Gwinnett County Public Schools School Counseling logo

Gwinnett County Public Schools Mini-Conference


September 25-27, 2023

Gwinnett Technical College
Busbee Center (Building 700)


You are invited to attend!

School Counselors from Gwinnett County School District are invited to attend a day of training and inspiration with various speakers. You can also visit with area youth service agencies and sponsors, who will display information on their available services. Come be refreshed and invigorated to continue the work you are doing. For the full schedule see below.

Also, all schools will receive a COMPLIMENTARY BOOKSTORE VOUCHER to be used to shop at the on-site NCYI Resource Fair.

With grateful appreciation to Gwinnett Technical College for hosting the Mini-Conference!


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Sejal Foxx headshot

Sejal Parikh Foxx​

Dr. Sejal Parikh Foxx is a Professor and Department Chair at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is also the Founder and Director of the Urban School Counseling Collaborative. She is co-author of School Counseling in the 21st Century. In 2015, she received the Counselor Educator of the Year Award from the North Carolina School Counselor Association. Dr. Foxx has presented over 160 conference presentations, invited workshops, and district trainings.

Prior to becoming a faculty member, Dr. Foxx was a high school and elementary school counselor in Florida. She worked in Title 1 settings and developed a passion for student advocacy, data-driven school counseling, and post-secondary readiness services.

Small groups can be a powerful source of support for students. In this session, participants will learn how to create small groups from start to finish.  The audience will learn the structure of groups, leadership skills for facilitating sessions, and the process for evaluating effectiveness.

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Julia Cooke headshot

Julia Cook

Kevin Yaudes headshot

Dr. Kevin Yaudes

Meghan Goldbeck headshot

Megan Goldbeck

Ferguson Brooke headshot

Brooke Ferguson

Books That Make a Positive Difference

Julia Cook

Room: Cypress

In Julia’s presentation, Books That Make a Positive Difference, she leads an entertaining discussion on the use of storybooks to offer children and adults a fun way to learn important people skills. Teach your students to become lifelong problem solvers! Julia will demonstrate humorous and effective ways to use books on such subjects as anger control, grief, following instructions, tattling, bullying, personal space, interrupting, and personal safety. The writing and publishing process will also be explained – learn to become a published author!

Introduction to Supporting Those At-Risk

Megan Goldbeck

Room: Exhibit Hall B

Megan Goldbeck will share a presentation that provides introductory information on how to support someone with lived experience. Participants who are interested in learning the basics of supporting someone with lived experience will learn what research tells us about suicide and understand the process of recovery and the complex effects that a suicidal crisis can have on a family or support system. Participants will learn strategies for helping to support someone with lived experience, as well as relevant resources.



Meghan Goldbeck is the Executive Director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Louisiana and Mississippi Chapters. Meghan has had a career in the nonprofit sector for over a decade and is a strong advocate for mental health and suicide prevention in her community. She received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is currently working on obtaining a master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration from Louisiana State University Shreveport. She is certified in Mental Health First Aid and safeTALK. Meghan lives in suburban New Orleans with her husband and three rescue dogs, Indiana, Reese, and Archie.

Talk Saves Lives

Dr. Kevin Yaudes

Room: Exhibit Hall A

Dr. Keving Yaudes provides participants with a clear understanding of this leading cause of death, including the most up-to-date research on suicide prevention, and what they can do in their communities to save lives. Participants will learn common risk factors and warning signs associated with suicide, and how to keep themselves and others safe.



Dr. Kevin Yaudes has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and a doctorate in Cognitive Science. He teaches psychology at the undergraduate level and counseling at the graduate level at McNeese State University. As the Assistant Department Head for the Department of Psychology & Counseling, he has clinical responsibility for the Applied Behavioral Analysis and Counseling programs within the department. He is directly responsibility for the Kay Doré Counseling Clinic (KDCC) at McNeese which is a community counseling clinic with the Department. The clinic provides counseling services to individuals in Southwest Louisiana (SWLA) and serves as a placement site for students in the counseling program at McNeese. KDCC has an established collaboration with Sam Houston High School (SHHS) in Moss Bluff, Louisiana and because of this he came to see the need for a consistent and sustained effort to address suicide in SWLA. He created a Suicide Prevention and Education Program within KDCC and through this KDCC provides services and support to SHHS, conducts professional and educational presentations regarding suicide, has trained all K-12 educators on QPR (an evidence-based suicide prevention training), and conducts research on the topic of suicide. To date, KDCC has trained over 4000 people in SWLA on QPR. Dr. Yaudes is the current Mental Health Content Expert for the University of Louisiana System and through this has created a Mental Health Advisory Council consisting of two individuals from each of the System’s 9 member universities. Each university will also establish a Mental Health Advisory Council on their campus. This is being piloted at McNeese. He serves on the boards of a number of local behavioral health clinics, serves on the state board for the America Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and is a member of two suicide prevention coalitions. Dr. Yaudes has chaired the Lake Charles Out of the Darkness Walk for AFSP for the past four years and believes that addressing suicide prevention is a way to identify the challenges and needs of local, state, and national mental health systems in general.

Age-Related Trends in Grief Among Students: Supporting Students through the Grieving Process

Brooke Ferguson

Room: Audobon

Brooke Ferguson will present a research-based talk aimed at school counselors. The presentation delves into the unique experiences of students from different age groups as they cope with grief and loss. The overarching goal of this presentation is to equip school counselors with research-based knowledge and practical tools to better understand and support students as they navigate grief and loss, creating a compassionate and empathetic school environment that fosters healing and well-being.



Meet Brooke Ferguson, an experienced Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW) based in Louisiana. With a solid educational foundation including a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Social Work, she brings a practical blend of knowledge and real-world practice.

Having traversed the landscape of both outpatient and inpatient settings, Ms. Ferguson’s aptitude includes an array of invaluable services, encompassing the realms of psychotherapy, crisis intervention, and the profound modality of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Her proficiency extends to orchestrating transformative encounters within groups, couples, family and individual sessions, nurturing the soil for restoration and personal advancement.

Currently a therapist at the esteemed Family and Youth Counseling Agency, Brooke Ferguson consistently demonstrates her dedicated commitment to driving positive change. With an emphasis on research-based insights drawn from practical experience, her conference presentation will illuminate the intricacies of mental health dynamics related to age-based trends in grief.

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More details to follow

Oklahoma City School 2023 Agenda

8:00 am – 8:15 am

Welcome and Gwinnett Tech Welcome

8:15 am – 8:30 am

Introduce Sponsors

8:30 am – 9:45 am

Featured Speaker – Dr. Sejal Foxx​

9:45 am – 10:00 am

Break and Sponsor Visit

10:00 am – 11:30 am

Featured Speaker – Dr. Sejal Foxx​

11:30 am – 12:45 pm


12:45 pm – 1:00 pm

Guardian Ad Litem presentation

1:00 pm – 1:45 pm 

GCPS Comprehensive School Counseling Program

Presenters: Coordinators, Office of Counseling, College & Career Services

  • Day 1: Lesson Planning: Classroom Lessons and Small Groups
  • Day 2: Advisory Council 
  • Day 3: Annual Administrative Conference

1:45 pm – 2:00 pm 

Brain Break

2:00 pm – 2:45 pm 

Character Strong – Tier 2 Interventions

Presenters: Corey Stillwell, Coordinator, Office of Social Emotional Learning; Winona Jones-Archie, Coordinator, Office of Social Emotional Learning

2:45 pm – 3:00 pm 




We have many great breakout sessions that we will be offering at the conference! Look through the list below and choose the ones you would like to pre-register to attend. Please note that space in each session is limited.

10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Breakout Session 1

The Importance of Relationships: Connecting with Hard-to-Reach Students

Lead Presenter: Ginger Healy

Ginger discusses attachment- what it is, how it’s developed, and why it’s important for academic success. She explores buffer relationships and attunement to student needs. She digs into teacher triggers and how to look at behaviors that get under our skin. Ginger will offer strategies for removing barriers that block academic success and emotional healing. Participants will make a paradigm shift in understanding behaviors and be able to implement strategies to help children reach academic success and get on the path to healing adversities.

Let’s Move: Chair Yoga

Lead Presenter: PGCPS Benefits Office

Through guided instructions, participants will be able to strengthen their muscles with seated exercise to help build healthier muscles and bones, improves posture, and relieve back pain. Chair yoga can also improve flexibility and balance. By incorporating chair exercises into your routine helps stretch your muscles to achieve their full range of motion.

Managing Explosive Behaviors in the Classroom

Lead Presenter: Dr. Jeff Bostic

This presentation will review types of explosive outbursts and matching responses to different types of explosive outbursts. In addition, the stages of outbursts are described, with interventions to help deescalate students provided at each stage.

Understanding and Managing Disruptive Behaviors in Schools

Lead Presenter: Raychelle Cassada Lohmann

Nationwide schools are experiencing a rise in disruptive student behaviors. Behavioral issues can adversely impact the school environment leading to more peer-to-peer conflict, classroom disruptions, and even staff exhaustion. Educators know firsthand the amount of time spent on disciplining and redirecting challenging behaviors. In this interactive session, you will learn how to accurately assess and interpret challenging behaviors and effectively identify the antecedents for disruptive outbursts. Additionally, you will learn evidence-based coping skills to help your students manage their emotions and control their behavior, leading to more favorable outcomes. This session will help equip you with the essential knowledge to help your students minimize challenging behaviors and maximize academic, emotional, and social success.

Title Lead Presenter: NAME Description
Title Lead Presenter: NAME Description
Title Lead Presenter: NAME Description
Title Lead Presenter: NAME Description



Registration has Closed

All conference activities, including lunch, the training sessions, showcase voucher, and parking are FREE OF CHARGE. Please register below to attend and to receive a Resource Fair coupon (note the deadline).

Registration deadline:

August 15, 2023

Register to attend and receive a Resource Fair Coupon

Work Address(Required)

Breakout Sessions

Choose the breakout sessions that you would like to attend at the summit. Please note that space in each session is limited and will be closed once capacity is reached.
10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Breakout Session 1(Required)
10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Breakout Session 1(Required)
CLOSED - Behavior Threat Assessment (Showalter/Pasco) and Understanding and Managing Disruptive Behaviors in Schools (Cassada Lohmann)
12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Breakout Session 2(Required)
12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Breakout Session 2(Required)
CLOSED - Understanding and Managing Disruptive Behaviors in Schools (Cassada Lohmann)

Please Note: If we are forced to cancel the Summit because of a “force majeure” event, such as a government restriction on large gatherings that cover the intended size of the conference, then we will issue full refunds of the registrations. On social distancing and other health and safety measures, the regulations/guidelines that apply to large gathering centers may change. We will conform to all necessary regulations/guidelines that are in place as of the date of the Summit.


Each school will receive a COMPLIMENTARY COUPON to shop the NCYI Resource Fair at the summit!

This is an opportunity for you to personally review and purchase curriculum, activity and small group manuals, books, videos, DVDs and CDs. NCYI has the newest and best guidance resource materials available from America’s foremost publishers in Classroom Guidance, Character Education, Bullying Prevention / Intervention, Anger Management, Conflict Resolution, Separation Issues, Grief Recovery, Learning Disabilities and Social Skills Training.

Save on shipping and handling – You can save 5% to 8% by purchasing from the on-site display and taking the resources with you, which eliminates shipping and handling charges! On-site discounts will also be offered.

Specialty savings on overstock items – Save 50% or more off the retail price of a unique selection of overstock items.

NCYI accepts all major credit cards, personal checks, purchase orders, and even cash for additional purchases! If you have building level funds available, you can use a school purchase order.

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Practical Guidance Resources Educators Can Trust

National Center for Youth Issues, or NCYI, is a national non-profit organization that publishes and distributes guidance resource materials for schools. In addition to publishing its own publications, NCYI represents over 40 different publishers of educational resources. They also provide training opportunities for educators through on-site training services, as well as regional and state-wide conferences.



National Center for Youth Issues
P.O. Box 22185
Chattanooga, TN 37422-2185


National Center for Youth Issues
P.O. Box 22185
Chattanooga, TN 37422-2185

The Attendee will receive an email confirmation to the email address provided when their registration is processed. (Make sure to check Junk/Spam folders.)

Make all checks and purchase orders payable to:
National Center for Youth Issues