Dr. Susan Brand
Presenting: Students, Families, and Faculty: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment
Susan Trostle Brand is a Professor of Early Childhood Education and Social Justice at the University of Rhode Island, located in Kingston, Rhode Island. Throughout her educational pursuits, Susan attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she earned her Bachelor of Science (BS) in Elementary Education, West Virginia University, where she received her Master of Arts (MA) in Reading, with Reading Specialist certification, and Pennsylvania State University, where she obtained her Doctor of Education (D.Ed.) in Curriculum and Instruction with a minor in Human Development and also Play Therapy and Administrative certifications.
A former teacher of elementary education, Susan has taught at the University of Rhode Island for the past thirty-three years. An active member within her field, Susan has served on several university-wide committees, including serving as Chairperson for the Curricular Affairs Committee, the Multicultural and Diversity Committees, the President’s Council on LGBTQ and the President’s Council on the Status of Women.
As a well-respected voice in academia, Susan has co-authored and edited four textbooks and numerous articles and reports on Curriculum, Social Justice, Children’s Play, and Storytelling.
She has presented at over 150 international, national, regional, and local conferences.
In addition, Susan has served as counselor of the Kappa Delta Pi International Education Honor Society for the past twenty-six years. In recognition of her professional excellence, Susan has received numerous awards and has been named in various publications. In 2013, she received a Multicultural Center Award for her service and leadership in diversity at URI and in the community. She received the national Lucinda Rose Counselor Award in 2007.
In 2017, Susan was awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Lifetime Achievement Award; she is one of 100 living recipients to earn this award.
Karen Buetens LICSW
Presenting Restorative Justice
Karen Buetens LICSW, is currently a Family and Community and Community Engagement Coordinator for the South Kingstown School Department. Ms. Buetens has an extensive clinical background as well as expertise in program development, community organizing and creating social justice initiatives.
Presenting Restorative Justice
Susan Casey, is a School Psychologist in South Kingstown where she has worked for the past 26 years. Susan holds a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in School Psychology as well as a Ph.D. in Education with a focus in school psychology.
Presenting: Self-Care Strategies to Prevent Professional Burnout
Kate Field was a history teacher for 18 years and a school administrator for three before taking a position as the Teacher Development Specialist at the Connecticut Educational Association in 2015, where she specializes in professional learning, new teacher induction and support, and teacher evaluation. A 2007 finalist for CT Teacher of the Year, she was also recognized as UCONN’s 2015 ECE Outstanding Educator of the Year. A two-time Fulbright scholar, Dr. Field has visited schools around the world, including South Africa, Japan, China, Hungary, and Germany. She has presented for numerous national organizations, including: ASCD, Learning Forward, National Council for Social Studies, National Association of Biology Teachers, and the College Board.
Lisa Parker, LICSW
Presenting: LGBTQ+ Students, Families, and Faculty: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment
As an elementary school teacher in Long Beach, CA, Lisa Parker found that she was more interested in helping students become ready to learn than teaching academics. She returned to school to earn a Masters in Social Work at UCLA, and returned to Long Beach Unified to open their first one-room schoolhouse for homeless youth housed in a family shelter.
She has continued to work as a school social worker in several school districts in Rhode Island including Woonsocket, Smithfield, and North Smithfield. Lisa also spent almost a decade running a private practice, Solutions Counseling LLC.
Lisa currently works at Cumberland High School. Four years ago, Cumberland became the first district in RI to have a policy for students who identify as Transgender or Gender Non-Conforming. Lisa was and continues to be an advocate for all students including those who identify on the LGBTQ spectrum by working collaboratively with both staff and administration to ensure that the policy is supporting students as intended. She helped to establish Cumberland’s first middle school Gay-Straight Alliance and currently co-advises the high school GSA.
Lisa is deeply passionate about social justice and equity, and this passion drives her work in making meaningful connections with students and helping to maintain an inclusive and supportive learning environment.
Christi Saurette, LICSW, ACSW
Presenting: Restorative Justice
Christi Saurette has been a school social worker in South Kingstown for over 16 years. She has work experience as a Student Assistance Counselor as well as a substance abuse counselor. Christi received her MSW from Rhode Island College, and is a Certified Yoga Instructor.