17th Annual Conference: Keynote Speakers
Salome Thomas-EL, Head of School, Thomas Edison Charter
"Every child needs someone to be crazy about them." These are the words of Salome Thomas-EL, award-winning teacher, principal, and natioanlly recognized educator. They shape his lifelong commitment to answering the question, "How do we ensure that every child achieves their greatest potential?" This question lies at the heart of the national dialogue on education policy, the day in and day out work of school personnel, and the hopes of every parent. Central to this challenge is how we succeed with children who are facing the most serious barriers to success: poverty, violence, neglect, and low expectations. For over 20 years, Principal EL has taken on this challenege with the aboslute belief that every child can and will learn as long as adults in their world care enough to not give up. Starting as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School and through his years as principal at several traditional public and charter schools, Thomas-EL has transformed the attitudes and strategies of school staff, parents, and memebers of the community to help hundreds of troubled children not only graduate from high school but go on to earn higher degrees from major school staff, parents, and members of the community to help hundeds of troubled children not only graduate from high school but go on to earn higher degrees from major colleges and universities. He brings to the process a powerful combination of passion, caring, and leadership to craft a refreshing , commonsense roadmap to help kids achieve their dreams, no matter the odds. Thomas-EL has been a teacher and principal in Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware, since 1987. He is currently the Head of School as Thomas Edison Charter School in Wilmington. Principal EL received national acclaim as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School, where his students have gone on to win world recognition as Eight-Time National Chess Champions. He was a regular contributor on the first season of The Dr. Oz Show and is the author of the best-selling books, I Choose to Stay, about his Vaux Middle School experience, and The Immortality of Influence (foreword by Will Smith), which stresses the importance of leadership, mentoring, parenting, and service to others. The Walt Disney Company has optioned the movie rights to I Choose to Stay. Thomas-EL speaks to groups across the country and frequently appears on C-SPAN, CNN, and NPR. He has studied in London and Cambridge, England, and is currnetly a doctoral candidate. He has receieved the Marcus A. Foster Award as the outstanding School District Administrator in Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania's distinguished Martin Luther King Award. Principal EL recently appeared on The Oprah Radio Network and was recognized by Reader's Digest as an "Inspiring American Icon."
Dr. Robert Anda, MD, MS, Co-Founder, Adverse Childhood Experiences
Dr. Robert (Rob) Anda graduated from Rush Medical College in 1979 and received his board certification in internal medicine in 1982. In 1984 he completed a fellowship in preventive medicine at the University of Wisconsin, received a Masters Degree in epidemiology, and was accepted into the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. He conducted research in disease surveillance, behavioral health, mental health and disease, cardiovascular disease, psychosocial origins of health-risk behaviors, and childhood determinants of health. In the early 1990’s, Rob began collaboration with Dr. Vincent Felitti at the Kaiser Permanente in San Diego to investigate child abuse as an underlying cause of medical, social, and public health problems. This effort lead to a large-scale study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track the effects of childhood trauma on health throughout the lifespan. They called it the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study). Rob played a principal role in the design of the Study, and serves as its Co-Principal Investigator and Co-Founder. Data collected from more than 17,000 patients clearly showed that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), were common, and, that they had a profound negative effect on the health and well-being and were a prime determinant of the past, current and future health behaviors, social problems, disease incidence, and early death in the study population. These findings have resulted in more than 70 publications in major medical and public health journals; the ideas from this work are now influencing the design of similar research around the world. Rob continues to work as a CDC senior scientific consultant in Atlanta, but his time is increasingly devoted to traveling the nation to consult and speak with leaders in public health, medicine, corrections, judicial and social service systems and with local, state, national, and international organizations about the ACE Study, and its findings are useful to inform programs, policy, and legislation to prevent disease and disability. Findings from the ACE Study have been presented at Congressional Briefings and numerous conferences around the world. The ACE Study is being replicated in numerous countries by the World Health Organization (WHO), and is in use to assess the childhood origins of health and social problems in more than 18 U.S. states. Rob is the author of more than 200 publications, including numerous government publications, and book chapters, and has received numerous awards and recognition for scientific achievements. He has appeared in the national newspapers and television networks and is frequently invited to speak about the ACE Study and his experiences around the country working on applications of ACE Study concepts. Just as in his work, Rob is passionate about gardening and suba diving, when his schedule permits. He also enjoys cooking, fishing, and golf. He makes his home in Fayetteville, GA.
Palmer DePaulis, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Human Services
Palmer DePaulis received his Bachelors Degree in 1967 from Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. He received his Masters Degree there from Wayne State University in 1971. He taught school in Michigan and Utah until 1974 when he joined the Allstate Insurance Company in Salt Lake City. In 1983, he went to work for Salt Lake City Corporation as Public Works Director. He was appointed as Mayor of Salt Lake City for seven months after Ted Wilson resigned in 1985 and was subsequently elected to that position in November of 1985. After serving a second term from 1987 to 1992, he joined the law firm of Richards, Brandt, Miller & Nelson, as Director of Planning and Client Relations. In 1993 he became Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jan Graham and served in that position for six years. From 1999 through June of 2006, Mr. DePaulis served as a Commissioner at the Utah State Tax Commission. In June of 2006, he was appointed by Governor Huntsman as Executive Director of the Department of Community and Culture. Four years later, in June of 2010, Governor Herbert appointed him as Executive Director of the Department of Human Services. Mr. DePaulis is actively involved in the community and serves on numerous boards and commissions.
John J. Schlitt, Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, NASBHC
John Schlitt is Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs for the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care (NASBHC). From 1997-2008, John served as NASBHC’s first executive director, leading the organization’s advocacy, education, and technical assistance efforts to strengthen and sustain school-based health centers and to build long-term financial support for the organization. In 2011 he rejoined NASBHC after exploring other public health interests. John’s twenty-five year career spans maternal, infant and child health policy, practice and advocacy arenas. He is a national authority on school-based health care financing, organization and delivery. John has worked as a clinical social worker with adolescents in psychiatric and community mental health settings and has authored several articles on school-based health care and teen pregnancy prevention. A native Floridian, John received his bachelor of science degree in psychology from the University of Florida and his master of social work degree from Florida State University.
Rena Steyaert, Program Officer for School Based Services, State of Montana Medicaid Health Resource Division
Rena holds a BS in teaching Health and Physical Education from Montana State University and has substitute taught for 7 years in Helena Montana. She is currently employed by the State of Montana’s Medicaid Health Resource Division for the past 8 years and is the Program Officer for School Based Services for the past 6 years. She is responsible for setting Medicaid reimbursement rates for School Based services in Montana, which includes a School Based Mental Health service. She develops and maintains Administrative Rules and State Plan Amendments where she works closely with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). She has served 3 years on Montana’s Special Education Advisory Panel for Montana’s Office of Public Instruction which provides guidance and suggestions for their Annual Performance Report and State Performance Plan. Rena is also a member of NAME for the past 6 years and a Leadership Team representative for the past 4 years and holds the Medicaid At Large position on the board of NAME. Rena has been appointed the Chair of the Education and Research Committee for NAME starting in Oct. 2012 and continues work with the Governmental Affairs and Public Relations Committee for NAME also. NAME is an organization that was established in 2003 in response to the need to find a national forum for addressing the increasing complexity and challenges of Medicaid in school settings. NAME’s mission is to advocate program integrity for school-based Medicaid reimbursement. NAME holds annual conferences and provides professional development at the conference and by hosting telephonic town meetings that focus on one specific topic. NAME distributes a bi-monthly newsletter called NAME-tag and has the ability to share information among members and interested parties via the NAME website. NAME also develops and conducts a Biennial Survey that gathers and interprets data and information from state Medicaid agencies, state education agencies and Local Education Agencies around the country, to better understand the School Based Medicaid Program..
Sim Gill, Salt Lake County District Attorney
Sim Gill was elected as Salt Lake County District Attorney in November 2010. As a veteran prosecutor, Sim has been a champion on issues of therapeutic justice, criminal prosecution and alternatives to prosecution. He has long been an advocate of taking a systems approach to the issues of criminal and social justice, focusing on collaborative and community oriented approaches to problem solving. Sim has collaborated on the creation and implementation of various therapeutic justice programs including Mental Health Court, Salt Lake City Domestic Violence Court, Misdemeanor Drug Court and the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center and the newly implemented Early Case Resolution program. These alternatives seek to transition those offenders out of the criminal justice system who can most benefit from other programs—giving them a much greater chance to not re-offend. Most recently, Sim has worked cooperatively with numerous community partners to launch the innovative Early Case Resolution program. ECR helps to relieve pressure in the already full court calendars and saves County resources by resolving a case early – within thirty days of filing, and often at the first court appearance. Prompt and efficient resolution of cases allows prosecutors, law enforcement and the judiciary to better focus their efforts and resources on those cases that require more attention. Sim graduated from the University of Utah with a B.A. degree in History and Philosophy. He received his J. D. degree and certificate of specialization in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.