Policy Matters Blog

2019 NASP/GW Public Policy Institute Featured Speakers

The 2019 NASP/George Washington University Public Policy Institute is just a little over two months away, and we're thrilled to share some of our confirmed presenters for this year's conference!

Our 3-Day basic training focuses on how federal and state education policy and grassroots advocacy shapes positive learning environments for all students. In this training, you will build your foundational knowledge and skills of education law, grassroots advocacy, and elements that promote and sustain safe school environments that are conducive to learning.

Our 2-day special topic focus (available only to previous PPI attendees) and 5-day advanced training will further investigate the factors that contribute to safe and successful schools, examine different school climate and safety models and identify practical policies, professional practices, and advocacy strategies for improving access to a high quality, safe and successful schools for diverse learners.

Keep in mind that early bird registration ends on Memorial Day (May 27th), after which prices will increase.

Check out the confirmed presenters below! 

Featured Basic Training Presenters

Michael Yudin,  J.D.,  Principal, Raben Group; and Former Asst. Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and Acting Asst. Secretary of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education (Obama Administration), Washington, DC   

Michael Yudin, J.D.

Michael K. Yudin, J.D. brings the expertise of a career spent advocating for equitable opportunities for educationally disadvantaged children and youth to his role as Principal at The Raben Group. Prior to joining the firm, Michael worked on behalf of the Obama Administration at the U.S. Department of Education for six years, serving the Secretary in a number of capacities, including Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.  

In his capacity as Assistant Secretary, Michael led the Department's efforts to effectively administer twenty-two federal disability grant programs, totaling approximately $15 billion, designed to improve the educational and employment outcomes of infants, toddlers, children, youth, and adults with disabilities. Working with the Secretary and other senior leaders across the Department of Education, Members of Congress, the White House, and other federal agencies, he helped guide the formulation, development, and implementation of policy designed to ensure equal opportunity and access to, and excellence in, education and employment for individuals with disabilities.  

In particular, Michael worked to ensure students with disabilities were held to the highest standards and expectations, improve postsecondary education and employment opportunities, and address issues of racial and ethnic disparities in special education. He also helped the Department with implementation of the newly reauthorized ESEA. Michael also took a leadership role in the Department's efforts to Rethink Discipline, promoting alternatives to exclusionary discipline policies that disproportionately exclude students of color and students with disabilities from the classroom.  

Additionally, Michael served on a number of interagency boards and committees, including as a member of the Early Childhood Interagency Policy Board, co-chair of the Federal Partners in Transition, and as chair of the U.S. Access Board. As Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, he oversaw a number of the Secretary's critical priorities, including ESEA flexibility and initiatives to turn around low- performing schools and improve teacher and leader effectiveness.  

Prior to joining the Department, Michael served nine years as a U.S. Senate staffer, serving as the legislative director for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, senior counsel to Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, and HELP Committee counsel to Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont.  

Working for senior members of the HELP Committee, Michael helped draft, negotiate, and pass various pieces of legislation, including the No Child Left Behind Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, and reauthorization of the Head Start Act.   

Renee Bradley, Deputy Division Director, Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC  

Renee Bradley, Ph.D.  has over twenty-five years experience in special education. She began her career as a teacher of students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. During those eight years she worked in a variety of settings from self-contained to an inclusion program to providing homebound services working with children preschool through high school.  

In 1997, Renee joined the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs as a program specialist on the National Initiatives Team. In 1998, she became the Special Assistant to the Director of Research to Practice. Among her responsibilities she is the project officer for the National Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions. She coordinated the OSEP LD Initiative and served as the project officer for the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities.  

She has written and contributed to numerous publications, serves on several professional publication boards, and is a frequent presenter on special education issues. Renee has a bachelors and masters in special education from the College of Charleston and her Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy from the University of South Carolina.

Mike Booher, Consultant and Trainer, Safe and Civil Schools, Portland, OR

Mike Booher began his career as a school psychologist for the Greensboro Public Schools in North Carolina. After ten years working with individual students in the schools, he moved into supervisory positions serving first as a Lead School Psychologist and later as the Supervisor of Psychological Services for Guilford County Schools, where he provided leadership in implementing all services delivered by school psychologists district wide. In this position, he developed highly effective school intervention and assistance teams, crisis intervention services, professional development activities for teachers and parents, and ADHD interventions. He also realized the need for, and subsequently coordinated, the Responsible Discipline Program (RDP), a schoolwide discipline and classroom management program based on Foundationsand CHAMPs.

For much of his career, Mike has worked with school crisis and suicide intervention teams. As the Supervisor of Psychological Services in Guilford County, he served as a co-trainer for the district's suicide intervention training, and as a co-leader of one of the district's two crisis teams. For eleven years during this time, he also provided suicide intervention training to teams in a variety of school districts in North Carolina.

In addition, Mike has taught at several colleges and universities, lecturing on a variety of topics from Brain-based learning strategies in the classroom to Serving students at risk of school failure. Until recently, he served as a Clinical Instructor for the School Psychological Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Affiliation with Save and Civil Schools.  Mike's extensive knowledge of the psychological needs of students, his supervisory experience, and his comprehensive understanding of SCS programs make him an ideal trainer for us. He is qualified to present:

  • Foundations: Establishing Positive Discipline Policies
  • CHAMPs: A Proactive and Positive Approach to Classroom Management
  • START on Time! Safe Transitions and Reduced Tardies
  • Interventions: Evidence-Based Behavioral Strategies for Individual Students
  • Teacher's Encyclopedia of Behavior Management
  • ParaPro: Supporting the Instructional Process
  • 25 Minutes to Better Behavior

As an SCS consultant, Mike works with school teams and selected administrators from school districts across the country on how to implement Safe & Civil Schools programs. He has worked with school teams from California to South Carolina and points in between.

Mike holds and M.Ed. in School Counseling/School Psychology, Wake Forest University, NC.  

Deb Temkin, Senior Program Area Director for Education, Child Trends  

Deborah Temkin, Ph.D., is a recognized leader in the fields of school climate and school-based prevention. Her work on bullying prevention led to a position in the U.S. Dept. of Education, where she led the Federal Initiative on Bullying Prevention and was a finalist for the 2012 Call to Service Medal of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals. She played a major role in creating stopbullying.gov and coordinated the 2011 White House Conference on Bullying, among other initiatives. She has been cited and quoted by The Washington PostPoliticoCNNEducation Week, and U.S. News & World Report, among other publications.  

Dr. Temkin currently leads Child Trends' education program area, where her work focuses on the intersections between education and healthy social and emotional development.  Among other projects, she serves as the Principal Investigator of three school-based evaluations: a $3.8 million four-year evaluation of the Safe School Certification Program in DC public and public charter schools funded by the National Institute of Justice's Comprehensive School Safety Initiative; a multi-year evaluation of school start time changes funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and a one-year retrospective evaluation of the DC Healthy Schools Act under contract with the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Additionally, Dr. Temkin serves as a senior advisor to the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments. She also regularly blogs about bullying, school climate, and other education related issues for the Huffington Post. Dr. Temkin continues to consult with policymakers and other decision makers about bullying prevention policies and initiatives, including serving as an expert consultant to the DC Office of Human Rights on the implementation of the Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012. She is in search of ways to improve the conditions for learning in schools. She is looking for opportunities to study and improve youth engagement, student safety and support, and education policies relating to student health.

Kristen Harper, Director of Policy Development, Child Trends, Bethesda, MD

Kristen Harper brings to Child Trends a wealth of expertise in utilizing research to drive policy decision making and promote better outcomes for youth. She serves as a strategic advisor working to continuously improve the policy relevance of Child Trends' portfolio and connect researchers with local, state, and federal officials. Kristen is also a nationally recognized expert on education policy, racial and ethnic disparities in education, school discipline policy, and school health and climate, and has been cited and quoted by The Wall Street Journal, the Associated PressPolitico, Education Week, U.S. News & World Report, and The 74, among other publications. Kristen is a proud member of the 2019-2021 class of the Annie E. Casey Foundations' Child and Family Fellowship.  

Currently, Kristen is the principal investigator of a study to examine how shifts in Medicaid policy have influenced reimbursements for school-based health services and school capacity to promote health equity. She serves as a senior advisor for multiple projects-funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-dedicated to improving school health, school safety, and adolescent health. Kristen previously led a project to build a framework to assess how states support children and youth with special health care needs.

Kristen came to Child Trends after serving for seven years in the U.S. Department of Education, where she was a chief architect of the agency's efforts to improve conditions for learning. As a senior policy advisor for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), she authored federal regulations to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the identification, placement, and discipline of children with disabilities. In this role, Kristen also directed the Department's efforts to promote alternatives to suspension under the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, a partnership launched in 2011 between the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to address exclusionary and punitive discipline. Her leadership in addressing school discipline continued under the federal My Brother's Keeper initiative, a taskforce launched in 2014 to improve outcomes for young men and boys of color. Prior to OSERS, Kristen served in the Department's elementary and secondary education offices advancing policy initiatives to improve school climate and conditions for learning. With her guidance, the Department established, in 2010, the first federal grant to support the use of survey measurement to improve school climate programming.

Advanced and Special Topic Training Featured Presenters

Serena La Rocque, Director of Education, National School Climate Center, New York, NY

Serena La Rocque is the Director of Education at the National School Climate Center (NSCC) and brings in diverse expertise from her decade of experience in education. She has worked as a math teacher, an education consultant, project manager, and a researcher. As the Director of Education at NSCC, she builds the capacity of district, regional, and state leaders, with a keen focus on positive school climate. Serena uses high impact leadership approaches in the area of strategic planning, infrastructure building, district and school readiness, and resource development. She leads NSCC's education large scale projects, including our multi-year partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, Serena has worked with the New Jersey Department of Education to help edit their curriculum to integrate social emotional learning  competencies into the classroom. She received her Masters in Urban Education Policy from Brown University.

David Bateman, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education, Shippensburg University, PA    

David Bateman has a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Kansas.  He was a classroom teacher of students with learning disabilities, behavior disorders, intellectual disabilities, and hearing impairments.  He is a professor at Shippensburg University in the department of Educational Leadership and Special Education where he teaches courses to future teachers and administrators in learning disabilities, special education law, and the introduction to special education.  He is former Due Process Hearing Officer for over 580 hearings. He uses his knowledge of litigation relating to special education to assist school districts in providing appropriate supports for students with disabilities. He is currently Public Policy Chair of the Division for Learning Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children. He is the co-author of A Principal's Guide to Special Education, The Special Education Program Administrator's Handbook, and A Teacher's Guide to Special Education.   

Angela Mann, Assistant Professor, University of Northern FL

Angela Mann, Ph.D., BCBA, NCSP is credentialed as a school psychologist, behavior analyst, and licensed psychologist. This makes her uniquely qualified to address the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs of youth. She has trained at some of the most prestigious clinics in the country including the Kennedy Krieger Institute at John's Hopkins Medicine for children with disruptive behavior disorders as well as the Rothman Institute at All Children's Hospital also part of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Prior to her formal training in these clinics, Dr. Mann had the opportunity to participate as a counselor in the University of Buffalo Summer Treatment Program for children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), part of the well-regarded Multimodal Treatment of AD/HD (MTA) series of studies.  

Dr. Mann currently serves on the Board of Directors at the National Association of School Psychologists and the Florida Association of School Psychologists. She is also a member of the First Coast Association of Behavior Analysis.  

Dr. Mann is trained in multiple therapy modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention, applied behavior analysis, dialectical behavior therapy, mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy, and Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). She is able to apply these techniques to address a variety of needs for youth including symptoms of anxiety, depression, self harm, executive functioning difficulties, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Selective Mutism, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and other pediatric concerns including sleep and toileting concerns.   

Dr. Mann's lab, The Social Justice in Schools Lab, investigates social justice and community inclusion for youth with challenging behaviors.    

Ben Fernandez, Coordinator of Prevention Services, Loudoun County Public Schools, VA

Benjamin S. Fernandez, M.Ed., completed his graduate studies in School Psychology at Bucknell University and has worked as a school psychologist in Pennsylvania and Virginia with 22 years of experience as a practitioner. Currently, he serves as the Coordinator of Prevention Services for Loudoun County Public Schools where he coordinates various psychological services and division wide mental health programs for general education and special education students.  Mr. Fernandez also manages the coordination of crisis teams and the implementation of crisis intervention services.   In addition to these duties, he is a PREPaRE WS1 and WS2 master trainer and is responsible for training school psychologists, school psychologist interns, school social workers, and school counselors for his division.  Additionally, he has contributed to presentations, articles, books, and webinars related to youth suicide, PREPaRE, and school safety and crisis intervention. Mr. Fernandez conducts workshops on PREPaRE and trainings on school safety and crisis response on the local, state, and national levels. He has testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and Federal Commission on School Safety.  In 2010, he was named School Psychologist of the Year by the Virginia Academy of School Psychologists and in 2012, he was named School Psychologist of the Year by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). In 2015 and 2018, Mr. Fernandez received the NASP Presidential Award.  He also is a member and currently is professional development lead for NASP's School Safety and Crisis Response Committee.  Additionally, he is recognized for his significant contributions to building safe schools as a "critical friend" of the National Coalition for Safe Schools.