He practiced primary care pediatrics in the US Navy for 10 years and then completed a fellowship in pediatric infectious disease at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
He continued to practice both pediatrics and pediatric infectious disease at the National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center serving in several positions, including chair of pediatrics and then as joint pediatric residency program director for the programs at NNMC and WRAMC.
He retired from the Navy after 23 years of active duty and then moved to University of Massachusetts Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care where he served as pediatric infectious disease consultant, pediatric primary care physician, head of the pediatric travel medicine clinic, consultant for international adoptions, and physician leader for the pediatric primary care and subspecialty clinics which served over 50,000 patients per year.
For 18 years he has been an active member of the MA Chapter of the AAP’s Immunization Initiative and has provided dozens of “Immunization Updates” to care providers across the state of Massachusetts. Since retiring from clinical practice in 2015 he has provided more than 30 vaccine update conferences around the state. He is working with the MA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Cancer Society to increase HPV vaccine uptake, and has been working on an AAP Chapter project to increase vaccine confidence. He has won numerous teaching awards and in 2014 was recognized as a CDC Childhood Immunization Champion from Massachusetts.
“I have a purpose, and it is not to be the smallest version of myself.” Today, that is one of Elizabeth’s favorite mantras. But this quote, from eating disorder survivor and self-acceptance advocate Simi Botic, didn’t always resonate with her.
Elizabeth always knew that she had a purpose. But from a very early age, she thought that purpose was to be perfect. In a house filled with chaos and chronic illness, Elizabeth felt she needed to appear happy, healthy, and high-achieving. But underneath, she was in pain. She felt uncomfortable in her own skin, terrified of disappointing the people around her, and ashamed of her inability to reach perfection and, thus, fulfill her purpose. This conviction that perfection was her purpose drove Elizabeth to seek control amidst the chaos of her surroundings through list-making, perseverating, self-harm, excessive exercise, and disordered eating. Eventually, it was too much and she attempted suicide to get away from her pain.
With the support of her loving parents, several hospitalizations, medication, and regular therapy, Elizabeth began to embrace mental health recovery, working toward balancing control with chaos and incorporating grounding techniques, yoga, and other skills she brought into her daily life.
When she got to college, Elizabeth experienced a traumatic assault that put her recovery on hold. This time, instead of trying to control the chaos she found herself experiencing once again, Elizabeth gave in to it. She began drinking heavily, and soon found her life governed by alcohol and substances, risky behaviors, and overwhelming depression. When Elizabeth woke up one early morning in handcuffs after an arrest she didn’t remember, she realized that if there was ever a time to give herself fully to recovery, this was it.
She started by abandoning the idea that her purpose was perfection. She started to live more in the “gray” of life instead of racing to occupy either the perfection or the chaos. She began to truly synthesize things she’d learned, and to put them into meaningful practice into her life. Most importantly, she committed to choosing recovery every day, because she knows now that she has a purpose, and that the things she was engaging in before – self-harm, disordered eating and excessive exercise, suicidal thoughts, substance use – were making her a smaller version of herself.
Today, Elizabeth thinks her purpose is to share her experience with others to help them recognize that they are not alone, that hope and healing are worth more than perfection, and that they, too, have an important purpose in this world.
Elizabeth is a speaker for Minding Your Mind’s Changing Minds: Stories Over Stigma program. She shares her experience with students, parents and caregivers, school personnel, and the community.
WILLIAM POTTS-DATEMA, MS, MCHES®, FASHA, FAAHE
Dr. William Potts-Datema has served in education and public health for 40 years, including service from local to international levels. He has held several national leadership positions in the United States including Chief of the Program Development and Services Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Adolescent and School Health, Director of Partnerships for Children’s Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, and Executive Director of the Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Potts-Datema is an adjunct professor in the School Health Education graduate program of Southern Connecticut State University. He also consults for government agencies and national non-profit organizations and is the United States representative for the UNESCO Chair for Global Health and Education.
He serves as President of the Foundation for the Advancement of Health Education, Secretary-Treasurer of the National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), Treasurer of the Society for Public Health Education, and Vice-Chair of the Missouri State University Alumni Association. He is also a board member of the CATCH Global Foundation, Georgia PTA, National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, and RMC Health. He previously served on the global boards of ASCD and the International Union for Health Promotion and Education; the national boards of the American Association for Health Education (AAHE), American School Health Association (ASHA), and National PTA; and as chair of the national board and a founding board member of Action for Healthy Kids.
He holds a Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of Georgia, and Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in Education degrees from Missouri State University. Dr. Potts-Datema has presented in 48 U.S. states and 12 other nations, and he has authored and contributed to numerous publications. He is a fellow of ASHA and AAHE and a member of Delta Omega national public health honorary society and Eta Sigma Gamma national health education honorary society.
LINDA PRICE, M.Ed., CAGS, LEP, E-RYT, YACEP
Linda Price earned her Master’s of Education Degree in School Adjustment Counseling and her Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in School Psychology in 1993 at Northeastern University.
With twenty-five years of experience in working with schools, Linda understands the stress level and demands placed on students and school personnel. She has combined this knowledge with her Mindfulness training to create opportunities for teaching schools, organizations, and parent groups about how to create a personal Mindfulness practice for self-care, as well as how to bring Social Emotional Learning and Mindfulness into schools and individual classrooms. In 2004, she founded Linda Price & Associates, LLC, offering holistic social skills groups incorporating yoga and Mindfulness for stress management, executive functioning, and self-regulation. In building her expertise, Linda became certified in Children’s Yoga from ‘Color Me Yoga’, completed a 200 hour yoga teacher certification, has received intensive training in Mindfulness, and participated in the Resilient Schools training from the Benson-Henry Institute through Massachusetts General Hospital. Linda was also trained as a Calm Classroom facilitator and took the Anti-Bullying and Cyberbullying Train the Trainer through the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC).
As a Licensed Educational Psychologist, Linda continues to provide individual and group counseling, workshops, and Mindful Parenting through her private practice, Wellness Empowerment, in Scituate, MA.
RENÉ RIVES, Program Manager, PFLAG
René is the Program Manager for Greater Boston PFLAG and is excited to combine his 15 years of experience in youth work, education, & public health to support educators, caregivers, community organizations, companies, & communities of faith in partnering with LGBTQ+ populations to meet their needs & challenge oppressive systems. He graduated from Lesley University with a B.S. in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy. He is particularly passionate about advocating for BIPOC LGBTQ+ youth populations. The ocean, chosen family, and his two cats are essential parts of his self-care that help sustain him in doing the work.
About Greater Boston PFLAG
We are a group of parents, families, friends, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. We help change attitudes and create an environment of understanding so that our LGBTQ family members and friends can live in a world that is safe and inclusive. We accomplish this through support, education, and advocacy. We offer; monthly support group meetings, confidential telephone support and information, parent-to-parent support, safe schools program teacher and student training, speakers bureau, community forums and evening programs, scholarship programs, and additional resources.
Greater Boston PFLAG works to create environments of understanding so that all people can live with dignity and respect through:
- Support: to cope with an adverse society
- Education: to enlighten the public
- Advocacy: to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights
Greater Boston PFLAG provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.
MATTHEW JOHN RODRIQUEZ
Matthew John is an active and committed public servant, championing the well being of ALL children, particularly the most vulnerable. Matthew’s volunteer and civic engagement efforts, including 17 years volunteering with local, regional, and state PTA units, has focused on particular issues facing youth in the juvenile justice system and those suffering from bullying. In his current role as President of the Illinois Parent Teacher Association, inclusion and diversity are at the forefront of his platform.
He currently represents IL PTA on over a dozen state and federal committees and councils including the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education. He is the Governor’s P-20 Family Engagement Committee Chair, and the LULAC Vice President of Youth for the state education chapter. Matthew is the proud father of two son’s Mateo and Joshua, ages 22, and 7, who are the reason why he became engaged in education. They are also his inspiration for advocating on behalf of ALL children and families by empowering other parents to do the same.
In addition to his passion for the community, Matthew is a skilled mechanic, fixing just about anything that moves – from planes, trains, and automobiles, to construction equipment. He has worked in aviation for 25 years and currently manages the aircraft maintenance-planning department at United Airlines. He also serves as the chair of Latin American Affairs for United as part of their multicultural business resource group.
JUAN SAN MIGUEL
Personal and Professional Information
- Owner/Conservator/Guardian/Trustee with Louisa’s Legacy since 2012.
Care Coordination Services 2012-1017
- Care Coordinator, Southcentral Foundation 8/04-9/11
Lead Care Coordinator supervising 7 care coordinators and support staff assisting elderly and adults with disability under the Choice Medicaid Waiver Program with Home and Community Based Services.
- Care Coordinator, Alzheimer’s Resource Agency 12/01-8/04
Care Coordinator supervising 7 care coordinators and support staff assisting elderly and adults with disability under the Choice Medicaid Waiver Program with Home and Community Based Services.
- Nutrition/Operations Manager, Salvation Army 9/92-3/94 12/96-12/01
Manager of Home and Community Based Service Program serving HD meals, congregate meals, transportation, chores, and supportive employment serving the elderly and adults with disability community in Anchorage.
- Manager, Salvation Army Clitheroe Center 3/94-7/96
Manage full food service operation serving nutritious meals to clients recovering from alcohol and drug abuse
- 14 years Military Food Service experience- Sergeant First Class, United States Army
- Past President, Alaska PTA
- Past Member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, National PTA
- Past Member of the Military Family Support Committee, National PTA
- Current Member of the Field Services Committee, National PTA
- Past President, Alaska State Association of Guardians and Advocates
- Current Board Member, Alaska State Association of Guardians and Advocates
Honors and Awards (Optional)
- Leadership Anchorage Graduate- Class 10
- Honor Graduate US Army Basic Noncommissioned Officer’s Course
- Distinguished Honor Graduate US Army Advance Noncommissioned Officer’s Course
- Bronze and Silver Medals in US Army Culinary Competition
- Nationally Certified Guardian from National Guardianship Association
Abdel is a student-centered instructional leader with sixteen years of experience in education. His passion for teaching the whole student is only second to his commitment to create a more equitable and just society where everyone feels they belong and has the resources they need to be successful. He believes that teaching is the most sacred profession in the world as it deals with the most precious subjects in our communities: our children.
Abdel earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico and two master’s degrees, a Master of Divinity and a Master of Art, from St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore. He also studied school administration at the Northeast Consortium for Staff Development. Abdel has previously been a classroom teacher for children and adults, a union representative, and an assistant principal. He has taught professional development seminars on culturally responsive teaching, trauma informed classrooms, and equity in education.
Abdel trained for two years with Harvard’s Reimagining Integration: Diverse and Equitable Schools program, was awarded a Fellowship from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation in 2019 to attend the Reimagining Education Summer Institute at the Teachers College in Columbia University, and is a member of the first cohort of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Influence 100 fellows. For the last five years Abdel has been a principal with the Malden Public Schools District. He recently became the new principal of the Peabody School in Cambridge, MA. His philosophy of education is summarized in the saying “it is the relationship that saves.”
JANE MOLLO SINGH
Jane Mollo Singh is a lifelong coach and athlete. Jane earned her certification as a health coach through Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2011 and is also a meditation guide certified through Boston Buddha Meditation for EveryoneTM since 2015.
She also is certified in yoga for children and adults. The desire to share this knowledge with others and connect and promote those that do wellness work within our community led Jane to create and organize the Norwood Community Wellness Fair in 2014 and 2016.
In 2017, she co founded Shine Bright Workshops with Christine Chastanet, Maire Seery, and Soni Sayana. They have taught mindfulness in the local area elementary and middle schools for the past 4 years. She can be reached at email@example.com or check out the website for more information on the amazing work they are privileged to do www.shinebrightworkshops.com
Becca Shor is the Director of the Systems for Student Success at the Department and oversees work to design and delivers resource, professional development, grants, and assistance to enhance integrated, tiered, and systemic approaches to supporting the social emotional and academic needs of all students, and especially those who have been historically marginalized (e.g. students of color, students with disabilities, English learners, etc).
JONATHAN WINICKOFF, MD, MPH
Dr. Winickoff is a practicing pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on strategies to address tobacco use and exposure in families. His research has led to the creation of the Clinical Effort Against Secondhand Smoke Exposure (CEASE) program, now available in all 50 states.
In addition to over 120 peer-reviewed original research publications, he has drafted key tobacco control policy and served as a scientific advisor for the CDC Communities Putting Prevention to Work, the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program, Head Start, WIC, the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Academy of Medicine, and the U.S. Surgeon General through the Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health.
Recently, he has contributed to efforts supporting resolutions for smokefree public housing and raising the legal age of tobacco sale to 21 years. In 2016, Dr. Winickoff advocated at the White House in favor of national legislation to make all U.S. government public housing smokefree. National smokefree public housing regulations were enacted in 2017. In a separate volunteer campaign that Dr. Winickoff co-founded with Dr. Hartman, 175 cities and towns in Massachusetts adopted tobacco 21 sales laws from 2013-2019 and with his supportive research and testimony informing the process, New York City adopted this legislation. These efforts formed a template for successful legislation in many states and on December 20, 2019, President Trump signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years, effective immediately. In 2018, he started volunteering with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and others across the country to combat the epidemic of JUULing and e-cigarette use in youth. In 2019, Dr. Winickoff testified before congress about the adolescent vaping epidemic and potential policy solutions. One constant theme in Dr. Winickoff’s career has been trying to make a difference in children’s lives through social justice initiatives and the translation of research findings into advocacy and improved clinical practice.