Speaker Bios

Carol Booth, Ph.D.

Dr. Carol Booth is currently working as a consultant in many districts performing psychological and educational evaluations. She has been the Pas-President of TASP and the Gulf Coast Administrators of Special Education. She was the Special Education Director in Galena Park Independent School District and the Texas NASP delegate prior to her retirement. She began her career in school psychology in Pennsylvania but has worked in Texas for the past 40 years. In order to acquire supervision for her psychologist's license, Dr. Booth had the opportunity to work in the areas of birth to three early intervention now known as ECI, pediatric rehabilitation and as the psychologist for a hospital clinic for school problems and ADHD. She served for more than twenty years as an adjunct instructor in the School Psychology Program at the University of Houston Clear Lake. In addition, she worked as a consultant to many districts and at the Region IV Education Service Center where she assisted with the development of the original TBSI training materials.

Dianna Bowen, JD, Thompson & Horton, LLP

Dianna D Bowen is a partner in the Dallas office of Thompson & Horton LLP. For over fifteen years, she has successfully defended independent schools, public school districts, charter schools, and public and private colleges and universities on a wide range of school law issues, including personnel, discrimination, student discipline, students with disabilities, public information, open meetings, civil rights, sexual harassment, privacy rights, and contracts. Ms. Bowen represents these entities in all aspects of litigation, including proceedings before the governing body, in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies. She also counsels and advises administrators in formulating preventative strategies, drafting personnel policies and procedures, and training employees in all areas of school and employment law. Ms. Bowen has been repeatedly recognized as a Texas Rising Star in the area of School Law.

Felicia Castro-Villarreal, Ph.D., University of Texas – San Antonio

Felicia Castro-Villarreal, Ph.D., LSSP, is an Associate Professor and School Psychology Program Coordinator at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research interests include multicultural issues in school psychology, culturally responsive assessment, therapy, and consultation practices, and the application of RTI and PBIS in contemporary school settings.

Gail Cheramie, Ph.D., University of Houston – Clear Lake

Dr. Cheramie is a licensed psychologist and licensed specialist in school psychology. She recently retired from the University of Houston – Clear Lake; however, she continues to teach as an adjunct faculty for the practicum course. Dr. Cheramie specializes in assessment practices and consults with districts throughout Texas on matters related to assessment, eligibility, and IEP development. She has served as an expert witness for numerous due process hearings.

Maurice Elias, Ph.D., Rutgers University

Dr. Elias is a Professor and the Director of Clinical Training at Rutgers University. He leads the Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab. It focuses on understanding the relationship of academic achievement, social-emotion competencies, and the development of character and a core set of life principles, and the development of school-based interventions to strengthen social-emotion skills, character, and one’s Laws of Life and sense of Positive Purpose, and prevent bullying, violence and victimization, substance abuse, and related problem behaviors.

Ginger Gates, Ph.D., Region 4 Education Service Center

Dr. Gates is the Director of Special Education Solutions at the Region 4 Education Service Center in Houston. She is a past president of the Texas Association of School Psychologists and has previously worked with Humble ISD and Deer Park ISD.

Gerard Gioia, Ph.D., George Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. Gioia is the Division Chief of Neuropsychology and the director of the Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery, & Education (SCORE) Program at Children’s National Health System. He is a professor at George Washington University School of Medicine. He directs the Neurobehavioral Core research laboratories for Children’s National Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center.

Sara Glennon, Ph.D., Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District

Dr. Glennon is a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology and Licensed Psychologist who has been working within the Cypress-Fairbanks school district since August 2007. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Missouri State University, and she obtained her Doctorate in School Psychology from the University of Arizona.

Clynita Grafenreed, Ph.D., Region 4 Educational Service Center

Dr. Grafenreed is a licensed psychologist and licensed specialist in school psychology. Currently, she is an Education Specialist at Region 4 Education Service Center in Houston. She has previously worked in Ft Bend, Galena Park, and Katy ISD. She specializes in Schoolwide Positive Behavior Intervention Supports, Classroom Management, Restorative Discipline, and Cultural Diversity & Disproportionality.

John Kelly, Ph.D., President, National Association of School Psychologists

Dr. Kelly is the President of the National Association of School Psychologists and is an Adjunct Professor in the School Psychology program at St. John’s University. He works with the Commack Public School District and also maintains a private practice. He is a past-president of the New York Association of School Psychologists and former representative to the Executive Board on the New York State Psychological Association. Previous awards include the NYASP School Practitioner of the Year, NASP School Psychologist of the Year, and NASP Presidential Award.

Laurie Klose, Ph.D., Trinity University

Dr. Laurie McGarry Klose is an Associate Professor and Director of the School Psychology Program at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. She worked for 11 years as a faculty member in school psychology at Texas State University, including serving as the Director of Assessment for the Clinic for Autism Research, Evaluation and Support and University Assessment and Counseling Clinic.  Before becoming a faculty member, Laurie worked as a school psychologist for 12 years in California, Massachusetts, and Texas.  Professional advocacy is Laurie’s passion and is seen by service as Past President of TASP and current Texas Delegate to NASP.  In addition, Laurie is the current Chair of the NASP Ethics and Professional Practices Board.

Jon Lasser, Ph.D., Texas State University

Jon Lasser is a Professor of School Psychology who earned his doctorate in School Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Science in Human Sexuality Education. He is a licensed psychologist and licensed specialist in school psychology (LSSP) in Texas.

Sarah Mire, Ph.D., University of Houston

Dr. Mire joined the faculty of the UH School Psychology Ph.D. program in Fall 2013. Along with her research team, UH*sparc (School Psychology Autism Research Collaboration), Dr. Mire focuses on treatment and family issues for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), particularly when compounded by comorbid emotional or behavioral diagnoses and/or school-related difficulties.

Sam Ortiz, Ph.D., St John’s University

Dr. Ortiz is a Professor of Psychology at St. John’s University, New York. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Southern California and a credential in school psychology with postdoctoral training in bilingual school psychology from San Diego State University. He has served as Visiting Professor and Research Fellow at Nagoya University, Japan, as Vice President for Professional Affairs of APA Division 16 (School Psychology), a member and Chair of APA’s Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessment,a member of the Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education, as representative on the New York State Committee of Practitioners on ELL and LEP Students, and a member of APA Presidential Task Force on Educational Disparities. Dr. Ortiz has served on various editorial boards including Journal of School Psychology, School Psychology Quarterly, and Journal of Applied School Psychology. He is an internationally recognized expert on a variety of topics including nondiscriminatory assessment, evaluation of English learners, cross-battery assessment (XBA), and learning disabilities. He is the author of the Ortiz PVAT, primary author of X-BASS and his books include “Assessment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students: A practical guide,” and “Essentials of Cross-Battery Assessment, 3rd Edition.” Dr. Ortiz is bilingual (Spanish) and bicultural (Puerto Rican).

Gill Strait, Ph.D., University of Houston – Clear Lake

Dr. Strait is an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. he earned his Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of South Carolina. Dr. Strait is a Licensed Psychologist (MO) and a Nationally Credentialed School Psychologist. He has published over 10 peer-reviewed articles on Motivational Interviewing.

Kris Varjas, Psy.D., Georgia State University

Dr. Varjas is a Professor in School Psychology and Director of the Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate, and Classroom Management at Georgia State University. Dr. Varjas current research efforts include school- and community-based projects investigating bullying, homophobic bullying, cyberbullying, and school climate.