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.  


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.  


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.

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

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.

María Rolón-Martínez, PhD

Occupation: School Psychologist

Hometown: Fajardo, Puerto Rico

María's favorite advocacy-related activity is advocating for school safety, mental and behavioral services in schools and communities, trauma-informed practice, and multi-tiered systems of support.

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.

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). 

Eileen Cullen, M.A.

Occupation: PhD Student, University of Denver

Hometown: Merritt Island, FL

Eileen's favorite advocacy activities are advocating for transgender and gender diverse youth’s rights in sports and schools as well as engaging in grassroots conversations with practitioners, educators, and community members to co-create an understanding of how legislation and legislative advocacy impact their day to day lives and job roles and responsibilities.

NASP Staff

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

Occupation: NASP Director of Policy and Advocacy

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.

Maria Cornell, Georgetown University 

Occupation: NASP Manager of Policy and Advocacy

Hometown: Boise, Idaho

Maria's favorite advocacy-related activities include working to advance equity and inclusion in schools, supporting the incredible work school psychologists are doing across the country and sharing it with members of Congress and the Department of Education, and supporting states with their local advocacy efforts.

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.