Meet Your Host

Denise Square

Denise Moody, MSW, LICSW
Emotionally Healthy Educators

Denise Moody is the Assistant Director of Student Services with Rochester Public Schools. She has been working in educational settings for fifteen years, working with early childhood through high school age students primarily at the district level. Ms. Moody has special interest in the area of trauma-informed systems of care, school-based mental health and multi-tiered systems of support. She has been an adjunct professor at Winona State University in the Department of Social Work since 2006 and has a small private practice providing psychotherapy to adolescents and adults. Ms. Moody holds a bachelor’s degree from Winona State University in Social Work and a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas/College of St. Catherine in Social Work. She has also completed post graduate work in the area of Educational Leadership with the University of Minnesota and is licensed as a Director of Special Education and as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Ms. Moody is also the Founder and Director of an educational consulting and events firm, Resilience Impact, LLC.

Meet Your Speakers


Alexis Shepard, M.Ed
Rewriting the "Good Teacher" Narrative: Self-Care & Sustainability

Alexis Shepard is a 9th year educator in Upstate, South Carolina with both middle level and elementary experience. After multiple encounters with burn-out, a desire to take steps towards self-care led to the creation of her brand, The AfroEducator. Originally intended to facilitate connections with likeminded educators, a passion was ignited in Alexis to empower teachers towards wellness. In her work, Alexis seeks to create pervasive perceptions of wellness that will improve teacher outlook and sustainability. As The AfroEducator, Alexis champions teacher self-care through education, reflection, and dialogue. She believes that by sharing her stories, she can inspire and empower teachers to take control of their own narratives.

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Amber Harper
8 Simple Steps to Go from Burned-Out to BURNED-IN

Amber Harper is an author, educator, Teacher Burnout Coach, and Certified Google Trainer whose mission is to Activate Teacher Self-Empowerment to beat burnout and live a happy, fulfilled life. She’s the founder of www.burnedinteacher.com and is obsessed with helping educators go from burned-out to BURNED-IN. She also hosts a weekly podcast dedicated to action, inspiration, and support for teachers dealing with teacher burnout called The Burned-In Teacher Podcast.


Birdie Cunningham
Good Sleep as a Protective Factor for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Birdie is a social-entrepreneur with twenty years of experience in public health developing and implementing multi-faceted programs, interventions and outreach for health and wellness, with a concentration on sleep research and behavior change. In addition to starting Spndle, she is currently the Associate Director of Health Promotion, at the Center for Well-Being at the University of St. Thomas, and past Director of Operations & Programming for the Center for College Sleep. She is past president of the North Central College Health Association and in 2017 received the Ruth E. Boynton Award for Distinguished Service to the American College Health Association. Birdie has otherwise been helping organizations with population sleep strategies for over a decade.

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Courtney & Christopher Daikos
Finding Your Center to Serve Others: Universal Mental Health Practices for Adults to Benefit & Support Youth During Trying Times

Courtney Vollan Daikos is an educational leader with nearly 20 years of public school leadership experience as classroom teacher, instructional coach, K-12 administrator and as a consultant. As Lead Consultant and Co-Founder of Continua Consulting Group, Courtney supports school districts in successfully implementing the Trauma-Informed Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (T-MTSS) framework. Courtney’s expertise in instructional design, leadership, child development, culturally responsive pedagogy and systems implementation provide for skillful, strategic consultation to principals, system and teacher leaders. Courtney holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from University of Illinois, a Master of Education Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from University of Washington, and a P-3 Executive Leadership Certificate from the University of Washington’s P-3 Center.

Christopher L. Daikos is an experienced educational & psychological consultant, school administrator, special education teacher and school psychologist. He seeks to help school systems develop an egalitarian psychological approach to the educational experience. Christopher supports schools to implement sustainable practices for addressing anxiety, depression, self-soothing and a lexicon for communicating psychological needs. Christopher’s research interests are in the Function of Behavior, Community Integration and Low Cost, High Yield Behavioral Interventions. Christopher holds a Bachelor of Science of Arts Degree in Ecological Studies and Philosophy from Seattle University, a Master of Special Education Degree from Seattle University, a Master of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from University of Washington, and an Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology from University of Washington.

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Danna Thomas                                                              Happy Teacher Revolution: Supporting the Mental Health and Wellness of Educators Around the World

Danna Thomas is a former Baltimore City Public School teacher turned founder of a global initiative to support the mental health and wellness of educators. Her organization, Happy Teacher Revolution, is on a mission to increase teacher happiness, retention, and professional sustainability by providing educators with the time and space to heal, deal, and be real about the social-emotional demands they face on the job. Danna served as the national spokeswoman for the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) Maryland and the “Music for Mental Health” campaign. She is the recipient of the 2019 Johns Hopkins Community Hero Award and the 2019 winner of the Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab. Danna’s favorite forms of self-care include playing backgammon, community hot yoga, and rocking out on the saxophone.

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Dayna Jondal, MA, NBC-HWC, RYT-500
Explore Nonviolent Communication: A Personal Tool for Letting Self-Compassion Emerge

Dayna is a Well-being Coach and yoga therapist – in – training who currently works as a Resilience Specialist at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. She completed her Master of Arts in Integrative Health & Well-being Coaching at the University of Minnesota, and maintains a private tele- coaching practice. She discovered Nonviolent Communication in 2014, and found it so personally healing and practical that she continues to use it daily – both with herself and clients. Her personal resilience story involves healing herself from anxiety through nutrition, yoga, expressive arts, and lifestyle medicine. She loves witty banter, black coffee, playing viola, and is passionate about playful approaches to coaching. Her deep wish is to see the food system healed.


Erica N. Wortherly, LCSW
Teaching with Mental Health in Mind

Erica N. Wortherly is a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in working with educators and parents to improve their understanding of mental health. She earned her BA in Communications from University of North Florida and Masters in Social Work from Florida State University. Erica travels for speaking engagements in schools, churches, and conferences for professional development, community, and caregiver workshops on topics including: self-care practices, mental health awareness, becoming trauma-sensitive, and more. She is also the author of two children's books which are intended to be read with children about difficult emotions: "I Scream Because I'm Angry" and "Dear Everybody, Admit There's Hurt." Her current projects include two books which specifically address educator mental health.As a former teacher and social worker, she will always be an educator. Through her private practice and Teaching with Mental Health in Mind, Erica advocates for shifting mindsets to create more flexible, empathetic and comfortable environments for children and the adults who care for them to thrive.


Julia Bantimba
Reflective Practice On the Go: Using Strategic Moments to Support Teachers in Reflecting on their Work

Julia earned her MS in occupational therapy at Boston University’s Sargent College, and has been practicing as a licensed occupational therapist since 2013. Currently, Julia works for Seneca Family of Agencies as a full-time trauma-informed care/occupational therapy consultant to their five non-public schools. There, she provides support to staff through modeling strategies with students, clinical consultation, trainings to their multidisciplinary team of staff, as well as consultation regarding school policies and procedures. Prior to Seneca, Julia worked for A Better Way, Inc. in Oakland, CA providing direct therapy for children birth through adolescence, who have extensive trauma and/or are involved in the child welfare system, and who have difficulty with sensory and emotional regulation. Additionally, Julia’s consultation and trainings in the community focus on the ways in which early childhood trauma impacts the development and function of the sensory system, highlighting the ways in which providers of any discipline can utilize sensory-based strategies to regulate their clients. Julia is a certified Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics trainer, faculty member and graduate of the UC Davis-Napa Infant Parent Mental Health Fellowship and is trained in multiple models. She has completed certification in: Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT Phase I and II), Attachment, Regulation and Competency Model (ARC), the Newborn Behavior Observation (NBO), Fussy Baby Level 1, NCAST Feeding Scale, and various Cultural Humility trainings including train-the-trainer.


Dr. LaWanda Wesley
Raising Anti-Racist Children through Love & Healing

LaWanda Wesley currently serves as Oakland Unified School District’s Director of Quality Enhancement and Professional Development of Early Education. She supports a cadre of dynamic 200-plus teachers and an early leadership team. Dr. Wesley also co-directs a statewide leadership fellowship titled the California Consortium for Equity in Early Childhood Education Fellowship and is the Co-Founder and Co-Director for the Center for Equity in Early Childhood Education in service of disrupting race inequities at its root cause. Wesley is the co-author of the second book in the trauma series titled Culturally Responsive Self-Care for Early Childhood Educators and contributor to the recently published California Department of Education document, Responsive Early Education for Young Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness. Additionally, Dr. Wesley trains on trauma responsive practices and healing in a highly specialized area for the Center for Optimal Brain Integration. She is audaciously dedicated to changing the lives of all children, especially those from communities of color, poverty, and furthest reach from opportunity.


Sarah Clarke
Hacking Educator Resilience: A Therapist’s Guide to Creating a Mindset and Culture of Resiliency Practices

Sarah Clarke, MA, LPCC, is a licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, who has been working with children, adults and families for 15 years. She has a particular focus on helping children who have experienced significant trauma, and the adults who work with them. She has a firm belief that we cannot fully help the children we know and love, until we help the adults who work with them. She has been working in overlapping worlds of mental health and education for the past five years. During that time, she has found how the techniques of mental illness treatment can be applied to the world of education. She has developed a passion for developing the skills of educators to better provide for the wellness of both themselves and their students. She currently is the Social-Emotional Learning Lead for Rochester Public Schools, and provides clinical therapy to a small case load of adults and couples at Flourish Counseling in Rochester, MN. Sarah holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the state of Minnesota.