Government and Professional Relations (GPR) Committee

The GPR Committee is dedicated to promoting school psychological services and effective mental health and educational services for all children and their families through appropriate legislation, advocacy, and public policy development and implementation. 

Activities that the GPR committee engage in include, but are not limited to: providing assistance to states on advocacy and public policy related activities upon request (including grassroots and/or advanced advocacy training); professional development focused on educating school psychologists about key policy and advocacy initiatives; meeting with elected officials; writing policy papers; staying abreast of public policy and advocacy related issues; presenting advocacy related sessions and running a GPR advocacy booth at the NASP Annual Convention; helping develop the annual Public Policy Institute (PPI); and resource development.  

If you are interested in learning more about how the GPR committee can help you find your advocacy voice, provide advocacy training, access information, or answer questions please contact a GPR committee member.  

Chair

Katie Eklund, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

Occupation: Assistant Professor of School Psychology, Univeristy of Missouri

Hometown: Denver, Colorado (Central Region)

Katie's favorite advocacy-related topics in school mental health, social emotional learning, and school safety. Her favorite advocacy-related activities include talking to principals, superintendents, and community members about school psychology and meeting with elected officials.

Co-Chair

Nate von der Embse, Ph.D., Michigan State Univeristy

Occupation: Assistant Professor of School Psychology, University of South Florida

Hometown: Tampa, Florida (Southeast Region)

Nate's favorite advocacy-related issues include test-based accountability, state educational standards (Common Core), and increasing access to school-based mental health services.

Central Region GPR Members

Elly Maras, M.Ed./Ed.S. candidate, John Carroll University, 

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

GPR Role: Graduate Student Representative 

Elly's favorite advocacy-related activities include staying informed on legisltation through social media and then taking action via phone calls when there is a relevant issue.



Kari Oyen, Ph.D., The Univeristy of South Dakota

Occupation: Assistant Professor of School Psychology at The University of South Dakota

Hometown: Chancellor, South Dakota

Kari's favorite advocacy-related issues include advocating for comprehensive school-based mental health services in rural areas, the role of rural school psychologists, advocating for school-wide academic and behavioral supports, as well as advocating for the prevention of the inappropriate use of seclusion and restraints in schools.  

Northeast Region GPR Members

Barry Barbarasch, Ed.S. Temple Univeristy

Occupation: School Psychologist

Hometown: Princeton Junction, New Jersey

Barry's advocacy-related interests include advocating for comprehensive school psychological services.

Peter Faustino, Psy.D.,  Fairleigh Dickinson University

Occupation: School Psychologist

Hometown: Rye Brook, New York

Peter's favorite advocacy-related activities include taking Gumby to Capitol Hill office visits.

Southeast Region GPR Members

Paul Baker, Psy.D., Eastern Kentucky Univeristy

Occupation: School Psychologist

Hometown: Staffordsville, Kentucky

Paul's favorite advocacy-related issues include MTSS, Medicaid funding, and school psychology shortages and rural issues.

Western Region GPR Members

Brittany Greiert, Ph.D., University of Denver

Occupation: School Psychologist and Adjunct Faculty at the University of Denver

Hometown: Denver, Colorado

Brittany's favorite advocacy-related activities include advocating on the Hill at the GW/NASP Public Policy Institute.

Margaret Sedor, Ph.D. candidate, SDSU-GGU

Occupation: School Psychologist

Hometown, San Diego, CA

Margaret's favorite advocacy-related activities include advocating for the role of school psychologists as mental and behavioral health providers and facilitating state advocacy trainings.

NASP Staff

Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach, Ph.D., George Mason University

Occupation: NASP Director of Government Relations

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina 

Kelly's favorite advocacy-related activities include representing NASP and school psychologists on Capitol Hill, with the Department of Education, and on various national coalitions to advance our legislative goals and public policy priorities including: increasing access to school psychologists; promoting increased federal investments in education; protecting the civil rights of all students; improving equity in education; protecting school based Medicaid; increasing access to comprehensive school based mental health services; creating safe and supportive learning environments for all students; ESSA implementation; IDEA implementation and reauthorization; and  promoting and protecting the profession of school psychology.

Christina Koch, B.A., American Univeristy 

Occupation: NASP Manager of Professional Relations

Hometown: Wellfleet, Massachusetts

Christina's favorite advocacy-related issues include comprehensive school mental health services and trauma, and her favorite advocacy-related activities include using social media for advocacy and informing others about the benefits of advocating on social media.

GPR State Training Application

The Government and Professional Relations (GPR) and Assistance to States (ATS) committees offer trainings for state associations to help improve their organizational and operational capacity and improve school psychologist's ability to engage in grassroots professional and legislative advocacy. Trainings are customized to meet the unique needs of the state association requesting the training. 

Policy Matters Blog

View NASP's Policy Matters blog where NASP staff, leaders, and other professionals contribute content regarding NASP's policy priorities.