Featured Speaker - Joby Holcomb

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The Intersections Between School Mental Health, Climate & Culture, and Educational Equity

Joby Holcomb, LMHC, CADC, Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor, received his Master’s degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Joby has worked with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families in a variety of settings including Psychiatric Medical Institutes for Children, outpatient substance abuse treatment and private practice mental health.


Joby is a passionate advocate for school climate and culture and renowned speaker on student mental health systems and supports, bullying prevention, trauma-informed care, and adverse childhood experiences. He is a nationally-recognized speaker, leading presentations and speaking engagements in Nebraska, Wisconsin, Missouri, Oregon, and Minnesota.

Featured Speaker - Ms. Jessica Sadler

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Meet Our Spirit of Education Award Winner Jessica Sadler

  Jessica Sadler has been a teacher in Kansas for the last seven years. She spent one year teaching 3rd grade and four years teaching 5th grade before moving to the middle school level. Jessica now teaches 6th grade science and facilitates the STEM Connection program at Oregon Trail Middle School in Olathe. Jessica attended the University of Kansas and holds a Master’s Degree in special education. Jessica’s goal in teaching is to provide authentic and engaging learning opportunities that push students to new heights.

Kansas City Workshop Presentations

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Developing & Managing a Comprehensive Suicide Prevention Program

Dr. Stephanie Amaya, Cheryl Gunn-Seidler & Dr. Deborah Miller  - Park Hill School District  

Public education is sitting inside an epidemic of increased suicide rates in youth.  We will discuss current research on this topic, how to develop a comprehensive suicide prevention program and how to manage and respond to adolescent mental health crisis.   

Supercharged Capacity Building through Intentional Interactions

Selena Eckstrom & Amber Boyington -  Racial and Social Justice Cadre, Olathe NEA 

Are you bored of the same old capacity building activities? Then get Supercharged! Be ready to learn how to strengthening collaboration skills and enhance connections between people through intentional interactions. Participants will walk away with tools that will inspire them to build capacity throughout their organizations or work places. They will have access to the presentation materials that they can customize and use within their professional settings directly after the session. 


This presentation will be an engaging session that will utilize a variety of real and multimedia sources to provide an assortment of tools to lead supercharged activities that enhance interaction, community, and self-realization with students, parents or employees.   

"REAL" Classroom Management

Raina Martin, Ed.D.; Claire Slama, LCSW - Columbia Public Schools

This session will describe a systematic and proactive approach to classroom management called: REAL Classroom Management. REAL simply stands for Relationships, Expectations, Assertiveness and Learning through Self-Refection. Each of these concepts are research-based and vital in the process of classroom management. Through small-group discussion facilitated by expert facilitators, educators will learn how to build stronger relationships with students/parents/co-workers, have high behavior expectations for their classrooms, regain control of their classrooms and learn to better self-reflect on their own actions and behaviors.  

SAFETY: It Doesn't Happen By Accident

Kari Dorn -  Retired Business/Technology Teacher - Battle Lake, MN 

Educators have one of the most difficult yet most important jobs in America. My passion for helping educators succeed through motivation, inspiration, and a common-sense approach to stress management allows me to provide teachers with research based, proven, practical techniques and strategies that they can start implementing immediately in their classrooms. I want to help educators eliminate 80-90% of the pesky low-level behavioral issues that occur every day all day long in classrooms across America. This will give educators more time to teach, improve classroom climate, and create a safe environment for their students to learn.

Let's have a conversation about youth & mental health

Michelle Irwin - First Call Alcohol/Drug Prevention & Recovery 

Education on the importance of opening the door for a conversation with youth on mental health issues they are experiencing or a friend is experiencing. Attendees will learn warning signs, risk factors, and how to interact with a youth they are concerned about including interactive roll playing. An overview of myths and facts concerning youth suicide and other mental health issues, along with an introduction to a  universal prevention program for the school.

Building Culture Through Reader Identity: Stories that Change Lives

Amy Rousselo Adam & Victoria Lynch - Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools

How can culturally responsive literature, written for teens, be used as professional learning for adults, help build safe cultures of empathy, as well as impact individual lives? Come learn about structures for using fiction in your setting for small groups, large groups, and individuals in order to develop a culture which promotes a safe and inclusive environment for all stakeholders.  

Common Ground: Collaboration Between Kids Who Are Gifted and Kids with Intellectual Disabilities

Rhonda Stock & Summer Cowick - Santa Fe Trail Middle School

What can a class of academically and intellectually gifted students possibly have in common with a class of students with intellectual disabilities? More than you might think. Both groups struggle with the same awkward social behaviors. Both groups can find it hard to make friends and to "fit in" with their peers. Learn how to bring these groups together in ways that enrich the students emotionally and intellectually, and contribute to a positive school climate. 

Using Technology to Advance Inclusion and Accessibility

Jennifer Kennedy - Olathe Public Schools 

This presentation aims to introduce K-12 educators and administrators to the ways in which Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft OneNote can be incorporated to foster a positive school climate.  We will demonstrate the accessibility features of each platform that can engage learners with diverse needs and backgrounds.  Participants will receive an overview of these platforms and accessibility tools as well as time to explore how each might best fit their needs.