2017 Summer Institute Faculty/Speakers

Dorothy L. Espelage, Ph.D. (Keynote Speaker) is a Professor of psychology, University of Florida and the former Edward William Gutgsell & Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor and Hardie Scholar of Education, in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She was recently honored with the American Psychological Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Prevention Science. She is an international expert in bullying, youth aggression, teen dating violence and effective prevention as well as intervention strategies to address these issues. She has authored over 100 papers and books, including Bullying in North American Schools: A Social-Ecological Perspective on Prevention and Intervention (with Susan Swearer) Routledge, 2004), Bullying Prevention and Intervention: Realistic Strategies for Schools, Intervention (with Susan Swearer and Scott A. Napolitano ) (Guilford Press, 2009), and Handbook of Bullying in Schools: an International Perspective Intervention (with Susan Swearer) (Routledge, 2009).

Kathleen Moroney Porreca, Ed.D. (keynote Speaker) is has served as principal of Elm Middle School in Elmwood Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago since 2008. In her 30 years as an educator, she has worked as a high school English teacher, student council adviser and yearbook adviser, a high school Dean of Students, a high school Assistant Principal, and now a high school Principal. During her time as Principal of the University of Illinois Laboratory High School (Uni High), the Illinois Journalism Education Association named Dr. Porreca its 2006 Administrator of the Year for her support of student press rights.

Philip Brown, Ph.D. is a Senior Practice Consultant at NSCC. He has co-lead NSCC’s School Climate Leadership Development efforts. He is also a Fellow of the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University where he founded and directed the Center for Social and Character Development. He has been principal investigator on several U.S. Department of Education grants, including research studies on evidence-based practices. Phil has served in student support services related management positions in the New Jersey Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Health for 25 years, as a school board director, founder and president of the New Jersey Alliance for Social, Emotional and Character Development and is a member of the National School Climate Council. With colleagues from Fordham and Marshall Universities he is co-editor of the Handbook of Prosocial Education (2012).

Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D. is the co-founder and president of the National School Climate Center (NSCC). He is the co-director of the Summer Institute. He is an Adjunct Professor in Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University; co-editor of the International Journal of School Climate and Violence Prevention; and a practicing clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst. Jonathan has worked in and with K-12 schools for over thirty-five years as a teacher, program developer, school psychologist, consultant, psycho-educational diagnostician and mental health provider. He is the author of over 85 articles, chapters and books including the award winning Educating Minds and Hearts: Social Emotional Learning and the Passage into Adolescence (Teachers College Press and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1999); Caring Classrooms/Intelligent Schools: Social Emotional Education of Young Children (Teachers College Press; 2001) and (with John Devine) Making your School Safe: Strategies to Protect Children and Promote Learning (Teachers College Press, 2007); and, (with Kristie Fink and Sean Slade) of Integrating Prosocial Learning with Education Standards: School Climate Reform Initiatives (Routledge, 2017). Jonathan has consulted to scores of schools, districts and State Departments of Education interested in furthering social, emotional, ethical and academic education and positive school climate in America, France, Israel, Japan, Peru, and Switzerland.

Darlene Faster, MA is NSCC’s Chief Operating Officer and Communications Director. Darlene has more than a decade of experience working with schools, districts, and states to integrate whole child reform. She leads NSCC’s Comprehensive School Climate Inventory (CSCI) work nationwide, and directly trains school personnel on interpreting their data to create sustained, actionable improvement plans. Darlene is the Project Manager for NSCC’s five-year collaboration with Iowa State‘s Safe and Supportive Schools (IS3) grant, and directs all technical support in partnership with Iowa’s principal investigators for the grant. She provides leadership support on all of NSCC’s survey-based research and improvement projects, including our multi-year collaborations with Special Olympics Project UNIFY (nationwide), the Capital Regional Education Council in Connecticut (35 districts), and with Detroit RESA (50+ schools). Ms. Faster co-created and launched NSCC’s nationwide bully prevention awareness campaign, BullyBust (www.bullybust.org) and the Upstander Alliance, which provides free, concrete prevention supports to more than 3500 schools nationwide. Ms. Faster has done preliminary doctoral research in urban schools in Chicago and New York, and worked with the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) before joining NSCC. Presently, Darlene serves on the Research Advisory Committee for Special Olympics Project UNIFY.

Kori Hamilton, M. Ed. is a Senior Policy and Practice Consultant at NSCC. She is also a senior education equity specialist at the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium. Her primary role is to providing technical assistance and professional development to schools and school districts focused on equity with specialization in cultural proficiency, special education, school culture and climate, harassment prevention, and alternative discipline practice. She works with numerous districts to support their resolution of compliance agreements with the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Department of Justice, as well as other state compliance agencies. Ms. Hamilton has combined her knowledge of practice with skillful resource creation and dissemination through publications, website content management, and a full range of social media tools, improving collaborative efforts with partners and national experts to provide universal and targeted technical assistance to families, educators, and practitioners.

Serena La Rocque, MA is the Assistant Director of Education at NSCC as well as being the co-director of the Summer Institute. Over the past eight years, Serena has worked with children, schools, non-profit organizations, and states in the US and Mexico. She has teaching experience, as well as, experience in co-designing, implementing, managing, and evaluating k-12 educational programs. In addition, Serena has worked with New Jersey Department of Education to help edit their curriculum to integrate social emotional learning competencies into the classroom. She received her Masters in Urban Education Policy from Brown University.

Shannon McCarthy, Ed.M., is the Senior Resource Center Manager at NSCC. She is committed to promoting intercultural understanding in the United States and around the world, and believes that young people play a vital role in this work. After graduating from Pitzer College with a B.A. in Gender and Feminist Studies, Shannon completed a year of fulltime service with City Year Los Angeles. She spent two years living in Paris, France, where she worked as a teacher and tutor, and supported a French education company’s English language and international programming expansion. Shannon holds a Master of Education in Prevention Science and Practice from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is thrilled to continue creating learning environments that foster civic action and social justice.

Stacie Molnar-Main, Ed.D. is a Consultant in School Climate and Social Emotional Learning at the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She is the author of many publications, including Integrating Bullying Prevention and Restorative Practices in Schools: Considerations for Practitioners and Policy-makers. Camp Hill, PA: Center for Safe Schools. (www.safeschools.info/content/BPRPWhitePaper2014.pdf)

Edgar Rivera is a Policy Associate at NSCC. He has worked within the field of education in a number of capacities, both in the U.S and Guatemala. The majority of his work centers on facilitating an equitable and democratic schooling experience for all children, particularly via the active challenging of the many socio-cultural, institutional, bureaucratic and interpersonal ways in which children and their families experience marginalization in schools. Recently, he worked as a research assistant at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools on the NYC High School Choice study. He received his B.A in Sociology from Vassar College and will receive his M.A in Sociology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.