Meet our speakers

Tedd Ginn Sr.

Tedd Ginn Sr.

Founder of The Ginn Academy

Coach Ginn has served as Head Football Coach of the Glenville Tarblooders since 1997. His program, “Winning and Building a Team against All Odds”, is nationally known. In 2007, Coach Ginn founded the Ginn Academy, a school in the inner city of Cleveland that educates and mentor young males who are at risk. Now entering its eighth year, The Ginn Academy has enjoyed tremendous success, in part due to the unique component of Life Coaches who serve as the link between home and school and provide support in the areas of attendance, academics and social behavior.

Nelson Lauver

Nelson Lauver

Author of "Most UN-likely to Succeed - The Trials, Travels, and Ultimate Triumphs of a ‘Throwaway’ Kid"

For nearly two decades Nelson Lauver has inspired audiences from every walk of life in the US and over 100 countries, not only as a speaker, but as a nationally syndicated broadcaster, social entrepreneur, human rights advocate, award winning author, and businessperson. To meet Nelson today, it’s hard to imagine that until age 29 he was functionally illiterate as a result of undiagnosed dyslexia. But it is his personal story, his very real struggles, his experiences, failures, and achievements that have made Nelson who he is today and form the basis of his capacity to move audiences.

Sumi Mukherjee

Sumi Mukherjee

Author and Speaker

Author and Speaker Sumi Mukherjee has published three books titled “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder”, “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”, and, “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer”. Since October 2011, Sumi has been speaking all around the country about prevention of child sexual abuse as well as about bullying prevention. He has spoken all around Minnesota as well as in many other states including AL, AR, CA, CT, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MO, MT, NC, ND, NJ, NY, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI, and WV. Please visit www.authorsumi.com
Brenda Rinkes, MSW, LISW-S

Brenda Rinkes, MSW, LISW-S

Instructor/ Field Coordinator Social Work Program West Liberty University

Brenda has worked as a school social worker in the State of Ohio for more than 36 years. She earned a BSW from Ohio University and a MSW from Ohio State University. Brenda is a Licensed Independent Social Worker- Supervision (LISW-S) in the State of Ohio, permanently licensed School Social Worker through the Ohio Department of Education and nationally, a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW).
Michele Patak-Pietrafesa, LSSW, LISW-S

Michele Patak-Pietrafesa, LSSW, LISW-S

PhD Graduate Research Associate, OSU College of Social Work & Assistant Director, Holistic Consultation LLC

Michele Patak-Pietrafesa is a LSSW, LISW-S, with over 10 years of experience in schools. She is currently pursuing a PhD in social work at OSU and serves as a graduate research associate in the college of social work studying the use of evidence based practices by SSW practitioners, the effect of implicit bias and microaggressions on students of color, and growth mindset in schools. She also works in private practice providing SSW services to college students and serves on the OSSWA board as Past-President and Director of Communications.
Melissa McClain

Melissa McClain

Community Education Programs Coordinator, Akron Children's Hospital

Melissa McClain is a graduate of Kent State University and is the Community Education Program Coordinator at Akron Children’s Hospital. She is responsible for a social and emotional learning curriculum that includes k-12 classroom education as well as psychological trauma education for educators and other professionals who work in a school environment. Since 2006, Melissa has educated over 68,000 students, school staff and community members. She has worked with over 150 Ohio school buildings and community organizations that work with youth and has also been lucky to travel to speak for state and national audiences on teen dating, emotional literacy, bullying, and psychological trauma.

Kathleen Usaj, LISW-S, ACHT

Kathleen Usaj, LISW-S, ACHT

Holistic Psychotherapist at Center for Integrative Medicine Cleveland Clinic

Kate is an Ohio licensed clinical social worker/ supervisor, school social worker. She is certified in Heart Centered Hypnotherapy, Child Light Yoga and Reiki. In addition to traditional training in cognitive behavioral and talk therapies, she has extensive training in meditation, mindfulness, breathwork, and energy work. She is currently a Holistic Psychotherapist at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic and maintains a private practice in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, specializing in experiential, small group CEU workshops for social workers and counselors seeking unique, heart centered professional development.

Michael R. Markowitz

Michael R. Markowitz

Co-founder of COPES Consulting

Michael R. Markowitz has been a school psychologist for 20 years and is the co-founder of COPES Consulting LLC. Mr. Markowitz is the co-developer of the framework, “Traumatic Event Crisis Intervention Plan — After the Crisis” (TECIP) and has been the coordinator of the South-Western City Schools District Flight Team (aftermath crisis response) since 2002. Mr. Markowitz was recognized as “School Trauma Specialist of The Year” from the National Institute for Trauma & Loss in Children in 2009 (TLC Institute) and was honored in 2015 as a “Model School Psychologist Intern Supervisor” by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). He completed his Bachelor of Arts in psychology from The Ohio State University and his Masters in Education in School Psychology from Queens College.

Stacy Simera, MSSA, LISW-S, SAP

Stacy Simera, MSSA, LISW-S, SAP

Sleep Committee Chair, Ohio Adolescent Health Partnership

Stacy Simera is an independently licensed social worker and certified substance abuse professional. Stacy provides mental health counseling to children and adults at Kent Psychological Associates, is an adjunct instructor at Case Western Reserve University, serves as Sleep Committee Chair for the Ohio Adolescent Health Partnership, serves on the Board of Directors for the NASW Ohio, and serves as Health Policy Director for the Ohio Chapter of the national non-profit Start School Later. Stacy was named 2014 Ohio Social Worker of the Year and was subsequently honored by the Ohio Senate.

Jill Miller

Jill Miller

District Social Worker; Student/Family Support Specialist- Bellevue City Schools

Jill has been a member of OSSWA for over 10 years. She has served as the Northwest Regional Director, Co-Director of Promotions & Communications, and is presently the OSSWA secretary. She services the whole district of Bellevue in a Social Work Administrative capacity. Her trained therapy dog, Ace, attends school with her every day to help the students in her district.

Elijah Jones

Elijah Jones

Consultant-Trainer/Social Worker

Elijah Jones, MSW, LISW, LICDC is a social worker with experience working with children, adolescents, and adults. He is currently pursing a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Toledo and a Doctorate in Social Work from Walden University. He was recently elected the Region I Director for the NASW Ohio Chapter.

Ashley E. Stewart

Ashley E. Stewart

The Ohio State University

Ashley E. Stewart is working toward a PhD at The Ohio State University, College of Social Work. As a policy/political social worker, Ashley is passionate about the translational aspect of research, policy, advocacy and social change. Her two main research areas are theory development around racial trauma, and policy advocacy around efficient and intentional Federal programming. Currently she enjoys promoting self-awareness and advocacy skills as a social work educator.

Holly Raffle

Holly Raffle

Associate Professor, Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs

Holly Raffle is an Associate Professor at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Dr. Raffle earned her doctorate degree in Educational Research and Evaluation from Ohio University. Dr. Raffle primarily works in the disciplines of K-12 education, post-secondary education, and public health. Additionally, she is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist and taught health in Ohio’s public school system.

Emily Jordan

Emily Jordan

Education Program Specialist at the Ohio Department of Education

Emily Jordan is a Licensed Independent Social Worker and has experience working in both community mental health and education settings. In her current positions her primary responsibilities consist of developing programs and policies to support the educational needs of students with serious social, emotional, and behavioral disabilities. Ms. Jordan provides technical assistance and consultation to schools and families regarding behavioral supports in the classroom; ODE’s Policy on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, and Restraint and Seclusion; and school compliance with IDEA procedural safeguards connected to behavior and discipline.

Dr. Jill Gomez, EdD, LISW-S, LICDC-CS

Dr. Jill Gomez, EdD, LISW-S, LICDC-CS

Associate Professor in Social Work at UC Clermont College

Dr. Jill Gomez is an Associate Professor in Social Work at UC Clermont College.  She serves as the Program Coordinator for Social Work and the Addiction Studies Program.  Her doctorate in Counselor Education (Ecological Counseling) complemented her Masters in Social Work in helping first-generation college students find success in the classroom. After serving 6 years activity duty in the US Navy she completed her undergraduate work at the University of Cincinnati.  She worked in a rural community assisting incarcerated individuals in accessing substance abuse treatment.  Her 25 years in Social Work has afforded her a great number of experiences including serving as a CARF Surveyor, a funder for a Mental Health Board, and Vice President of a non-profit serving individuals with mental health and substance abuse disorders. In 2016 Dr. Gomez completed her certification as a Perfect Health Instructor through the Chopra Center in Costa Mesa California.  She shares this information and skills with her students and colleagues on her college campus.

Karen McKelvey & Brooke Wright

Karen McKelvey & Brooke Wright

Director Prevention/Intervention Services-PSI; Supervisor of LifeAct Partnership Services

Karen L. McKelvey, EdS, currently serves as PSI’s Director of Prevention/Intervention Services and Supervisor of LifeAct Partnership Services along with co-presenter, Brooke Wright, MA Ed, LPSC. Karen and Brooke are school counselors with a combined 45 years in the fields of violence prevention, anti-bullying programs, and school counseling.

Sarah J. Bonnette, LISW-S

Sarah J. Bonnette, LISW-S

LISW-S; Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Mrs. Bonnette, LISW-S is an ODE licensed School Social Worker and provided a variety of services to the students and families in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District for approximately 10 years. She was named the 2008 Ohio School Social Worker of the Year. She also worked as a therapist and director in School Based Mental Health Services through a non-profit agency, Cleveland Christian Home. Currently, Mrs. Bonnette, LISW-S works in the Behavioral Health Supports department at the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities to provide supports to the individuals and families. In addition she provides consultation to Range of Change Enrichment Center, a psycho-educational program for grades 7-12.

Jim Raines

Jim Raines

President, School Social Work Association of America; Professor of Social Work Health, Human Services & Public Policy California State University Monterey Bay

Jim Raines calls himself an accidental academic with the heart of a practitioner. He has been President of the Illinois Association of School Social Workers, Midwest School Social Work Council, and now the School Social Work Association of America. He previously keynoted International Conference on School Social Work in Auckland, New Zealand in 2009 and the SSWAA National School Social Work Conference in St. Louis in 2010 and San Diego in 2017. He was the recipient of the Midwest School Social Work Career Achievement Award in 2012. As a professor of social work, he is the author of three books published by Oxford University Press, two dozen articles, and numerous book chapters. He won the Gary Lee Schaffer award for academic contributions to school social work in 2016. Jim has been Chair of the Department of Health, Human Services, & Public Policy and is currently a professor of social work at California State University Monterey Bay. You can follow his work on www.academia.edu.

Amy Korsch-Williams, MSSA, CNM, LISW-S

Amy Korsch-Williams, MSSA, CNM, LISW-S

Jack, Joseph & Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University

Amy Korsch-Williams is a faculty member at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Ms. Korsch-William’s teaching and practice interests include trauma informed care, education and systems; early childhood and infant mental health and development, and children’s behavioral health.

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