Keynote Speakers

Robert H. Pasternack, Ph.D. is the Senior Vice President of Special Education for Voyager Learning Company. Dr. Pasternack served as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education from 2001 to 2004. During his tenure, he was responsible for the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the implementation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). In addition, Dr. Pasternack served on two Presidential Commissions, including the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education and the President's Mental Health Commission. Dr. Pasternack also served as the Chair of the Federal Interagency Coordinating Committee during his appointment as the Assistant Secretary.

Prior to being appointed by President Bush to this position, Dr. Pasternack was the State Director of Special Education for the State of New Mexico. During his distinguished career in New Mexico, Dr. Pasternack was a teacher, a superintendent of schools, the director of the state's first residential treatment center for children with serious emotional and behavioral problems, and Chief Executive Officer of New Mexico's first licensed Comprehensive Children's Community Mental Health Center. His work in New Mexico included improving outcomes and results for children with disabilities, implementing full day Kindergarten with mandatory use of scientifically based reading interventions, training of teachers on the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, parent-professional partnership, resiliency in juvenile delinquents, and a number of innovative efforts to serve ALL students.

Dr. Pasternack is a nationally certified school psychologist, a certified educational diagnostician, a certified school administrator, and a certified teacher (K-12). Recipient of numerous honors and awards, he is a frequent presenter at local, state, regional, national, and international conferences

ChristTheodore Christ, Ph.D., is a professor of Educational Psychology, at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Christ provides consultation and training to companies and school districts. Common topics include problem solving, response to intervention, assessment for instruction, curriculum based measurement, assessment of school/classroom behavior, and progress monitoring.

Dr. Christ serves on the Editorial Review Boards ofSchool Psychology Review, Journal of School Psychology, School Psychology Forum, School Psychology Quarterly Assessment for Effective Intervention. He is a Principle Panelist for the Institute of Education Sciences Special Education Panel and Technical Review Committee of the National Center for Response to Intervention.  Dr. Christ was the 2009 Division 16 Program Chair for the American Psychological Association (APA).

Dr Christ was the 2008 recipient of APA Division 16Lightner Witmer Award for “scholarly activity and contributions that have significantly nourished school psychology as a discipline and profession … [and for] exceptional potential and promise to contribute knowledge and professional insights that are of uncommon and extraordinary quality.”

Session Speakers

Amanda M. VanDerHeyden, Ph.D., is a private consultant and researcher who has directed and evaluated numerous school-wide intervention and reform efforts and her work has been featured on “Education News Parents Can Use” on PBS and The Learning Channel. Dr. VanDerHeyden has held faculty positions at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and University of California at Santa Barbara. She is President of Education Research & Consulting, Inc. in Fairhope. Dr. VanDerHeyden serves as scientific advisor to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, iSTEEP (a web-based data management system), and the Center on Innovations in Learning. She is a standing panel member for the Institute for Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, and serves on the board of trustees for the Southwest Development Laboratory (SEDL, one of 10 regional laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Education). Dr. VanDerHeyden has published more than 70 scholarly articles and chapters, 6 books, and has given keynote addresses to state school psychology associations and state departments of education in 21 states. She is co-author of the Evidence-Based Mathematics Innovation Configuration for the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality at Vanderbilt University and now the Collaboration for Effective Education Development, Accountability, and Reform at University of Florida. Her most recent book (The RTI Approach to Evaluating Learning Disabilities) was featured at a forum for policymakers hosted by the National Center for Learning Disabilities as a best-practice guide for identifying and serving children with Learning Disabilities in October of 2013 in New York, NY. She actively conducts research focused on improving learning outcomes for students and her scholarly work has been recognized in the form of article of the year award in 2007 from Journal of School Psychology, the Lightner Witmer Early Career Contributions Award from Division 16 (School Psychology) of the American Psychological Association, and her 2012 induction into the 100-member Society for the Study of School Psychology.

Rhonda Neal Waltman is a highly-respected, broadly experienced educator with over 35 years of experience. She has successfully served as a teacher, counselor, program coordinator, principal, central office supervisor, and assistant superintendent spanning grades pre-k through twelve. As Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services, Dr. Waltman co-chaired the district’s comprehensive strategic plan using the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence; and developed a nationally recognized model for providing services to displaced students and families following Hurricane Katrina, including creation of a blueprint for addressing needs using a learning supports model. Following her retirement, she formed her own consulting firm, Neal-Waltman & Associates, Inc. Currently, Dr. Waltman is a consultant with various non-profit organizations, governmental agencies and corporations. As Scholastic’s National Project Consultant for Learning Supports, she currently works with the Alabama Department of Education's senior staff in developing the framework for a comprehensive support system for all students. The current work includes forty districts’ implementation of the learning supports framework, with a multi-year plan to train the 130+ districts over the next four years. In addition she works nationally with school districts implementing the learning supports framework. Dr. Waltman serves as an Adjunct Professor in Educational Leadership at the University of South Alabama, teaching Data Driven Instructional Leadership, Mentoring Leadership, and Organizational Management. Dr. Waltman is a nationally recognized presenter, with recent presentations for the Ontario Canada’s Center for Addiction and Mental Health; American Association of School Administrators; Southern Region Education Board; Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education; North Carolina Association of School Psychologists; and Florida Department of Education Special Education Conference.

Daniel Krenzer is an assistant professor within the School Psychology Program at the University of Wisconsin - Stout. He has experience as a practicing school psychologist in Mississippi, Illinois, Colorado and Wisconsin with most of his work advocating for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Currently his research is on repetitive head injuries and understanding the effects of subconcussive hits across late adolescence, understanding the link between executive functioning and academic success, as well as behavioral interventions. He has presented on contemporary school psychology topics in many states across the country.

Kathryn Bush, Ph.D., is the Consultant for School Psychology Services at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Her position is housed on the Student Services, Prevention and Wellness team. Prior to her work at DPI Kathryn worked for over 25 years with the Madison Metropolitan School District as a school psychologist. She also maintained a private practice as a clinical psychologist and served as a university lecturer.

Jenny Nichols is an e-learning account representative for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and works with Milwaukee Public Schools to implement online heath education programs. She has worked in education in the Milwaukee community for the last 12 years, including teaching in the Milwaukee Public Schools and working in higher education admissions. Jenny works closely with administrators, teachers and support personnel to train them in Act Now!; an online bullying prevention program developed by Children’s Hospital of WI for students, staff and parents.

Kimberly Merath has been a School Psychologist with Milwaukee Public Schools for 10 years. For the first six years of her career, she worked in the traditional role of a school psychologist at several elementary schools. For the past four years, Kim has worked with the Violence Prevention Program, providing professional development to teachers, principals, and support personnel in the areas of bullying prevention, classroom management, social emotional learning, and trauma informed care.

Amy Tranel, M.S.E. is a PBIS External Coach for the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD). Before joining MMSD, Amy worked as a school counselor for 7 years in the Dodgeville School District. As a school counselor, Amy gained expertise in Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS), Response to Intervention (RtI), Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Responsive Classroom, Love & Logic, and data-based decision making. Amy’s passion for PBIS ignited 5 years ago when she first attended PBIS training. Since then, Amy has gained additional knowledge and expertise to effectively and efficiently sustain implementation of behavioral systems at Tiers 1 and 2. She has served as an Internal and External Coach working to determine how to change systems to meet the needs of ALL students. Amy is also a SWIS facilitator and is currently completing her co-training to be a Tier 2 trainer for the Wisconsin PBIS Network.

Shari Meserve, M.S.Ed., Ed.S worked in the public school system as a School Psychologist for 13 years. Out of a growing desire to use her skills to help a wider range of children and families obtain appropriate services and supports, Shari left the public school system and now works as an Educational Consultant and Advocate for Matt Cohen and Associates, a special education and disability law firm in Chicago. Shari speaks on topics such as Special Education Eligibility in a Response to Intervention Model, Executive Functioning, Advocating for Children with Special Needs, Classroom and Parental Behavioral Management Techniques, Writing Social-Emotional Goals within an Academic Framework, and Writing Effective Functional Behavioral Assessments and Behavior Plans. She has TS herself, as do two of her three adult children. Shari is the founder and Executive Director of the Illinois Tourette Resource Network.

Tiffany Helmke, M.S., Ed.S., is a school psychologist and MTSS (Multi-tiered Systems of Supports) Coach in the Dodgeville School District. While her current school-based focus is on assisting in the development of the MTSS framework at the preschool and elementary level, in previous school-based experiences, she has also supported the application of assessment and intervention strategies at the secondary level. Tiffany attended Ripon College for her bachelor’s degree and later attended UW-Milwaukee for her graduate training and degree in school psychology. During her nine years as a school psychologist, she has developed particular interest in inclusive education, MTSS, adventure-based learning, Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), and positive collaboration and supports for families, to meet the needs of ALL students.

Ellie Jarvie, LCSW, SAC-IT, has provided education and advocacy about Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders for almost 25 years. She has managed a variety of community programs serving adults and youth, including a treatment foster care program and the integrated services program with CESA 6, serving students with severe emotional disturbance. She currently manages mental health and substance abuse programs in Marinette County for people across the lifespan. She has TS and is a local support group leader and on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Tourette Syndrome Association. She has worked with youth with Tourette Syndrome at camps in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Illinois.

James Larson, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the Department of Psychology where he directed the School Psychology Program for 21 years. He now resides in Milwaukee.

Eric Hartwig, Ph.D. received his doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a M.S. in School Psychology and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He is experienced and licensed as a Director of Pupil Services, District Administrator and a School Psychologist/Private Practice ®. Presently, he is the Administrator of Pupil Services for the Marathon County Children with Disabilities Education Board and is the author and principle trainer on the Just-in-Time: Behavioral Initiative Project. He has been an adjunct professor for Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been an adjunct professor and research advisor for Cardinal Stritch College-Milwaukee and Aurora University-Wisconsin Campus. Dr. Hartwig was named Administrator of Special Services of the Year for 2007-2008, by the Wisconsin Counsel of Administrators of Special Services (WCASS). Dr. Hartwig is a well-respected and noted speaker providing training on a regional, state, national and international level.

Peggy Roush is the College and Career Readiness Assessment Coordinator for the Office of Student Assessment with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Her primary responsibility is the successful statewide adoption and implementation of the ACT High School Assessments. Before joining the Office of Student Assessment, Peggy was an Education Consultant on DPI’s Special Education team in the areas of Specific Learning Disabilities Professional Development and Academic Improvement Initiatives. She has teaching experience in both special education and regular education in rural and urban districts in Wisconsin and is also a Nationally Certified School Psychologist with experience in both the private and public sectors.

Dan Parker

Mary Sue Roberts, MA LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in children and families with a particular emphasis on trauma. She is nationally licensed in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) an evidenced-based model. Mary Sue is the coordinator for the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program for Dane County, WI. She coordinates and provides the training in this exposure driven, evidenced-based model for treatment of trauma in a group setting. CBITS is a cooperative effort, administered by Journey MHC, between Dane County schools and area not-for-profit agencies funded through the United Way of Dane County. Mary Sue is an employee of Journey Mental Health Center in Madison, WI where she is the agency Training Coordinator, CBITS Coordinator, and a nationally certified Mental Health and Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer.

The Wisconsin School Psychologists Association (WSPA) is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists to offer continuing education for psychologists. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UW-L) is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. WSPA and UW-L maintain responsibility for these programs and their content.