Community Forum

17th Annual Community Forum

March 19, 2021 -  8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. - Virtual

Education Enterprise in Transition: A Call to Action.

Thanks to all our attendees and presenters for making this year's forum a success.  

Please remember to submit your evaluations and CE request surveys.  CE certificates will be sent  within two to three weeks to those who have submitted attendance codes.

Forum 2021 Purpose

The Kutztown University Community Forum, organized by the Department of Social Work, is a gathering of social work professionals, university community members, and community leaders.  The purpose is to raise consciousness about—and craft solutions to—community needs, particularly as they pertain to families.  Forum 2021 raises awareness of issues surrounding the education enterprise and its intersection with families, community, and students in an effort to promote best practices and a systemic, ethical response to regional and global needs.  Experts identify best practices and social work professionals serve as catalysts to build and strengthen alliances across the practice continuum. 

AGENDA AND TOPICS

(subject to change)

Education In Transition Panel Discussion

John Ward

The Social Institution of Education in Transition—Demands and Opportunities

Dr. John Ward, Dean, College of Education, Kutztown University 

  • Biography

    Dr. John Ward, Dean, College of Education

    The Social Institution of Education in Transition—Demands and Opportunities

     Dr. John Ward began his career in education as a high school math teacher in Detroit Michigan. He later earned his master’s degree in Special Education and was a special educator in Detroit Public Schools. He earned his doctoral degree at the University of Memphis in Curriculum and Instruction. In 1998 He began his collegiate career as assistant professor at Millersville University  in 1998. He was promoted to associate professor in 2006 and then chair of the Educational Foundations Department in 2007. He is on the board of directors of the Pa. Association of Colleges of Teacher Education and regularly serves on site visit teams with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. He has served as the Dean of the College of Education at Kutztown University since December 2017.

    His scholarship focuses on philosophies and methods of teacher reflection. His passion in educator preparation is the integration of innovative clinical experiences with university courses.   

Dee Stalnecker

History of School Social Work  

Dr. Dee Stalnecker, DSW, School Social Worker, Vice President, Pennsylvania Association of School Social Work Personnel

 

  • Biography

    Dr. Dee Stalnecker, Vice President, Pennsylvania Association of School Social Work Personnel

    History of School Social Work

    Dr. Dee Stalnecker is a school social worker at Derry Township School District in Hershey, PA. Her primary role is to connect families to resources, truancy prevention, and addressing food insecurities. She has 30 years of experience working with youth as an investigative caseworker for Children & Youth, a juvenile probation officer, a clinical coordinator in an alternative education setting, and a behavior specialist in a public school.  She completed a DSW through Millersville/Kutztown Universities joint program and her dissertation, Revisiting the Visiting Teacher: A Historical Analysis of School Social work Identity, highlights the role of home visiting, perceptions of school colleagues about school social work, and how the profession has evolved throughout the last 100 plus years.  She is also  an MSW graduate of Temple University and a board certified behavior analyst.  She is the vice-president of the Pennsylvania Association of School Social Work Personnel (PASSWP) and a board member of the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA).

    Doctoral Dissertation, March 2020

    Revisiting the visiting teacher:  A historical analysis of school social work identity.  

George Ioannidis

The Current State of Schools and Needs and Opportunities for Social Work  

Dr. George Ioannidis, Superintendent, Spring Grove Area School District

  • Biography

    Dr. George Ioannidis, Superintendent, Spring Grove Area School District

    The Current State of Schools and Needs and Opportunities for Social Work

    Dr. George W. Ioannidis serves as Superintendent for the Spring Grove Area School District. He began his career with the District in 2009 serving as the Business Manager. He started his career in public school administration in 1993 at Donegal School District, taking his experience also to Manheim   Central and Harrisburg School Districts. Prior to beginning his service in  education, Dr. Ioannidis worked as an acquisition manager for the U.S. Department of the Navy in Washington, DC, and as a project manager for Ferranti International, a multi-national defense firm based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In his professional work, Dr. Ioannidis has held a number of leadership positions. Dr. Ioannidis currently serves on the boards of directors of the Lincoln Benefit Trust, the Central Penn Business Group on Health, and Service Access and Management, Inc. He has served as the chapter president of the Lincoln Area School Business Officials and the Lancaster-Lebanon School Business Officials. Previously, he led the Lancaster County Tax Collection Bureau as the president of its board of directors. He is a frequent presenter at local, regional, and national conferences. Dr. Ioannidis earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Aerospace) degree from the University of Michigan and his Master of Business Administration degree from Lebanon Valley College. He has completed the Leadership Residency Program at Shippensburg University. Dr. Ioannidis is a Pennsylvania      Certified School Business Administrator and a Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellow. In 2012, he completed the U.S. Army War College National Security Seminar. In 2019, he earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership through a program offered jointly by Shippensburg and Millersville Universities. 

Joseph Werner

Role of Pennsylvania Association of School Social Work Personnel (PASSWP)

Mr. Joseph Werner, President, Pennsylvania Association of School Social Work Personnel, School Social Worker, Pennridge School District

  • Biography

    Mr. Joseph Werner, President, PASSW, School Social Worker, Pennridge School District

    Role of Pennsylvania Association of School Social Work Personnel (PASSWP)

    Joe Werner has been a school social worker for the past 17 years. Before his current position at Pennridge School District, he was at Neshaminy School District in Langhorne, PA. Joe started working with young people and their families directly out of college (DeSales University) as a caseworker/youth worker in Doylestown. He moved into the role of a juvenile probation officer for Bucks County Juvenile Court, a position which he held for 7 years, before transferring to the educational system. Joe received his MSW from Marywood University and completed his Home & School Visitor certification at Bryn Mawr College.  Joe continues to work closely with juveniles in the system, working as a mobile therapist for a private non-profit agency. Joe is currently the president of the PA Association of School Social Work Personnel (PASSWP). He is a board member of the Bucks County Bar Foundation and past board member for the Bucks County Children and Youth Community Advisory. In December of 2019, Joe was asked to serve on Gov. Wolf’s Juvenile Justice Task Force. A final report on recommended changes to the juvenile system goes to the Governor in March 2021. Joe lives with his wife and two children, both of whom are in college, in the Lehigh Valley.

John Vafeas

Response to Need and Opportunities:  The Center for the Study  of School Social Work

Dr. John Vafeas, DSW, LSW, Chair and MSW Program Director,  Founder of the Center for the Study of School Social Work, Department of Social Work, Kutztown University 

  • Biography

    Dr. John Vafeas, DSW, LSW, Chair and MSW Program Director, Founder of the Center for the Study of School Social Work, Department of Social Work, Kutztown University

    Response to Need and Opportunities: The Center for the Study of School Social Work

    Dr. John G. Vafeas, Chair of the Department of Social Work at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. He is Professor and Director of the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Kutztown University. Dr. Vafeas received his undergraduate diploma in social work from the Center for Higher Technical and Professional Education of Heraklion, Crete, Greece, a bachelor's degree in sociology from Winthrop University, and the master and the doctor of social work degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Vafeas' doctorate work was related to computer technology and its application in practice. His practice experience includes work in all levels of practice in the field of disabilities. His research has been varied and multifaceted and included applications of information technology in clinical practice and program evaluation, policy research and advocacy, needs assessment methodology, poverty research, and assessment methodology for agency and academic program accreditation. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Rider University, and since 1989 at Kutztown University. His teaching included courses in the area of policy and social administration, information technology, research methods, and generalist practice. He has developed and provided leadership in the development of BSW, MSW, and DSW programs. He is acting as a consultant to various social service organizations in the areas of program evaluation, and non-profit board development and serves in leadership positions in various boards of directors at local and national levels. Most recently, Dr. Vafeas was appointed to the board of directors of the National Association of Case Management (NACM).

The State of School Social Work In Pennsylvania

Noe Ortega

Regulations and Implementation

Noe Ortega, Acting Secretary,  Pennsylvania Department of Education

  • Biography

    Noe Ortega, Acting Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Education

    The State of School Social Work in Pennsylvania: Regulation and Implementation

    Noe Ortega was nominated to serve as Secretary of Education in October 2020. Prior to his nomination, he served as the Deputy Secretary and Commissioner for the Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education (OPHE) at the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). As commissioner for higher education, he led the work of the agency aimed at closing the postsecondary attainment gaps that have persisted among historically underrepresented  populations and communities of color in Pennsylvania. Additionally, Mr. Ortega facilitated the efforts of the department to improve the diversity of Pennsylvania's educator workforce and to ensure that every student of the Commonwealth has access to educators who have been trained in culturally responsive and culturally relevant approaches to teaching and learning in the classroom. Prior to joining PDE, Mr. Ortega spent eight years at the University of Michigan, where he held several academic and administrative roles. During his tenure, he worked as the Assistant Director and Senior Research Associate at the National Center for Institutional Diversity and as the Managing Director for the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. While most of his research focused on postsecondary access and success for all students, his recent publications examine how public investment in higher education influences decision-making at colleges and universities. Mr. Ortega spent nearly a decade working in the areas of financial aid and enrollment management at both public and private universities in Texas, and he also served as a P-16 Specialist for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Mr. Ortega also spent nearly seven years as director of a language institute in Japan where he trained teachers in the area of early childhood language acquisition.

Pam Smith

Pam Smith, MSW, Executive Deputy Secretary

  • Biography

    Pam Smith, MSW, Executive Deputy Secretary

    The State of School Social Work in Pennsylvania: Regulation and Implementation

    Pam Smith joined the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) in July of 2016 as a Special Assistant to the Secretary and currently serves as the Executive Deputy Secretary for the organization. In this role, she serves as the chief of staff supporting all aspects of organizational management, internal and external strategic engagement, and facilitation of special projects on behalf of the Secretary. She serves as the department’s primary liaison to the Governor’s Office and ensures alignment of all aspects of PDE’s work with administration priorities. A key tenet of her role is maintaining an organizational vision of prioritizing educational equity and creating the conditions that support schools and communities in meeting the wholistic needs of youth and families to promote academic success. Pam’s diverse background as a community and school based mental health clinician, school district      central office leader, and community mobilizer frames her lens in working with members of the PDE team, other state agencies, schools, and communities. As part of her daily work, she encourages and challenges stakeholders to strive to keep empowerment, resiliency, collaboration, and impact of trauma at the forefront of policy and program development for school communities.

    Pam holds a Masters in Strategic Leadership from Elizabethtown College, an MSW, and completed her undergraduate work at Messiah College.  

Research and Evidence-Based Action

Matthew Cuellar

Disparities in School Safety and Barriers to Mental Health Utilization

Interdisciplinary Models to Address Maladaptive Behavior

Effects of School Violence on School Based Outcomes

Dr. Matthew Cuellar, Ph.D., MSW, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy, Montclair State University

  • Biography

    Dr. Matthew Cuellar, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy, Montclair State University

    Disparities in School Safety and Barriers to Mental Health Utilization

    Interdisciplinary Models to Address Maladaptive Behavior

    Effects of School Violence on School Based Outcomes

    Dr. Matthew J. Cuellar is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy. He earned his PhD in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a Minor in Statistics from the Haslam School of Business. He earned a Master in Social Work from The University of Alabama. Dr. Cuellar has served as PI, Co-PI, Research Scientist, and Program Evaluator on externally funded research projects totaling nearly $3.6M. Dr. Cuellar’s current research focuses on school safety and barriers to academic achievement among adolescents, particularly those adolescents in urban and inner-city environments. He is extremely passionate about his research and working with children, and has active programs of research in several local school districts in the State of New Jersey. Dr. Cuellar has extensive experience working with students in higher education and currently teaches in the CHAD MA and Social Work MSW degree programs.

    Doctoral Dissertation, May 2016

    Investigating the effects of commonly implemented school safety strategies on school social work practitioners

     

Samantha Coyle

Dr. Samantha Coyle, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Montclair State University

  • Biography

    Dr. Samantha Coyle, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Montclair State University

    Disparities in School Safety and Barriers to Mental Health Utilization

    Interdisciplinary Models to Address Maladaptive Behavior

    Effects of School Violence on School Based Outcomes

    Dr. Samantha Coyle is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at Montclair State University. She received her PhD in School Psychology from Northern Illinois University. She is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. Her research interests involve investigating the positive and negative features of adolescent social relationships; specifically, social support and bullying victimization. She is interested in exploring how positive and negative aspects of adolescent relationships impact student perceptions of the school environment and safety and how these factors contribute to academic, social, and emotional challenges in youth. Dr. Coyle’s work has been published in highly regarded journals in the field, including Psychological Bulletin, Journal of School Psychology and School Psychology Review. 

Jonathan Kremser

School Safety and Threat Assessments

Dr. Jonathan M. Kremser, Chair, Department of Criminal Justice, Kutztown University

  • Biography

    Dr. Jonathan Kremser, Chair, Department of Criminal Justice, Kutztown University

    School Safety and Threat Assessments

    Dr. Jonathan Kremser is the Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Kremser publishes widely in the area of school violence, juvenile diversion, and school discipline policies. He is actively involved in juvenile justice and crime prevention policy in Pennsylvania, and is frequently invited to speak at international conferences and symposiums. In addition to his research, he provides school security and violence prevention consultation to educators and juvenile justice policymakers.

Alicia Chico

Alicia Chico, DSW Candidate, MSW, LSW 

  • Biography

    Alicia Chico, DSW Candidate, MSW, LSW

    School Safety and Threat Assessments

    Alicia Chico has been a social worker for 25 years, and fortunate to experience many different environments and roles of the social work profession. She has worked in medical and mental health inpatient units, drug and alcohol, violence prevention, and education. Spending the majority of her career in the education field she has been able to apply her past experience in the school systems.

    Alicia is currently employed with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU), as a school social worker providing consultation services to the non-public schools in Allegheny County.  Over the past 16 years of employment at the AIU, Alicia has had the opportunity to create and implement new programs, provide individual and group therapy to students, provide suicide prevention trainings and crisis intervention to school districts and non-public school personnel, and act as a case manager advocating for students and their families. Early in her career, Alicia had the opportunity to work at a juvenile detention center in Pittsburgh, PA in the late 90s. During this time, she gained a great deal of knowledge and understanding of school violence, gang activity, and the philosophy of violence prevention. Over the years her interest in violence prevention continued to evolve, broadening from the culture of gangs to the current culture and climate found in today’s schools. While school shootings are rare in schools, school violence is not. The goal to gain a deeper understanding of school violence and violence prevention Alicia decided to return to school with a dissertation topic focused on school social workers and threat assessment teams.

    Alicia holds a master’s degree in social work and is currently attending Kutztown University for her doctorate in social work.  

Representative Gary Day

Professional Social Work Month Resolution

Pennsylvania State Representative Gary Day, 187th Legislative District 

  • Biography

    Pennsylvania State Representative Gary Day, 187th Legislative District

    Professional Social Work Month Resolution

    In representing the 187th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Rep. Gary Day applies his experience in both the public and private sectors to address Pennsylvania’s most critical issues.

    During the 2021-22 legislative session, he will continue to work toward protecting the quality of life for constituents, including fighting to support local volunteer firefighters and increasing the safety in both suburban and rural neighborhoods. He uses his experience to ensure that everyone he represents has equal access to state services and an equal voice in state policy.  This session, he is serving on the following standing House committees: Aging and Older Adult Services, where he is the majority chairman, and Professional Licensure.

    During his tenure in the House, Day served as chairman of the House Select Committee on School Safety and Security, which helped develop and examine legislation to enhance safety in schools across Pennsylvania. Day steered the effort in the House to create the committee through successful passage of House Resolution 53. He has been working since that time to advance legislation to enhance security within schools in Pennsylvania. 

    Before his election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2008, Gary was the director of marketing and human resources for Service Electric Cablevision, a local cable television and telecommunications company. Prior to that, he was the executive assistant to the mayor in Allentown, Pennsylvania’s third largest city. He graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in business.

    Actively involved in his district, Gary is a lifetime member of the Goodwill Fire Company No. 1,  Germansville; a member of the Heidelberg Game Protective Association; and a softball, football and baseball youth sports coach. He is a member of the National Rifle Association, the Ontelaunee Rod and Gun Club, and Greenleaf Lodge No. 561.

Panelist Questions
  1. What is your organization doing to promote awareness of and collaborations with other organizations and systems in order to promote a systemic, ethical response to issues related to the education enterprise and implications for families/communities/children?

  2. What policies help or hinder your ability to respond effectively to obstacles?

  3. What strategies do you propose to address the issue?

 Forum Action Plan

The Kutztown University Community Forum seeks to raise consciousness and promote critical and ethical analysis of social and political conditions across the practice continuum.  Please strive to craft at least one solution. Sketch out an action plan—with at least one activity identified to occur within the next month. We will ask for your feedback on the evaluation instrument, and will distribute an online follow-up survey to assess progress on the action plans later in the spring.

Continuing Education Credit Certificates

A maximum of 6 continuing education credits are available for Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors.   (3 credits for morning only, 3 for afternoon only, or 6 for full day)

Continuing education credits will be forwarded via email after the event.  Please allow two weeks processing time.

sustainable lending library

The Department of Social Work is working to develop a Sustainable Lending Library that will facilitate access to educational materials/resources throughout social work students’ educational career. The library will be operated through the department and provide a lending service of essential educational materials to our students. Our initial fundraising goal is $ 55,000.  The tentative initiation date for the fund is Spring 2021.

Past Forum Videos

15th Annual Community Forum

12th Annual Community Forum

7th Annual Community Forum

14th Annual Community Forum

11th Annual Community Forum