Connecting the Dots Conference

CTD 2020


Program Speakers

Dr. Chavez Phelps

Dr. Phelps

Welcome Speaker

Dr. Chavez Phelps is an assistant professor of school psychology at Indiana State University.  Dr. Phelps teaches courses in socioemotional assessment and intervention, ethics and law in school psychology, and child trauma.  His research interests include child trauma and social justice.  Dr. Phelps offers professional development in trauma-informed care, social justice, and advocacy for school districts and state associations across the country.  He is a member of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Government and Professional Advocacy Committee, where he represents the central region of the United States.  From 2009 to 2017, he functioned as a school-based practitioner in New Orleans, Louisiana, working in non-traditional school settings such as juvenile correctional facilities, adolescent mental health hospitals, alternative high schools, and school-based therapeutic programs.  He also engaged in mental health public policy initiatives for the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana.  

Dr. Brandie Oliver


Keynote Address: Socio-emotional Learning and Trauma

Dr. Brandie Oliver is an Associate Professor in the School Counseling Program at Butler University. Prior to her current role, she worked as a middle school counselor but also has experience at the elementary and high school levels. Brandie sees her role as a resource and support for Professional School Counselors as well as an advocate and source of positive change for all students, parents, and educators.  She presents at state, regional, and national conferences, and provides professional development to educators, and collaborates with other educational fields to emphasize the importance of working across disciplines for compelling and long-term change. Her specific areas of interest include the development of comprehensive school counseling programs, school culture and restorative practices, culturally responsive practices, suicide prevention/intervention, and implementing social-emotional learning within an MTSS framework. Dr. Oliver is dedicated to the training and professional development of all educators that strive to be change agents in PK-12 education.

Dr. Bradley Balch


Presentation Title: School and District Administrators' Role in Supporting School-Based Mental Health Services

Bradley Balch, PhD, is Professor and Dean Emeritus at Indiana State University. He is currently a graduate faculty member in the Department of Educational Leadership, Bayh College of Education and Affiliate Faculty member in the Department of Management, Information Systems, and Business Education, Scott College of Business.  Balch is a former superintendent, principal, assistant principal, and teacher throughout West Central Indiana.  Balch was also a two-term board member and president for the Covington Community School Corporation in Covington, Indiana.  Balch has been an educator of industrial technology and mathematics since 1984, having taught kindergarten through 12th grade in a variety of school settings. Balch received Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in education from the Ball State University, and a doctor of philosophy degree in educational administration from Indiana State University.

Balch served on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) from 2012-2015.  He also served on the Board of Directors for the Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities (TECSCU) from 2008 through 2016 and was president from 2011 through 2012.  Balch is a member of the Indiana Association of School Principals, and in 2012, won its President’s Award. Balch focuses on a strong belief in continuous school improvement, and the power of strong leadership and governance at the district level to restore trust and confidence in local control.  He has more than 160 presentations throughout the United States and internationally on topics ranging from accreditation and continuous improvement to leadership and governance imperatives.  Balch has more than 60 publications, including four books.  His most recent books include Building great school board-superintendent teams: A systematic approach to balancing roles and responsibilities (Balch & Adamson, 2018) from Solution Tree Press, and Building great school counselor-administrator teams: A systematic approach to supporting student, staff, and the community (Balch & Balch, 2019) also from Solution Tree Press.

Dr. Charles Barrett


Presentation Title: The Centrality of Social Justice in Schools: Implications for Mental Health and Equitable Outcomes

Charles A. Barrett, PhD, NCSP is a lead school psychologist with Loudoun County Public Schools and adjunct lecturer at Northern Virginia Community College, the Graduate School of Education at Howard University, and the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University.  An award-winning educator for his commitment to students, families, schools, and communities, Charles holds various leadership positions with the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and frequently speaks to a variety of professional and lay audiences about promoting positive outcomes for children.  To learn more about Charles, including his books on a variety of topics that are relevant to educators and communicate hope and wholeness, visit

Dr. Todd Savage


Presentation Title: Applying School Safety and Crisis Response Principles in Addressing Multiple Traumas and other Mental Health Needs of Students and Staff

Todd A. Savage, Ph.D., NCSP is a professor of school psychology at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls; he is also a past president of the National Association of School Psychologists. Dr. Savage’s scholarly interests include social justice in education; LGBTQ+ student issues, with a focus on gender diversity; and school safety and crisis response matters. To date, he has co-facilitated close to 100 PREPaRE workshops, in addition to numerous suicide risk assessment and behavior threat assessment and management workshops. 



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