Below are the 2023’s presenters. 2024’s Presenter information is coming soon.

Ericha Anderson

Ericha Anderson is a teacher at Vancouver Innovation Technology & Arts (VITA) elementary school in Vancouver Public Schools (Vancouver, WA) who works with administrators, teachers, and students to transform teaching and learning by implementing a project-based learning approach. The focus of her work is to engage students in learning that is deep and long-lasting, inspires joy and personal connection, and amplifies communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Ericha has a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Montana, Masters of Educational Technology from City University, and library endorsement from Portland State University. She has worked in the educational field for 23 years as an elementary classroom teacher, teacher librarian, and K-12 instructional coach. Ericha has served on several school and district-based committees focused on improving school safety and social-emotional learning. She has experience as a professional development leader in her district guiding nearly sixteen hundred teachers in best practices for developing a broader set of knowledge and skills to prepare students for college, careers, and beyond. She has presented at several state and national EdTech Conferences addressing impactful technology integration and digital safety including International Society for Technology in Education, Northwest Council For Computer Education, IntegratED, and CUE California.

Chief Steve Anjewierdan

Chief Steve Anjewierden retired from law enforcement as Deputy Chief of Police Services with the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake. Chief Anjewierden served in several boards related to criminal and juvenile justice policy reform, including the Utah State Advisory Board. Presently, Chief Anjewierden provides training, technical assistance, and evaluation services on crime prevention efforts to law enforcement agencies, school districts and community-based organizations. Presently, Chief Anjewierden consults in various police reform efforts, such as co-response models, school resource officer training, and law enforcement hiring practices. Chief Anjewierden also provides training and technical assistance to U.S. States and Territories to address Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the juvenile justice system through the Center for Coordinated Assistance to States (CCAS), Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

Matt Bellace

Since 1995, Matt Bellace, Ph.D., has been a professional speaker and stand-up comedian. His programs encourage over a hundred thousand students and adults each year to improve their mental health and be resilient in the face of stress. He has spoken in 48 U.S. states and throughout the world.

Dr. Bellace has a Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology, which is the study of the brain and behavior. He trained at the National Institutes of Mental Health, and completed his internship at the traumatic brain and spinal cord units at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

He’s the author of the best-selling book, A Better High: Laugh, Help, Run, Love and Other Ways to Get Naturally High (Wyatt MacKenzie, 2012). His most recent book, Life Is Disappointing and Other Inspiring Thoughts (Wyatt MacKenzie, 2021), focuses on dealing with disappointment and techniques for to coping with pain, loss and failure.
He’s a contributing author for National Geographic Kids and was featured in the PBS documentary Voices of Hope. He was also a recurring comedian on truTV’s “World’s Dumbest.” For ten years, Matt lived on the Upper East Side and performed stand-up comedy at clubs such as Caroline’s on Broadway, Gotham, The Comic Strip and Stand Up NY. In recent years, he’s been producing a stand-up comedy show called, “What’s So Funny: A Mental Health Comedy Show.”

He currently lives in Princeton, New Jersey with his wife, thirteen-year-old son and ten-year-old daughter.

Nancy Berg, MSW

Assistant Director,
Montana Safe School Center

Nancy Berg holds her Master’s Degree in Social Work and serves as Assistant Director at the Montana Safe Schools Center housed at the University of Montana. In this role, Mrs. Berg is involved in overseeing all fiscal management of grant and non-grant accounts in accordance with Federal, State and University guidelines. Ms. Berg also assists with data collection, tracking, reporting for professional development and grant activities; and collaboration and implementation on project goals.  She also coordinates organization-wide production and submittal of quarterly, annual and final project reports to Federal and State sponsors.

The Montana Safe School Center’s (MSSC) mission is to provide outreach regarding school safety, all-hazards management, suicide, bullying, emergency and crisis prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery in early childhood programs, P/K-12, and institutes of higher education. In additional to finical duties, Ms. Berg helps advance the mission of the Montana Safe Schools Center by providing training, research and professional development services to schools and communities across Montana. She has been trained in the I Love U Guys Standard Response Protocol, Standard Reunification Method and the ALERRT Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) course.

Ms. Berg provides training and consultation on emergency operations planning, school physical site safety, educator wellbeing and happiness, trauma informed practice, Trauma Stewardship and Montana’s Crises Action School Toolkit on Suicide. Ms. Berg is also a certified master trainer in the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Suicide Alertness for Everyone (safeTALK) suicide prevention protocols.

Ms. Berg is currently working towards her clinical Social Work licensure and volunteers her time at the YWCA in Missoula providing crisis walk-in and counseling services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking and human trafficking.

Erin Briley

Erin Briley joined the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) in 2019. She currently is the School Mental Health Coordinator for the Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network (MHTTC). As the program manager and school mental health lead, her work focuses on providing intensive technical assistance, resources, and training to school staff on ways to support school-based mental health. She also works with WICHE in the creation and implementation of accredited doctoral-level Psychology Internship Consortiums in rural western states. Prior to working with WICHE, Ms. Briley worked as a School Psychologist and has over 20 years of experience working in the schools, serving school districts in California, Hawaii, and Colorado while providing direct and indirect supports for children ages 3 through 22 of all developmental levels. She has additionally served temporarily as an administrator in special education as well as a program administrator for a school based behavioral health program at the DOE state level. Ms. Briley earned her Bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Studies at Colorado State University, and her Master’s in Counseling/School Psychology with a Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis at California State University Los Angeles; she is also a Nationally Certified School Psychologist.

Caroline Bullock

Caroline Bullock is a native Montanan who grew up attending Montana public schools and playing in our Public Lands. She currently attends Claremont McKenna College where she studies Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, with a minor in Leadership Studies where she will graduate this spring. Caroline also plays Rugby for the Claremont Colleges and was a part of their back-to-back National Championship team. In her free time, Caroline enjoys spending time outdoors, pouring beer at Brothers Tapworks, studying for the LSAT, and hanging out with her siblings.

Lona Carter

Helena Public Schools administrator Lona Carter is leading the district’s effort to collaborate with community mental health providers to develop a sustainable model for K-12 school-based services. Funded through a Montana Foundation Healthcare grant, Ms. Carter is working to create a variety of community partnerships which will eliminate barriers for HSD students and families to have access to high quality mental health services.

Kim Collins, M.Ed.

Kim Collins, M.Ed. currently serves as the Executive Director of Community Based Services at the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch (YBGR). YBGR is a licensed, accredited children’s Mental Health Center (MHC), Psychiatric Residential Treatment Center, and provides outpatient Chemical Dependency services. Kim has worked for YBGR for 19 years in various positions; 17 of those years in Leadership. Since 2016 she has been the Executive Director. She has partnered with the DPHHS-Children’s Mental Health Bureau on workgroups regarding Targeted Case Management, Home Support Services, and Comprehensive School and Community Treatment (CSCT).

Kim also serves as the facilitator and scribe of the CSCT Coalition, which is a peer group of MHCs that began in 2009; Kim has acted as the facilitator for the past several years. Currently, every agency who contracts with schools for CSCT is a member of the Coalition.

Kim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s of Education from MSU-Billings. In her spare time, she enjoys shopping and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Brooke Corr

Brooke Corr is EmpowerMT’s Director of Synergistic Operations Brooke has over 40 years of business leadership, skill-building, facilitation, and team-building experience. They earned their BSW, with honors, from the University of Montana, with an emphasis on communication, multicultural counseling, neuropsychology, and forgiveness and reconciliation. They are a Certified Mediator, Family Law Mediator, and Conflict Coach. They are also a SHRM Senior Certified Professional. Brooke finds great joy in meeting people where they are and finding ways to empower them to move themselves where they want to go. Brooke loves to hike, snowshoe, rockhound, play music, and watch people and plants grow.

Jim Daanen

Helena School District Safety & Security Developer

As a member of the HSD1 Technology Department, Jim Daanen is responsible for the systems that keep Helena’s school buildings safe from threats and accessible to students, staff, and the community. Across eighteen district sites, he manages more than 300 controlled-access doors, a surveillance network that covers 181 acres of district property and 1.3m sq. ft. of building space, a district-wide emergency altering system, and access credentials for 2000 users. Jim holds degrees in Information Technology Administration and Network & Infrastructure Security and is a CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist.  He lives in Helena with his wife, Hannah, and two sons: Jamie (pictured – 1st Grade) and Jack (pre-K).

Tina Eblen

Tina Eblen is the University of Montana Safe School Center’s Training and Technical Assistance Specialist.  She brings to the center a wealth of experience including over eight years of Emergency Management, ten years of Behavioral Health and five years working directly with schools.

Deb Fassnacht

Deb Fassnacht is the executive director and program lead for Watershed Education Network, a nonprofit organization based in Missoula. She has her Master’s in Education, Curriculum & Instruction, and Bachelor’s in Natural Resources and Conservation. Deb brings a decade of teaching and education/outreach experience. Alongside Brightways Learning, she also facilitates resilience-building workshops for students and educators.

Michele Henson

Michele Henson is the School Safety Program Specialist in the Coordinated School Health Unit at the Office of Public Instruction. In her current role, Michele is dedicated to assuring all Montana students feel safe and supported in school. Raised in Corvallis, Montana, Michele graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Community Health from Montana State University and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Arizona. Michele has worked in the field of health promotion since 2011 and is passionate about supporting local, strength-based solutions to help schools and communities reach their safety and wellness goals.

Emily Kempe

M.S.W., Manager of Rural School Mental Health Initiatives, JED Foundation

Emily is originally from Phoenix, Arizona where she received her bachelors in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University in 2012. After graduating, she spent three seasons running a day camp for children at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Paradise Valley, MT. After leaving the ranch in 2014, she worked as the Outreach Coordinator for a domestic violence organization in Bozeman, MT called Haven and then moved to Missoula, Montana in 2019 to pursue a Master of Social Work from the University of Montana, which she completed May 2021. Emily works for The JED Foundation as the Manager of Rural School Mental Health Initiatives and lives in Livingston, Montana.

Lisa Kerscher

Lisa Kerscher is Brightways Learning’s Education Director and leads Brightways Learning’s team of expert facilitators, providing both group and one-on-one Professional Development virtually and on-site. A resident of Montana for more than three decades, Kersch received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Montana. Over the last 15 years with Brightways Learning, Kersch has visited many schools, particularly across Montana and Alaska, supporting teachers, administrators, and students in their varied learning and community environments. Those experiences drive her passion for schooling systems and the relationship dynamics between administration, staff, and students in shaping school climate, whole-student success, professional growth, and staff retention.

Tim Meldrum

As a Principal and Partner at SMA Architecture + Design, P.C., Tim’s twenty-year career has involved him in every step of project development from planning and conceptual design to the resulting construction. Tim brings a dynamic and enjoyable approach to all planning and programming facilitation. His planning experience ranges from small, multifunction buildings to large-scale urban planning design. Working closely with school districts, colleges, universities, and the State of Montana, Tim understands the critical aspects of community support and real progress toward committee-based goals. He is motivated to have the opportunity to create successful education planning and design, bringing that perspective to his work with Helena School District’s recent projects including Central Elementary School and the Facilities Master Plan that is currently in progress.

Albert Mendoza

Albert Mendoza is a Protective Security Advisor (PSA) based in Billings, serving eastern Montana. Joining the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in January 2023, Albert brings invaluable expertise to their role.

With 11 years of experience as the Montana Area Commander for the Federal Protective Service (FPS)/DHS, Albert conducted Facility Security Assessments, provided safety training to federal employees, enforced federal law, and responded to civil unrest in the United States. Albert also served as an FPS inspector in Utah for two years and worked as a patrolman, defensive tactics instructor, and Drug Recognition Expert Instructor with the Loveland Colorado Police Department from 1991 to 2004.

During his time in Guatemala from 2004 to 2009, he served as a contractor advisor, training police in Central America on ethics and police tactics. As an Army Veteran and Paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, he brings a strong sense of dedication and discipline to his work.

When not focused on his professional responsibilities, Albert enjoys spending time with his family and indulging in fly fishing on Montana’s rivers. Originally from northern Colorado, he has called Billings home for the past 11 years, actively contributing to the local community’s security.

Kurt Michael

Ph.D., Senior Clinical Director, JED Foundation

Kurt joined The Jed Foundation in February 2022, bringing his expertise in rural school mental health and adolescent suicidology. At JED, he has developed new initiatives to help schools and communities nationally better evaluate their suicide prevention systems, incorporate youth voice into programming, adopt flexible and effective postvention policies and procedures, and scale up the promotion of lethal means safety practices (e.g., safe storage of medications and firearms). Previously, he spent over two decades as part of the Psychology Faculty at Appalachian State University, establishing and sustaining a nationally recognized program of funded research and clinical practice in school mental health, adolescent suicidology, and rural healthcare. Born and raised in Colorado, Kurt took his bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado – Boulder. He earned a Master of Science and PhD in Clinical-School Psychology from Utah State University and completed his Resident Internship in Clinical Child Psychology at Duke University Medical Center. Kurt is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Rural Mental Health and the Editor of the inaugural Handbook of Rural School Mental Health, published by Springer in 2017. In 2023, Kurt, along with several colleagues, published a chapter on developing the rural school mental health workforce in the 3rd edition of the Handbook of School Mental Health.

Randy Middlebrook

Randy Middlebrook currently serves as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Protective Security Advisor (PSA) for Infrastructure Protection in Federal Region VIII’s Montana district; which covers the entire state. Mr. Middlebrook supports homeland security efforts serving as a federal liaison and advisor to the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisor on infrastructure protection matters. He contributes to the development of the national risk picture by assisting with the identification, assessment, monitoring, and minimizing of risk to critical assets, soft targets and public gatherings at the local level. Randy has earned the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Professional Designation (CPD) through the National Institute of Crime Prevention.

Prior to becoming a PSA, Mr. Middlebrook served as the Critical Infrastructure Protection Program Manager with the Montana Department of Justice at which time he was, and still is, a member of the Montana Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

Before working for the state and federal governments, Mr. Middlebrook served on active duty for 21 years with the US Air Force.

Randy lives with his wife, Melanie, in Helena, Montana, and has lived in Montana since 1994.

Neal Murray

As the Safety and Operations Manager for the Helena School District, Neal manages the safety and security programs and oversees the access control and emergency notification systems.  From 2018 to 2022, Neal was involved in the planning and construction of 3 new schools, 14 school security upgrades, and implementation of the access control and emergency notification systems. Neal developed and implemented new training protocols and conducts routine system tests to ensure all safety and security systems function as expected.

Committed to providing a safe and healthful workplace, Neal’s responsibilities also include compliance with all State and Federal regulations relating to occupational safety and health, fire prevention, and drinking water quality programs.  Neal provides leadership, training, information, resources, policy development, and consultation services to the Helena School District.

Neal holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, a master’s degree in biology, and has obtain certifications in playground safety inspection, drinking water quality management, and incident command systems. Neal lives in Helena with his wife and two kids and enjoys spending time in the gorgeous Montana outdoors.

Dr. Kathryn A. Page

Dr. Kathryn Page was born and raised in Washington and has served as a teacher, school principal, special education director, and as a district level supervisor of building leaders.  She currently serves Washington’s Office of System and School Improvement (OSSI) assisting school districts with their continuous improvement efforts. Kathryn’s service as a university supervisor at Gonzaga University, and as a mentor for new administrators through the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), has only reinforced her belief in the critically important role of a building administrator’s impact on both the climate and culture of a school community.

Dr. Page received her BA from Central Washington University in Special Education and Elementary Education and completed her MA at Whitworth University in Educational Administration. Her doctoral work in Educational Leadership at Gonzaga University led her to examine the evidence-based strategies necessary to surface the barriers to school improvement efforts.

Kathryn has been a presenter on various topics for the state department of education, educational service districts, school systems, and at the university level. In 2019 and 2022 she was a presenter for the Annual Washington State Becca Conference on strategies to address chronic absenteeism and surface barriers to continuous improvement efforts. Most recently, Dr. Page had a guide published by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in Washington that addresses the power of Voice Circles to reveal the roadmap for improvement. Her work represents 25 + years of experience as a teacher and as an administrator engaging those who have not had a voice in the educational system. She continues the work fueled by an unwavering belief that…VOICE MATTERS.

Meghan Peel

Meghan Peel currently serves as the Bureau Chief for the Children’s Mental Health Bureau within the Department of Public Health and Human Services. The CMHB is responsible for Medicaid funded mental health treatment services for children and adolescents. Additionally, the bureau works closely with other child-serving agencies, such as the Office of Public Instruction, Juvenile Probation, Child and Family Services, and other agencies doing prevention work, to maximize impact through reciprocal collaborations. Meghan has worked for the Department of Public Health and Human Services for nearly 10 years in a variety of roles, including 5 years as the Children’s Mental Health Bureau Chief.

During her tenure with CMHB, Meghan as worked to increase stakeholder involvement in policy making, and has worked closely with providers to make programmatic changes to community-based mental health services such as Comprehensive School and Community Treatment, Targeted Case Management, and Home Support Services to enhance quality, increase provider flexibility, and measure outcomes. Currently, the CMHB is doing focused work on reducing reliance on out of state residential services, implementing strategies to measure and increase quality of care, and increasing family engagement throughout treatment.

Meghan is a proud fifth-generation Montanan and lives in her hometown of Helena, Montana. She is an alum of Montana State University (though she tolerates her son rooting for the Griz), where she received a B.S. in Business and a Master’s of Professional Accountancy. In her free time, Meghan is kept busy by her two sons and enjoys spending time outdoors.

Moisés Próspero, Ph.D

Moisés Próspero, Ph.D. has worked in the criminal and juvenile justice field for over 30 years as a professor, evaluator, trainer, and direct service provider. Presently, Dr. Próspero leads the implementation and evaluation of several community-based, crime prevention models, such as the Comprehensive Gang Model, Focused Deterrence Strategies, Communities That Care, and Project AWARE. Dr. Próspero also provides training and technical assistance to U.S. States and Territories to address Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the juvenile justice system through the Center for Coordinated Assistance to States (CCAS), Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Dr. Próspero has presented his work in several local, national and international conferences and published articles in peer-reviewed journals, such as the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Journal of Juvenile Justice, Journal of School Violence, and The Journal of Aggression, Conflict & Peace Research.

Rajiem Seabrook

Rajiem Seabrook is the Director of Equity and Impact at EmpowerMT, a statewide nonprofit with a mission to create a just and inclusive society. Mr. Seabrook is an educational and institutional leader in shaping and promoting equity and diversity-based policies, partnerships, and strategic initiatives that foster inclusive businesses, schools, and communities across Montana. Rajiem is a long-standing community member and passionately engages in athletics, academics, social justice, and political reform. Rajiem is one of several co-founders of the Montana Black Collective-Missoula and serves on the MCPS IVALUE Leadership Team and the MLK Jr. Community Celebration Committee. Mr. Seabrook’s devotion as a father, coach, mentor, community leader, connector, and organizer fuels his commitment to creating a better world for future generations.

Dale Stripling

Dale Stripling holds a Doctorate Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Alabama, a bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Language Arts from UAB, a master’s in Educational Administration from UAB, and an Educational Specialist Degree from The University of Montevallo. Dale has served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal in schools that range from urban to rural. He has worked as a Student Services Supervisor for the Jefferson County Board of Education in Birmingham, Alabama. He is currently a Safe School Regional Administrator for The Alabama State Department of Education. Dr. Stripling is a member of the Alabama Department of Education’s Central Office Task Force on School Safety and regularly assists in regional safety trainings throughout the state. He has served as a judge on the Alabama Attorney General’s Blue-Ribbon Council for safe schools. He is a certified trainer in the Colorado Threat Assessment protocol. He is currently training as an Adolescent Mental Health First Aid Trainer. Dale has been affiliated with The Alabama Association of School Resource Officers since 2003. He has served as a district education representative and currently serves as the Executive Education Advisor.

Heidi Wallace

Heidi’s life experiences as a sixth-generation non-Indigenous Montanan led her to pursue a life of creating positive change in individuals and institutions as an active ally and oppression interrupter. Heidi is a graduate of the University of Montana with degrees in Social Work and Native American Studies. In 2010 she was honored with the Native American Studies Distinguished Alumni Award. Heidi has been with EmpowerMT since 2007 and has served as Executive Director since 2013. A skilled facilitator, consultant, and educator, Heidi has a 20-year history of building regional and national strategic partnerships to foster innovation, elevate leadership, and inspire action in racial equity, diversity, access, inclusion, and coalition building. Heidi serves on the Board of Trustees for the PacificSource Foundation for Health Improvement and other social justice-focused coalitions, and advisory boards.

Ronna Yablonski

Ronna Yablonski, a respected leader in youth substance use prevention and community-based coalition development, joined SAFE Project in August 2021 as the Senior Director of SAFE Choices. In this role, she designs and implements evidence-informed programs, enhances wellness in youth development, fosters connections for underserved populations, and advocates for the youth sector. Previously, Yablonski served as the Executive Director of the Cambria County Drug Coalition (CCDC), leading it to significant growth and success in addressing the opioid epidemic. She began her career as a tutor and Prevention Coordinator at Twin Lakes Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center while simultaneously serving as the Director of the Somerset County Drug-Free Communities Coalition. Yablonski collaborated with the Center for the Study of Prevention and Violence at the University of Colorado, coordinating the implementation of the “Botvin LifeSkills Training” curriculum. She holds various certifications and has been recognized for her outstanding contributions. Yablonski continues to advocate for youth substance use prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery. She resides in Somerset, PA, with her husband and enjoys outdoor activities with her family.