Speakers

Peter Baenziger, MS, MD

Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, Indianapolis, IN

Peter Baenziger, MS, MD is a Pediatric Palliative care physician at Ascension St. Vincent’s Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital. Trained as a pediatrician and board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, he provides symptom relief to children with a wide variety of medical problems, from neonatal conditions and cancer to trauma and chronic life-altering conditions. Peter finds it a privilege to offer expert guidance to patients and families facing complex, value-based healthcare decisions. He deeply cares that children receive compassionate medical care that maximizes joy and minimizes suffering. He has particular interests in clinical ethics, spirituality, humanism in medicine, and caring for the whole person and whole family through a multidisciplinary approach. When he isn’t in the hospital you find Peter chasing down and tickling his 4 children, discussing the intersection of medicine and faith with his also-a-doctor wife, and staring pensively at boiling maple sap as it magically turns to syrup.

Peace Rounds: Enhancing Educational Success Through Whole-person, Palliative Care Rounding (Friday @ 10:45 am) 

 

Hannah Bohlen

DPS Hospital School at Duke University Medical Center, NC

Hannah is part of a team of hospital school teachers at Duke University Medical Center. After working together at a nearby elementary school in Durham for many years, they slowly transitioned to the Hospital School at Duke and have tried to bring a fresh perspective to educational programming at the hospital, using their combined experience in gifted education, special education, clubs and other extracurriculars to create out-of-the-box learning opportunities at the hospital and bring joy to children and families alike.

Summer Camp in the Hospital…A New Take on Summer School (Wednesday @ 1:30 pm)

Story & STEAM: Putting Wonder in Wait Time (Wednesday @ 1:30 pm)

 

 

Michele Capurso, MEd

University of Perugia, Italy

Michele Capurso is an Associate Professor of Educational and Developmental Psychology at the University of Perugia, Italy. He began his career as a schoolteacher and later worked as a hospital teacher. He also served as the Head of Practical Teacher Training programs at the University of Perugia. Capurso has authored numerous books and articles on topics such as children’s fears and coping mechanisms, understanding of illness, didactics, and communication. He has been a member of the Board of HOPE for eight years and served as President for two years. He is the founder and current Chief Editor of the journal Continuity in Education.

Hearing Their Voices: Exploring Children’s Perspectives and Enhancing Communication in Pediatric Visits (Wednesday @ 2:00pm)

 

 

Ji Yoon Chung, MEd, MFA

McGill University, Seoul National University Children’s Hospital School, South Korea

Ji Yoon Chung is an interdisciplinary artist and educator working with research-based studio practice. She uses drawing, photography, sculpture, and digital fabrication as modalities for converting an immaterial phenomenon into a material form. She is a doctoral student at McGill University in Integrated Studies in Education and a visual arts teacher at Seoul National University Children’s Hospital School. Ji Yoon holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Digital+Media and an M.Ed from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Learning Design, Innovation, and Technology.

HEART CART: Empowering Children to Engage in and Express Art (Wednesday @ 1:30 pm)

Kellee Clevenger, BEd

Riley Hospital for Children, IN

Kellee Clevenger, B.Ed is an Educational Liaison at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IN. Kellee specializes working with patients in the Outpatient Dialysis Unit and all Nephrology patients. Kellee works closely with her patient’s school to ensure they have the support they need while they are receiving dialysis 3 days per week. Kellee has been a hospital educator at Riley Hospital for Children for 8 years.

Kidney Kash and Brave Bucks…Incentive based Financial Literacy with the Kidney and Heart Carts (Wednesday @ 1:30 pm)

Megan Connolly, PhD

Children’s National Hospital

 Megan Connolly, Ph.D., is a pediatric psychologist within Children’s National Hospital. She provides clinical psychology services to patients and families in the Divisions of Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation. She also serves as an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Connolly collaborates closely with the education and medical teams to support patients’ school functioning, including school re-entry following treatment or hospitalizations, school accommodations, and coping with medical conditions in the school setting. Dr. Connolly’s clinical research program focuses on improving quality of life, including school functioning, for patients with sickle cell disease through non-pharmacological approaches to pain management and interventions to enhance a patient and family’s management of chronic illness. Dr. Connolly received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern University.

Developing a Collaborative Communication Model to Address Absenteeism for Students with Chronic Medical Conditions (Wednesday @ 11:30 am)

Lindsay DeWilde, BS

Riley Hospital for Children

Lindsay DeWilde, BS is an Educational Liaison at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IN. Lindsay specializes in Heart Transplant, Burn/Plastic Surgery, Cardiology, and Rehab patients. Lindsay follows her heart transplant patients for their entire school career post-transplant to ensure they receive the accommodations needed. Lindsay has been a hospital educator at Riley Hospital for Children for 12 years.

Kidney Kash and Brave Bucks…Incentive based Financial Literacy with the Kidney and Heart Carts (Wednesday @ 1:30 pm)

Gayle Domsch, EdD

Children’s Mercy Kansas City

Gayle Domsch earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from St. Louis University, a Master’s in Learning Disabilities from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a B.S. in Education from Concordia University-Seward, Nebraska. She has a variety of teaching experience including: five years of regular (single classroom, multi-age, elementary and middle school), three years of gifted instruction, over twenty years in special education (both resource and self-contained), four years of graduate and undergraduate courses, and ten years as a Hospital Based School Teacher. One of her greatest joys is that both her sons and one grandchild are also teachers.

Helping Schools Educate Students with Acquired Brain Injury (Thursday @ 11:30 am)

Mindy Elliott, MS

Veritas Collaborative, NC

Mindy Elliott is the Director of Education for Veritas Collaborative, a specialty hospital system for the treatment of eating disorders. She developed the academic programming since Veritas opened in 2012, and is dedicated to providing individualized academic and transition services to meet the unique needs of each patient-student.

Mindy serves on the executive board of the HEAL Association, is an Associate Editor of the international journal, Continuity in Education (CiE), and has presented dozens of workshops on hospital school practices, transition planning, eating disorder effects on the student, twice exceptionality, and the path to submitting articles for publication in the CiE journal.

School Transition Planning for Students Leaving Psychiatric Treatment (Wednesday @ 3:15 pm)

Nancy Bryson Evans

DPS Hospital School at Duke University Medical Center

Nancy is part of a team of hospital school teachers at Duke University Medical Center. After working together at a nearby elementary school in Durham for many years, they slowly transitioned to the Hospital School at Duke and have tried to bring a fresh perspective to educational programming at the hospital, using their combined experience in gifted education, special education, clubs and other extracurriculars to create out-of-the-box learning opportunities at the hospital and bring joy to children and families alike.

Summer Camp in the Hospital…A New Take on Summer School (Wednesday @ 1:30 pm)

 

 

Amy Fender

ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation

Amy Fender joined the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation in January of 2023 after teaching elementary school for 17 years in the public school systems of southwest Virginia. As an Education Navigator at Carilion Children’s in Roanoke, VA, she works with childhood cancer patients and survivors to ensure they are receiving an appropriate education. Amy attends school meetings with parents, provides staff and class inservices, and assists students with any learning needs during hospital stays and clinic visits.

Building a Statewide Educational Support Program for All Childhood Cancer Patients and Survivors (Wednesday @ 11:30 am)

 

 

Kris Frost

MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital

Kris currently serves as a school re-entry coordinator where she assists with all school related matters when pediatric patients are undergoing cancer treatment. She provides training to schools and staff to ensure that they have the tools they need when her patients return to school. With over 15 years as a school coordinator she also mentors new staff, assists with training, and provides resources to patients and families.

Creation and Implementation of an Academic Discharge Summary (Friday @ 9:30 am)

 

 

Lani Gonzales

Ad Astra Awakening

Inspired to speak for those who could not speak for themselves, Lani became a lawyer at the age of 23. Although she built the picture-perfect life, Lani fought a silent battle with depression, anxiety, and chronic PTSD. She spent over 10 years in counseling, and Lani finally found true healing and unshakable inner peace by exploring the subconscious mind. Lani returned to school and is now a clinical and quantum healing hypnotherapist. She also trained with gurus, shamans, and healers around the world to cultivate her gifts as an intuitive healer. Lani shared her healing journey in her first book, Rebirth of a Sage. Untethered from the trauma that once controlled her life, Lani learned to wield the love and light within and live a life of purpose. It is her mission to help others do the same.

Healing Hearts Through the Arts (Wednesday @ 3:15 pm)

 

 

Marcus Green, MEd

UNC Hospital School, NC

Marcus Green, MEd – STEM Education, is the Science Teacher and STEM Coordinator for the UNC Hospital School in Chapel Hill, NC. He is a lead teacher on the Pediatric medical floors specializing in students with psychiatric and/or gastrointestinal issues and is a support teacher with the Child/Adolescent Psych Unit and the Eating Disorders Unit. He teaches weekly Makerspace lessons (hands-on Science focusing on the Engineering Design Process) to various groups of students all around the hospital. He also specializes in origami, teaching students and parents how to creatively fold paper into intricate designs and has earned the moniker “Dr. Origami.”

STEM in the Hospital: An Implicit Statement of Hope (Wednesday @ 2:00 pm)

 

 

Rebeca Grysko, PhD, CBIS

Nemours Children’s Hospital, FL

Rebeca Grysko, PhD, CBIS is the School Program Coordinator at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, FL. She oversees the delivery of educational support and school liaison services for patients across all inpatient units. As a Special Education Teacher and Certified Brain Injury Specialist, Dr. Grysko is committed to improving educational outcomes for students with chronic health conditions and/or disabilities. Her areas of specialty include reading assessment and intervention and school re-entry support for children with acquired brain injury.

Assessment 101 for Hospital Teachers: Identifying Patient’s Individual Learning Needs Through Formal and Informal Assessment (Wednesday @ 11:30 am)

 

 

Jill Haskins

National Microschooling Center

Jill Haskins, Indiana Field Coordinator for the National Microschooling Center, is helping to build an ecosystem of permissionless education in Indiana. She is the Executive Director and a Classroom Teacher at Streams of Hope Christian School located in Fort Wayne, IN. Streams of Hope is a 1st-12th grade microschool with mixed age classrooms focusing on fostering independent learners. Jill is also an Indiana state licensed teacher, a former public school teacher, and homeschooling mom of 3.

Microschooling: Meeting Every Student’s Unique Needs in Fully Customized Learning Environments (Thursday @ 10:15 am)

 

 

Stefanie Hayes, BSEd

Children’s National Hospital, DC

Stefanie Hayes is an Education Specialist in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s National Hospital, where she has supported pediatric hematology, oncology, and blood and marrow transplant patients for the past 8 years. In this role, she works with patients during and after treatment with educational coordination, planning, and goal-setting and has helped lead an effort to make hospital-based teaching available as a standard of care for patients. Prior to becoming an Education Specialist, she worked in the Volunteer Services Department at Children’s National for 3 years. Stefanie has also worked for a non-profit organization, Best Buddies, where she fostered acceptance and inclusion in her community. Stefanie received her Bachelor of Science in Education, with a focus on special education, from Miami University in Ohio.

Developing a Collaborative Communication Model to Address Absenteeism for Students with Chronic Medical Conditions (Wednesday @ 11:30 am)

 

 

Joni Hildreth

Levine Children’s Hospital, Charlotte, NC

Joni Hildreth began her early career as an itinerant teacher serving exceptional children from Birth to Kindergarten, while working as a part-time Child Life Specialist. She is the School Support Coordinator for Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, NC. She provides liaison support between the patient’s family, school, and medical team for both acute and clinical care patients. Joni is a huge advocate for hospital homebound and oversees the delivery of educational supports. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education and a Master of Arts in Somatic Psychology, Dance Movement Therapy. She has over 23 years of experience working in the field of education and health services.

Heather Homan

Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN

Heather Homan, BS is an Educational Liaison at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IN. Heather specializes working with patients followed by Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Solid Tumor clinicians. Heather assists with school planning, provides ongoing educational support in the inpatient and outpatient setting, and follows her patients throughout their treatments. Heather has been a hospital educator at Riley Hospital for Children for 14 years.

All About the Riley Hospital for Children School Program (Friday @ 9:30 am)

Sarah Johnson, MS

Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital

Sarah has been an education liaison at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital for the past five years. In her current role, she is part of a multidisciplinary team in the NICU-Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program (NCNP): Child and Adolescent Clinic. This program follows patients at risk for educational difficulties based on their medical profile and prior history of congenital heart disease, heart transplantation, and/or prematurity. With a background teaching special education and master’s degree in early childhood education, Sarah is passionate about collaboration with patient families and school teams to optimize patient outcomes in the school setting.

Starting School Strong: ​Providing 1:1 education to caregivers of children with CHD to increase knowledge of and advocacy within the early childhood special education system (Thursday @ 1:30 pm)

 

 

Laura Keefe, BS, CCLS

Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital

Laura Keefe has been a Certified Child Life Specialist at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital (PMCH) for 6.5 years, specifically in the units of pediatric surgery and hematology/oncology. Laura graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and Child Life and also has extensive preschool experience in a classroom setting. Laura currently serves as the primary child life specialist for hematology and oncology patients and families, inpatient and outpatient, while also covering a pediatric acute care floor that cares for pre- and post-operative patients, behavioral health patients, and sickle cell patients. Since 2020, Laura has encountered and supported more than 100 patients and families with a new or relapsed oncology/hematology diagnosis. Laura’s favorite aspects of her role as a CCLS includes helping a patient and family navigate a new diagnosis, utilizing bibliotherapy for education and therapeutic conversations, working with support organizations such as Beads of Courage, Sheets from Home, and Flashes of Hope, as well as, playing all forms of UNO in the hospital classroom. At Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, we pride ourselves in the interdisciplinary team approach, specifically on our Pediatric Support Services Team which encompasses Child Life, Healing Arts, and School Program.

Support Through the Storm: Where School Program and Child Life Meet? (Wednesday @ 10:15 am)

 

 

Kathryn Kirkpatrick, PhD, LISW-S

Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Kathryn has been the coordinator of the school liaison program in the Division of Hematology/Oncology/BMT at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for the past 18 years. The program has expanded over the years, from serving only patients with brain tumors, to include services for all sections of the division. Kathryn was a founding member and board member of APHOES and an active participant in AECMN prior to the merge into HEAL. Her PhD is in Educational Psychology, and she has a strong interest in school belonging and connectedness, particularly for students with chronic medical conditions.

Using Tiered Intervention to Stretch Resources and Meet the Psychosocial Standards of Care for Children with Cancer (Wednesday @ 10:15 am)

Eleanor Knott, MA

Dallas ISD Hospital/Homebound Department

Eleanor Knott is a Dallas ISD Hospital / Homebound Teacher and Math Instructional Specialist. She is passionate about educating students in non-traditional settings with thoughtfulness, rigor, and care. She holds a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and spent 10 years teaching high school math before transitioning to primarily Homebound teaching. Eleanor loves getting to collaborate with students, families, and schools to come up with the best plan for her Homebound students. Outside of work, she enjoys quality time and taking walks with her husband Mike, daughter Sally, and sweet old dog Jack.

Holistic Lesson Planning: A Roundtable Discussion of Lesson Planning Best Practices for Hospital/Homebound Students (Thursday @ 10:15 am)

Kyle Landry, MEd

Children’s Wisconsin

Kyle Landry, former Milwaukee Public Schools elementary educator, is the founder/manager of the Educational Achievement Program at Children’s Wisconsin. Over 9+ years of program growth, Landry has built a team of experienced educators specially trained in neurodevelopmental sequelae of complex illness, including mental and behavioral health, and the related complexities of social determinants of health. Landry’s work standardizing/validating assessment, intervention, and outcomes processes, as well as associated tools, has led to several research grants, authorship in a nursing textbook, and two recent medical journal publications. Landry holds a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Cultural Foundations of Community and Education from UW – Milwaukee. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Healthcare Leadership to round out her expertise braiding together the complex systems of education and healthcare.

Standardizing the Field of Hospital Educator and Academic Liaison Practice (Wednesday @ 2:00 pm)

Kristin Lile

Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN

Kristin Lile, BS is an Educational Liaison at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IN. Kristin specializes in working with patients followed by Neuro-Oncology, Neurosurgery, Hematology, and Inpatient Rehabilitation. Kristin helps with setting up appropriate school plans, providing ongoing school support in the inpatient and outpatient setting, and following her parents throughout their treatments. Kristin has been a hospital educator at Riley Hospital for Children for 8 years.

All About the Riley Hospital for Children School Program (Friday @ 9:30 am)

Susan Lindsay, BS

ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation

Susan Lindsay joined ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation as Director of Programs in Fall of 2021. Since that time, she has led the statewide expansion of ASK educational & financial support to serve childhood cancer families treated at five different pediatric cancer treatment centers across Virginia. Susan has significant experience in both the corporate and non-profit sectors leading educational, mental wellness, and customer service programs. She looks forward to continuing to grow support for childhood cancer patients, survivors, and their families across Virginia.

Building a Statewide Educational Support Program for all Childhood Cancer Patients and Survivors (Wednesday @ 11:30 am)

 Alex Lion, DO, MPH

Riley Hospital for Children

Alex Lion, DO MPH, is a pediatric neuro-oncologist whose scholarship focuses on the integration of patient religion and spirituality into their care, with special attention to religious and spiritual diversity. He has co-authored multiple publications in this area including ethics publications on physician prayer and how to address parents praying for a miracle, a review of chaplain notes with insights how to integrate chaplain care into medical practice, as well as a pilot study of interprofessional spiritual care in pediatric hematology/oncology. Dr. Lion currently holds a grant to provide team-based spiritual care training across the statewide IU Health system. Dr. Lion is the co-director of the Religion and Spirituality in Medicine Scholarly Concentration at the IU School of Medicine. He is also the associate director of the Evans Center for the Integration of Spiritual and Religious Values at IU Health, in which he hosts a quarterly spirituality research colloquium. On a national level, Dr. Lion sits on the executive leadership committee for the Conference on Medicine and Religion, which he is leading a team from IU in hosting in 2024 in Indianapolis.

Spirituality and the Work of the Hospital Educator/Academic Liaison (Wednesday @ 3:15 pm)

Jon Longanecker, BA

ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation

Jon Longenecker joined the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation in October of 2021 after teaching Special Education for 30 years in the public school system in Central Virginia. where he developed a Transition Program for students 18-22. This program helped students with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism achieve a much higher rate of employment than their peers. As an Education Navigator at Children’s Hospital of Richmond, VA, he works with childhood cancer patients and survivors to ensure they are receiving an appropriate education. Jon acts as a liaison between the clinic and the schools. He attends school meetings with parents, provides class in-services, and assists students with any learning needs during treatments and clinic visits.

Building a Statewide Educational Support Program for all Childhood Cancer Patients and Survivors (Wednesday @ 11:30 am)

Ellen Lowe, MEd

UNC Hospital School, NC

Ellen Lowe, MEd – Secondary Mathematics, is the Math Teacher and Academic Troubadour Coordinator for the UNC Hospital School in Chapel Hill, NC. In her role as a math teacher, she works with students in the Neuroscience Hospital and Pediatric Hospital, offering both group and individual instruction in grade-level math and math extensions. Additionally, she assists in conducting weekly Makerspace lessons, emphasizing hands-on science with a focus on the Engineering Design Process for various groups of students throughout the hospital. As the Academic Troubadour Coordinator, Ellen organizes virtual educational field trips with outreach educators at North Carolina Zoo and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science. This program emphasizes the School Improvement Goals focused on STEM Education.

STEM in the Hospital: An Implicit Statement of Hope (Wednesday @ 2:00 pm)

Naomi Luban, MD

Children’s National Hospital

Science JourneysScience JourneysDr. Naomi Luban is the Vice Chair of Academic Affairs, Senior Hematologist, PI of several NIH grants. She is a tenured Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Her research interests are focused on clinical and translational investigations of transfusion safety and include studies of infectious and non-infectious complications of transfusion including RBC and HLA alloimmunization, graft versus host disease and evidence-based transfusion practices. Studies include the molecular characterization of genes associated with alloimmunization and genetic modifiers of hemoglobin F expression.

Dr. Luban has served the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other professional associations in a number of roles including Special Emphasis Panels and review groups and as the transfusion consultant for a series of National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)-supported transfusion studies.

Science Journeys (Thursday @ 1:30 pm)

Courtney Lyon, BS, CCLS

Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, Indianapolis, IN

Courtney Lyon spent 7 years at Riley Hospital for Children working on the Heart Center and Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit before transitioning into her new role at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital where she currently serves patient and families in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Burn Intensive Care Unit, Outpatient Burn Clinic, Acute Care Inpatient Unit, and consults throughout the adult side of the hospital for over the past 8 months as a Certified Child Life Specialist. While at Riley and currently at Peyton Manning, Courtney participates in weekly Peace Rounds with members of the multidisciplinary team to work towards creating a safe, healing space for each patient touched. Courtney sits on the Bereavement Committee, Integrative Health Committee, and is the Co-Chair for the Great Lakes Association of Child Life Professionals Education Committee leading students and professionals through professional webinars and conferences. Courtney takes pride in providing family centered care when approaching each patient, and values family and patients needs first. Courtney is a strong advocate for self-care, mental health advocacy, and building a strong foundation of trust with each patient and family. The collaboration between the School Program, Palliative Care, Healing Arts, Child Life, and Pet Therapy is invaluable and is something Courtney takes pride in every day at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.

Peace Rounds: Enhancing Educational Success Through Whole-person, Palliative Care Rounding (Friday @ 10:45 am) 

 

Alisah McGuire, MSW

Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN

Alisha McGuire (she/her) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the Pediatric Palliative Care Team at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. For the past seven years, Alisha has developed a deep passion for working with patients and families adjusting to illness/diagnosis, anticipatory grief, and bereavement as a medical social worker.  Alisha serves as Co-Chair with the Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) Pediatrics Special Interest Group and SWHPN representative for the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care Pediatric Division. She volunteers on the planning committee for Camp Healing Tree, an annual children’s grief camp through Brooke’s Place for Grieving Young People. Alisha received her Master’s in Social Work from Rutgers University as a part of their Advanced Standing Program. She is a Certified Advanced Palliative and Hospice Social Worker (APHSW-C) with an additional Certification in Palliative Care and End-of-Life through the Smith School of Social Work. She is currently a Fellow with NYU’s Zelda Foster Leadership Fellowship in Palliative Care and End of Life.

Peace Rounds: Enhancing Educational Success Through Whole-person, Palliative Care Rounding (Friday @ 10:45 am) 

 

Rachel Meyen, MEd

DPS Hospital School at Duke University Medical Center

We are a team of hospital school teachers at Duke University Medical Center. After working together at a nearby elementary school in Durham for many years, we slowly transitioned to the Hospital School at Duke and have tried to bring a fresh perspective to educational programming at the hospital, using our combined experience in gifted education, special education, clubs and other extracurriculars to create out-of-the-box learning opportunities at the hospital and bring joy to children and families alike.

Story & STEAM: Putting Wonder in Wait Time

Summer Camp in the Hospital…A New Take on Summer School (Thursday @ 1:30 pm)

Lenora Nardelli, MEd

Cincinnati Children’s

Lenora Nardelli is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati where she received a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Education in Special Education. She began her teaching career in the public-school setting and taught at the primary level for over ten years. In 2017, she began her work at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, as a School Specialist, providing liaison support between the patient’s family, school, and medical team for patients with chronic health conditions. In addition to serving as a school liaison, Lenora is passionate about educating those in the medical field regarding special education and facilitating in the efforts of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to be a School-Friendly Health System.

Measuring Our Impact (Thursday @ 2:30 pm)

Elaina Parrillo, RN

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

Elaina is a DNP-PNP/PhD candidate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. For her dissertation, she is studying pediatric cancer survivorship and how parent experiences influence their child’s transition to school during or after treatment. Specifically, she is interested in how parents’ experience of support influences child psychosocial outcomes. After completion of her program, she plans to combine both research and practice as a pediatric nurse practitioner to optimize quality of life of the child and family, reduce the burden of late effects, and improve interdisciplinary communication.

Parent Desired Resources and Support for School Following Cancer (Thursday @ 1:30 pm)

Reframing Late-Effects of Childhood Cancer as a Chronic Medical Condition to Support Educational Attainment (Thursday @ 2:30 pm)

Kristin Privett, MSEd

Cincinnati Children’s, OH

Kristin has been providing school support to inpatient students at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for 11 years. She taught in the classroom at Cincinnati Public for 13 years prior coming to CCHMC. Kristin has a BS in Elementary Education (K-8) and an MS in Educational Psychology. When she is not problem solving with her students, she is spending her time with her husband and 3 children.

Partnerships Multiply Teaching Hands (Thursday @ 11:30 am)

Donna Romack, EdD

Riley Hospital for Children

Donna Romack, Ed.D., is the Education Specialist and School and Community Liaison for the Outpatient Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplant Division at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IN. Dr. Romack is a career educator who joined the Indiana University School of Medicine team in 2016. Dr. Romack provides educational support, advocacy, cognitive therapy, and school liaison services for cancer survivors and those with chronic health conditions such as sickle cell disease and neurofibromatosis. Dr. Romack is focusing her efforts on the creation of individualized, scaffolded plans that aim to develop self-management, self-care, and self-advocacy skills, facilitating the fulfillment of a young person’s potential.

Building Self-Management and Self-Advocacy Skills in Students with Sickle Cell Disease: Communicating in the School Setting (Thursday @ 10:00 am)

Christie Ruehl, JD, MBA

Children’s Wisconsin

Bio coming soon!

Standardizing the Field of Hospital Educator and Academic Liaison Practice (Wednesday @ 2:00 pm)

Rachel Smilow, MA

Children’s National Hospital, DC

Rachel Smilow is the Program Manager for Science Journeys and METEOR. She received her MA in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University and a BA in History from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Science Journeys (Thursday @ 1:30 pm)

Deborah South, MEd, CBIS

Cincinnati Children’s

Debbie South is a School Liaison Specialist with the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) and a member of the multidisciplinary team in the Complex Brain Health and Wellness Clinic. For the past ten years, she has provided support and recommendations to families and school teams when planning patients’ return to school after hospitalization with inpatient rehabilitation. Prior to her liaison position with CCHMC, she taught science for 22 years in both the private and public school settings.
She received both her undergraduate and master’s degrees in education from Xavier University with a graduate certification from George Washington University in Brain Injury and Transition Services. She recently obtained her certificate as a Brain Injury Specialist through Brain Injury Association of America.

Measuring Our Impact (Thursday @ 2:30 pm)

Brianne Starin, MAT

DPS Hospital School at Duke University Medical Center, NC

We are a team of hospital school teachers at Duke University Medical Center. After working together at a nearby elementary school in Durham for many years, we slowly transitioned to the Hospital School at Duke and have tried to bring a fresh perspective to educational programming at the hospital, using our combined experience in gifted education, special education, clubs and other extracurriculars to create out-of-the-box learning opportunities at the hospital and bring joy to children and families alike.

Story & STEAM: Putting Wonder in Wait Time (Thursday @ 1:30 pm)

Summer Camp in the Hospital…A New Take on Summer School (Thursday @ 1:30 pm)

Sarah Steinke, MEd, MA

Cincinnati Children’s, OH

Sarah Steinke has spent her career as a hospital teacher for 23 years. Sarah has taught a variety of patient populations including cancer, bone marrow transplant, psychiatry and complex care. Prior to her time at the hospital, she taught high school social studies and is a mom to 3 kids. Currently she is a School Specialist serving the patients with the highest educational risk for The Center for School Services. She also partners with The University of Cincinnati acting as an adjunct instructor who supervises student teachers. At the hospital she also coordinates many community and university volunteers and student teachers and heads the teacher licensure for the hospital.

Partnerships Multiply Teaching Hands (Thursday @ 11:30 am)

Madison Stewart

Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN

Madison Stewart, M.S.Ed. recently stepped into the role as the School Program Manager at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana. Prior to her current role, Madison served as an Education Liaison at Riley Hospital working with patients followed by Solid Tumor Oncology and Hematology. She also supported students receiving treatment at the Simon Skjodt Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit and the Charis Center for Eating Disorders. Madison shares it is her greatest joy to support patients and families navigating difficult medical journeys and to work alongside some of the best educators in Indiana. Madison has been a hospital educator at Riley Hospital for Children since 2021 and was a Special Education Teacher in Indianapolis Public Schools from 2019-2021.

All About the Riley Hospital for Children School Program (Friday @ 9:30 am)

 Beth Stuchell

CS Mott Children’s Hospital, MI

Beth Stuchell is the School Liaison for the Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at University of Michigan Health, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Beth began her professional career as an elementary and middle school teacher, then obtained a social work degree. Beth started at University of Michigan Health as a medical social worker with the Pediatric HemOnc and Transplant Program, then transitioned to the role of a school liaison in 2013. Areas of interest include oncology survivorship, addressing health-related barriers to educational and vocational opportunities in the teen and young adult cancer population and fostering multi-disciplinary research collaborations.

New Member Orientation (Wednesday @ 10:15 am)

Lalia Susini

LATE Clothing LA, CA

At just 11 years old Lalia Susini was on track to play professional soccer, her lifelong dream. She had the determination, athleticism and as a nationally ranked track athlete, she had the speed. While acting on ABC’s hit show, Station 19, Lalia would change into her soccer uniform and run straight from set to the soccer field. She was able to do it all and in her spare time was an up-and-coming BMX racer, trying to qualify for California’s state BMX circuit. Everything changed on October 22, 2020 when she was involved in an accident that left her with a severe traumatic brain injury, stroke and left side paralysis. Lalia came into the Cedars Sinai emergency department with not much hope and major blood loss. Just on the ride to the hospital paramedics had to pull over twice to revive her. She survived the first night and doctors told her family that with the severity of her brain damage that we were going to have to take it day by day. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months and Lalia defied the odds. Once Lalia was out of critical condition, she was medically transferred to CHLA where she would re-learn to walk and adapt to partial left side paralysis. 

After inpatient and outpatient hospital stays, surgeries and intense physical therapy at CHLA, she is living up to her goal.  There have been ups and downs and CHLA has been by her side the entire time. As Lalia enters the hospital weekly, she updates the security guards with what she’s been doing at school and as she enters the hospital cafeteria the chefs and workers ask her how basketball practice was this week. Lalia has more that just doctors and nurses that support her at CHLA, she has what seems like the support of every employee at CHLA. On the rehabilitation floor, she has made lifelong bonds with children from all over the United States who made CHLA their healing sanctuary too.  

She has lived at CHLA, gone to school at CHLA and will always be devoted the hospital that has made its mission to care for ALL children. 

UPDATE:  Lalia is currently attending Sierra Canyon for high school. She is enrolled in honor classes and plays on their basketball team.

Awards Luncheon Presentation (Thursday @ 12:45 pm)

Donna Tye-Lewis, MEd

Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, OK

Donna has worked in education for 20 years. She taught special education in Oklahoma public schools for the first 13 years of her career and has spent the last 8 years working as the School Program Coordinator at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital. She provides educational support to all patients in the hospital and assists when patients transition back to school. She is part of the Child Life and Therapeutic Programs team but coordinates with many of the specialty medicine teams within the hospital to support patients’ educational needs.

Better Together: A Collaborative Approach to the Whole Child (Thursday @ 3:45 pm)

Lizette Valles, MEd

National Microschooling Center/Ellemercito Academy

Lizette Valles, M.Ed., is the founder of Compass Educators: A Holistic Educational Services Center & Ellemercito Academy, a Los Angeles-based microschool with a focus on experiential/place-based learning. Her mission is to nurture students who think critically, develop a growth mindset, and demonstrate empathy. She is dedicated to reimagining education, implementing trauma-informed approaches in out-of-system school models such as the fast-growing small school movement, and providing guidance to families seeking personalized learning environments that will best serve their children.

For over 16 years, her career in education has included teaching middle/high school English, serving as a K-12 librarian, publishing a bilingual children’s book, launching supportive alternative education programs for families, organizing the largest free virtual summer camp during the pandemic, founding Compass Educators in 2020 and Ellemericito Academy in 2021, and growing the microschooling ecosystem in California as the California & Spanish-speaking Field Coordinator with the National Microschooling Center.

Microschooling: Meeting Every Student’s Unique Needs in Fully Customized Learning Environments (Thursday @ 10:00 am)

Baron Warren

Cuts & Coaching LLC, MI

Baron Warren is an international speaker, best-selling author, and life coach who works with individuals in the area of personal growth. His passionate speaking style and his tough love approach has motivated, inspired and influence many men around the country and beyond. Baron served proudly in the United States Navy for a total of eight years, during a time of war following the attacks of 9/11. While on active duty, Baron traveled to over twenty different countries worldwide and stayed deployed out to sea for up to eight months at a time. Baron received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of La Verne in southern California in 2012 and was honorably discharged from the military that same year. Upon leaving the military, Baron served as a correctional officer for several years with the Michigan Department of Corrections and conducted multiple group trainings involving conflict resolution and living a life of integrity with hundreds of prisoners statewide. Baron is currently the president of Cuts & Coaching LLC which serves males in the areas of education, employment, independent living, and grooming standards for daily living. Baron Warren has dedicated his life to serving his community by making a positive impact to those in need.

Balancing Care & Commitment: Stress Management for Student Support Professionals (Thursday @ 3:45 pm)

Stacy Willett

Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN

Stacy Willett, BS is an Educational Liaison at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IN. Stacy specializes in Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Inpatient Cystic Fibrosis patients. Stacy follows her leukemia and lymphoma patients during their treatment journey and provides school support post-treatment to ensure they receive the accommodations needed to continue to be successful in school. Stacy has been a hospital educator at Riley Hospital for Children for 21 years.

All About the Riley Hospital for Children School Program (Friday @ 9:30 am)

Heather Wiselogle, MEd

Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, IN

Heather Wiselogle spent 15 years in a traditional elementary school prior to transitioning to the classroom at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent in Indianapolis. Since 2018 she has supported over 130 oncology patients and families with school needs in and out of the hospital before, during, and after treatment. She also serves as hospital teacher/liaison to other inpatient units and outpatient clinics including, but not limited to, PICU, pediatric acute care units, burn unit and outpatient burn clinic, TNICU and adult units with adolescent and/or young adult patients, Women’s Hospital/NICU, and speciality outpatient clinics. The hospital classroom is utilized for school sessions for inpatients (with flexibility to do bedside sessions) to provide patients with a “school away from school” opportunity to keep their academic goals on track in light of an extended hospital stay. Heather also provides liaison and advocacy work to connect school/home/hospital to support patients’ learning needs, re-entry to school, IEP/504 planning and accommodation recommendations. At Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, we pride ourselves in the interdisciplinary team approach, specifically on our Pediatric Support Services Team which encompasses Child Life, Healing Arts, Pet Therapy and School Program.

Support Through the Storm: Where School Program and Child Life Meet (Wednesday@ 10:15 am)

Peace Rounds: Enhancing Educational Success Through Whole-person, Palliative Care Rounding (Friday @ 10:45 am)

Register Now!