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“Mental Health in Schools” is Topic of National Summit 

Mental Health in Schools National Summit. Outline of a head profile with heart in the center.

On May 1, 2023, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is convening a group of national school mental health experts to identify collaborative approaches to building sustainable systems of school mental health supports across the nation. The leaders attending the summit will review evidence-based practices, research, and data culled from their various organizations and projects. 

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and researchers document that good physical and mental health are important factors in children's ability to learn and succeed in school. Yet 1 in 5 students have a mental health disorder, and only around 20% get the services they need.  

“Mental health in schools is one of the biggest issues facing our country, and it affects all areas of education,” said Chad Rummel, Executive Director of CEC. “By bringing together school-community, and research-based leaders, we hope to build a collective momentum to give our education professionals the tools and support they need. We also have to recognize that when we talk about mental health, we are talking about the mental health of students AND professionals working in education.” 

Access to high-quality mental health services is especially important for students at a level where special education services are required. This national group of experts hopes that this meeting will be the first step in a larger collaboration to support all students. 

Expected to be in attendance: 

  • Renee Bradley, Program Specialist, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education   
  • Eric Bruns, Associate Director, University of Washington SMART Center 
  • Gretta Colombi, Senior Researcher in Youth, Family and Community Development, American Institutes for Research 
  • Jeremy Glauser, Founder/CEO, Philanthropist, eLuma  
  • Sharon Hoover, Co-Director & Professor of Psychiatry, National Center on School Mental Health   
  • Nancy Kelly, Chief of the Mental Health Promotion Branch, SAMHSA Center on Mental Health   
  • Tim Landrum, Professor, Behavior Health & CBHD, University of Louisville & President, Division for Emotional and Behavioral Health, Council for Exceptional Children 
  • Celeste Malone, President, National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)  
  • Chad Rummel, Executive Director, Council for Exceptional Children  
  • Amy Hunter, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University, Center for Child and Human Development   
  • Kuna Tavalin, Sr. Policy and Advocacy Advisor, Council for Exceptional Children   
  • Kelly Vaillancourt-Strobach, Director of Policy and Advocacy, National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)  
  • Laurie VanderPloeg, Associate Executive Director, Council for Exceptional Children   
  • Mark Weist, Mental Health Researcher, University of South Carolina   
  • Kimberly Yanek, Co-Director, Center for Social Behavior Support, OSEP PBIS Center   
  • And additional people who are not participating in media interviews 

Media interested in interviewing the participants after the event, please reach out to Annie Drinkard, CEC Communications and Publications Director, at to coordinate. Expected timing is after 3 p.m. E.T.  Organizations interested in partnering for further collaborative activities related to mental health should reach out to Laurie VanderPloeg, at

Posted:  27 April, 2023

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