Revitalizing Our School Communities Presenters
Christopher Bellonci, MD
Dr. Christopher Bellonci is a Board-Certified Child/Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist; and Vice President for Policy and Practice/Chief Medical Officer at Judge Baker Children’s Center (jbcc.harvard.edu). Dr. Bellonci is a member of AACAP’s Workgroup on Quality Issues which is responsible for writing the practice parameters that define the standards of care for the field of child psychiatry. He is currently leading the Clinical Distance Learning Series of the TA Network in support of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s Systems of Care initiative. Dr. Bellonci is a founding member of SAMHSA’s Building Bridges Initiative and LGBTQI2-S National Workgroup. He was also a member of the Outcomes Roundtable for Children and Families. In 2008 he provided testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor regarding unlicensed and unregulated boot camps and wilderness programs as well as the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support regarding the increasing use of psychotropic medications for children in the Child Welfare System. Dr. Bellonci provides consultation, lectures and technical assistance nationally on the subjects of child psychiatric practice, foster care, special education, residential treatment, sexual minority youth and mental health best practices.
Nicholas Covino, PsyD
Dr. Nicholas Covino is president of William James College and a practicing psychologist. His clinical career has been devoted to caring for the psychological needs of medical patients and engaging in long-term psychotherapy with adults, and his research interests have mirrored his clinical work. Before coming to William James, he was the Director of Psychology and Director of Training at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He is a psychoanalyst, a member of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and a former faculty member at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Covino was named the second president of William James College in 2002. Under his leadership, the college has grown from a single-degree institution to one with 4 academic departments and specialty training in military, global, forensic, and leadership psychology. In addition, the college offers consultative services to schools, courts, and business.
John D'Auria, EdD
Dr. D’Auria’s research focuses on the ways in which the assumptions that people hold about intelligence significantly influence their learning. He co-authored School Systems That Learn with Dr. Paul Ash (Corwin Press, 2012) and is the author of Ten Lessons in Leadership and Learning (2010), a resource geared toward new and experienced leaders. Dr. D’Auria authored a curriculum for aspiring school leaders called “The DNA of Leadership,” which became a cornerstone for the Leadership Licensure Program sponsored by the Massachusetts School Administrators Association. Additionally, Dr. D’Auria co-authored How To Bring Vision to School Improvement (Research for Better Teaching, 1993) with Dr. Jon Saphier. He is a frequent speaker at national and regional educational conferences and has served as an executive coach to a wide variety of educational leaders across the country.
Laura Danna, LCSW-BACS
Laura Danna, LCSW-BACS, is the clinical director of Project Fleur-de-lis (PFDL), a school-based mental health intervention designed in response to Hurricane Katrina to serve the children and families of New Orleans. The largest school-based mental health program in the New Orleans area, PFDL serves almost 60 schools and has nearly 30,000 children under its umbrella of care. A stepped-care approach using evidence-based models offers three levels of service: a school-based intervention available to all students, an individual and group intervention available to students with moderate stress levels, and community-based psychological services available to students with greater needs. Through PFDL, over 300 school counselors and social workers have been trained in CBITS.
André R Ravenelle is the Executive Director of Teachers21. Formerly the Superintendent of the Fitchburg Public Schools, he has been an innovative educator for close to three decades. His eclectic teaching and educational leadership background includes almost a decade of historical interpretation and craftsmanship at Old Sturbridge Village, teaching French, Spanish and art at Roxbury’s Mission High School, assistant principal of Chelsea High School, and administration of Barnstable and Lexington Public Schools. In the spring of 2006 he was chosen as one of 13 Massachusetts education administrators for a two week educational exchange in China. He holds a BA from Assumption College, MTh from Weston School of Theology, and a MEd from Boston College. Professionally, Andre was president of the Mass Association of School Superintendents in 2015, recipient of the 2016 MassInsight Partners in Excellence Award, serves on numerous education-related boards and collaboratives including the Governor’s After School and Out of School Coordinating Council; Fitchburg State University Professional Development Center; Fitchburg Art Museum; Co-chair of WGEE Working Group on Educational Excellence, FLLAC Collaborative; the Worcester County Superintendent’s Association; a member of the Harvard Roundtable and ASCD; and Co-Chair of the Health Coalition of Central Massachusetts. He was the 2014 recipient of the Fitchburg State University President’s Award; and the 2016 AASA Superintendent of the Year. He is married with two children, and enjoys “hiking, landscaping, pastel painting, and travel.”
Nadja Reilly, PhD
Nadja Reilly is a licensed psychologist with 20 years of clinical experience specializing in children, adolescents, and families. Dr. Reilly completed her graduate training at the University of Miami, Florida, and her clinical internship and post-doctoral fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital. She was a staff psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital for 12 years.
Dr. Reilly is currently the Associate Director of the Freedman Center for Child and Family Development at William James College. At the Freedman Center, Dr. Reilly focuses on prevention, school and community mental health work, consultation, curriculum and program development, and education. She is the Director of Training of the center’s American Psychological Association approved internship.She is also an Adjunct Faculty member in the School Psychology Department of William James College.
Dr. Reilly is the author of the book Anxiety and Depression in the Classroom: A Teacher’s Guide to Fostering Self Regulation in Young Students, editor of Preventing Depression: A Toolkit for Schools, co-editor of the How Not to Keep a Secret peer leadership curriculum, editor and primary author of the Break Free from Depression school curriculum, and executive producer of Break Free From Depression, a documentary focusing on adolescent depression.
Kelly Casey, PhD
Kelly Casey, PhD, is the Director of the Leon O. Brenner Assessment and Consultation Center at William James College.
Dr. Casey is a graduate of the California School of Professional Psychology. She trained at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and subsequently became a staff Psychologist for MGH. In 2012, Dr. Casey became a Training Director at MGH where, beyond managing training programs, she led neurocognitive assessments of middle-aged and older adults, including assessments of cognition and cognitive well-being.
In 2014, Dr. Casey left the Harvard University Hospital system to become Director of the Leon O. Brenner Assessment and Consultation Center at William James College, where she now oversees a large team of licensed psychologists, post-doctoral fellows, and pre-doctoral interns and their work in neurocognitive assessment.
Dr. Casey is a member of the Massachusetts Assessment Society, American Psychology Association and the Society for Psychological Assessment.
Dr. Casey has contributed to the SageMind program from its inception and currently oversees quality control and program protocols.
Bruce Ecker, PhD
Bruce Ecker is an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at William James College. He is a licensed clinical and educational psychologist with 40 years experience in clinics, schools, and hospitals. Dr. Ecker received his Ph.D. from the Clinical Psychology Training Program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He previously trained in school psychology at the University of Minnesota. He is past director of the child clinical concentration, Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience (CFAR). He is also the co-author of a recent book, High Impact Assessment Reports with Children and Adolescents. At present, he has particular interests in evidence-based psychotherapies and integrated behavioral-medical health care. Dr. Ecker was awarded the MSPP Excellence in Teaching Award in 2011. He held the Norbett Mintz Chair in Professional Psychology from 2014-2016. He was also given the Mass. Psychological Association’s Teacher of the Year award in 2020.
Margaret Hannah, MEd, GCEC
Margaret Hannah, M.Ed, GCEC, is the Executive Director of the Freedman Center for Child and Family Development at William James College. She received her master’s degree in education with a concentration in community counseling and psychology from the University of Miami. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from William James College and has completed two years of coursework in the Doctoral Program for Leadership Psychology at William James College. Ms. Hannah has worked in schools and agencies for over 25 years, designing and developing programs and facilitating teacher and parent education programs and support groups. She has served as a project director for three federal grants for the delivery of mental health services within schools, and a grant to integrate mental health services between schools and community agencies. She serves or has served on many committees and task forces within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts advocating for mental health services, including the Massachusetts Academy of Pediatrics Mental Health Task Force, serving as a Commissioner on the Governor’s Commission on Post-Partum Depression and the Commission on Behavioral Health and Upstream Prevention, Stakeholder group for the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative, and the City of Newton City-wide Emergency Response Team (CERT). In addition to serving as Executive Director of the Freedman Center at William James College, she teaches in the School Psychology Department as Adjunct Faculty.
Jason Kaplan, PhD, LEP, MCSP
Jason Kaplan is director of the William James College School Psychology PsyD Program and associate professor in the School Psychology Department. Prior to joining William James College, Kaplan was a school psychologist in the Newton Public School system, where he supervised school psychology graduate students for fourteen years. Before his tenure with Newton Public Schools, Kaplan taught high school students with learning, emotional and behavioral disabilities at The Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut. Kaplan is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and a Licensed Psychologist and Health Service Provider. He earned his Ph.D. in School and Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University and his M.Ed. and CAGS in School Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is also an active member of the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association, for which he has served as co-chair of the Ethics, Professional Standards and Credentialing Committee. His research interests include systems change, the assessment and treatment of children with learning, social and emotional disabilities, and supervision.
Robert Kinscherff, PhD, JD
Robert Kinscherff, PhD, JD is Faculty in the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology (forensic psychology, Concentration in Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience) and Associate Vice President for Community Engagement at William James College. He is also the 2015-2016 Senior Fellow in Law & Applied Neuroscience at CLBB and The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. He is also Senior Associate at the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. Dr. Kinscherff has held various government, teaching, professional service, and policy advisory/development positions, reﬂecting interests in clinical and forensic practice with juvenile and adult offenders, risk assessment and management, ideologically-motivated violence, and the developmental impact of childhood exposures to adversity and trauma.
Julie Ryan, PhD
Dr. Ryan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at William James College and a core faculty member in the Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience concentration at WJC. In addition, Ryan is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Boston Child Study Center specializing in evidence-based treatment for anxiety, behavioral, and mood disorders in children and adolescents. She also specializes in DBT parent coaching and family therapy. She has received extensive training and experience practicing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Parent Management Training (PMT). She received her Ph.D. from the State University of New York, at Albany. She completed her predoctoral internship at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in Bronx, NY. She was a postdoctoral Clinical Research Fellow at New York University Medical Center, Child Study Center, the Anita Saltz Institute for Anxiety and Mood Disorders. She has been on the faculty of New York University (adjunct) and Fairleigh Dickinson University, and served as FDU’s Associate Director of Clinical Training in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral program.
Gemima St. Louis, PhD
Dr. Gemima St. Louis is the Associate Vice President for Workforce Initiatives and; Specialty Training and Associate Professor in the Clinical Psychology Department at William James College. Dr. St. Louis is the Director of Specialized Training and Academic Retention (STAR) Fellowship—a behavioral health workforce program funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students. She is also the Co-Director of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Initiative (CAMHI), a workforce development program funded by Boston Children’s Collaborative for Community Health. CAMHI’s main objective is to expand and diversify the child and adolescent behavioral health workforce through the implementation and evaluation of an innovative career pipeline that provides scholarships and academic training to undergraduate students from historically marginalized communities. Dr. St. Louis is the Founder and former Co-Director of the Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health and former Director of the African Caribbean Mental Health Concentration at William James College. Her primary clinical focus is on the impacts of trauma on children, adolescents, and families.
Kris Taylor, EdD
Dr. Kris Taylor curates and develops Teachers21 programs and curriculum for resources, activities and alignment to DEI initiatives. She is the Director of the Contemporary Aspiring Principals' Academy degree and licensure program. Before joining Teachers21, she was the District Lead and Manager at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, where she led an internal equity team focused on building the capacity of DEI leaders. She applied research-based practices to improve academic outcomes for students in the lowest performing schools.
Before joining DESE, Dr. Taylor worked with the Chief of Schools and the Instructional Superintendent Team as the Director of Leadership Development for Boston Public Schools. In this role, she collaborated with an array of Assistant Superintendents, school leaders and partners to design and implement high quality, inquiry-based, professional learning experiences for Boston principals and headmasters. In addition, she created and coordinated new leader induction to advance the skills and competencies of new principals and aspiring leaders in strategic school design. Dr. Taylor created and facilitated professional learning, which allowed the district to achieve workforce diversity goals in 2017 and 2018. Her experience includes coordinating and facilitating courses for school leaders and district leaders on unconscious bias, supervision and evaluation and improving hiring practices and retention rates by utilizing an equity lens.
Dr. Taylor taught middle and high school for nine years. She was an academic coach, supporting K-5 educators and a principal intern before becoming the principal of a large K-8 school in Boston. As principal, she and her team reduced the number of students performing at the warning level on the state assessment.
Dr. Taylor received her EdD from Boston College/Teachers21/MASS LLPS program, her MEd from Harvard University and her BA from University of California at Berkeley. Her dissertation focused on the leadership practices that influence student achievement and equity. Her research group identified specific practices that allowed a high performing school to achieve academic success with the same student population within a low performing district.
Catherine Vuky, PhD
Catherine Vuky, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Clinical Psychology Department and Director of Asian Mental Health Program at William James College. She is also a clinical psychologist and clinical supervisor at South Cove Community Health Center. She is a graduate of the California School of Professional Psychology- Alameda campus. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Boston University Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology with a focus on multicultural and family therapy. She has special expertise working with immigrant and refugee children and families the past 20 years in a community health center setting. She also serves on Community Advisory Boards including Children’s Hospital, Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment Program and Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center's Pao Arts Center.