The virtual speaker series is offered in partnership with the USD School of Education School Psychology program and the South Dakota Department of Social Services Division of Behavioral Health through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Relief Grant.

“The purpose of the series is to help educators become better equipped to support students in crisis,” said Amber Kilburn, SAMHSA Disaster Relief Grant assistant coordinator. “We have presenters who have lived through crisis and also those who are experts in helping youth in crisis situations.”

The series will be held via Zoom from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CST.

Details are as follows:

  • April 20 - Michele Gay, “School Safety: A Parent’s Perspective”
  • April 27 – Scott Poland, Ed.D., “Youth Suicide: Contemporary Issues in Prevention, Intervention and Postvention for Schools”
  • May 4 – CJ Huff, Ed.D., “From Tragedy to Triumph: The Joplin Schools Story”
  • May 11 – Molly Hudgens, “Saving Sycamore: The School Shooting that Never Happened”
  • May 18 – Eric Rossen, Ph.D., “Supporting and Educating Traumatized Students”

“We feel so honored to invite these prestigious speakers to our series,” said Kari Oyen, program director and assistant professor of school psychology at USD. “It is important to hear the stories of crisis from parents, educators and psychologists to understand how we can learn and ready our environments to prevent and be responsive to crises when they occur.”

All events are free to attend with registration. To register, visit

Once registered, attendees will receive an invitation to all five Zoom sessions.

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