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

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.  

Co-Chair

Nikki Sutton

Nikki Sutton, Psy.D., Argosy University--Sarasota Campus 

Occupation: Program Manager of MTSS Implementation for Muscogee County School District (Columbus, GA)

Hometown:Ocala, FL

Nikki's favorite advocacy activity is ensuring all students access to comprehensive learning supports within an integrated service delivery system.  

Central Region GPR Members

Chuck Archer, MA

Occupation: Retired Pracitioner

Hometown: Zanesville, OH

Chuck Archer has been involved in state level advocacy efforts for many years and is particularly interested in school safety, social justice issues, mental and behavioral health service provision, and in promoting the school psychology profession. 

Northeast Region GPR Members

Julia Szarko, Ph.D.

Occupation: School Psychologist

Hometown: Doylestown, PA

Julia's favorite advocacy activities include collaborating with elected officials as well as advocating for legislation related to school safety, comprehensive school psychological services, increased access to school mental health personnel, and multi-tiered systems of support.

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

Chavez Phelps, Ph.D.

Occupation: Assistant Professor of School Pscyhology, Director, Georgia State University

Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana

Chavez Phelps enjoys meeting with legislators to advocate for the profession and to promote best practices and services for children and adolescents. Also, Chavez finds it rewarding to empower members through grassroots advocacy initiatives.

Meagan Medley, Ph.D., LP, NCSP

Occupation: Assistant Professor of Psychology, Arkansas State University

Hometown: Collierville, TN

Meagan's favorite advocacy activities include providing technical assistance and consultation to government entities and legislators about the field of school psychology, school psychologists, school safety, and comprehensive school psychological services.

Shlon Smith, Ph.D. student, University of Georgia

GPR Role: Student Representative

Hometown: Rochester, NY

Shlon's favorite advocacy activity is organizing outreach activities to increase awareness of school psychology, discussing educational law and policy with the public, and staying informed about national and state legislation that impacts students and families.

Western Region GPR Members

Tess Melendrez

Kristin Rush, M.S.

Occupation: School Psychologist, Springfield Public Schools

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Kristin Rush's favorite advocacy activities include advocating for school psychologists as mental and behavioral health providers, including suicide prevention specialists and school climate and safety experts. She also enjoys ensuring that all students have access to mental health services that include a full continuum of supports accessed through multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS). 

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.

Becca Murdoch, University of Alabama

Occupation: NASP Manager of Policy and Advocacy

Hometown: Montgomery, Alabama

Becca's favorite advocacy-related activities include sharing the incredible work school psychologists are doing on the ground with members of Congress and the Department of Education, supporting states with their advocacy efforts, and writing and editing posts for the Policy Matters blog. 

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. 

Rep. DeLauro's Acceptance Speech

The GPR Committee honored Senator Patty Murray (WA) at the NASP 2013 Annual Convention with the Special Friend of Children Award for her leadership and advocacy in brining greater awareness to social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students struggling to succeed in school.