Nebraska School Mental Health Conference

*Registration has closed*

June 7–8, 2023

Younes Conference Center North
707 Talmadge Street Kearney, NE 68845

General tickets: $175

We have reserved a set of discounted hotel rooms for those attending the conference at Crowne Plaza and Hampton Inn. Limited rooms are available.


The Nebraska School Mental Health initiative was launched to promote strong mental health services in our schools; to provide resources and training to increase access; and to promote early intervention and wrap around services for youth and families.

Members of the steering committee work together to improve our schools’ social and emotional climate by providing a networking platform for community members to collaborate and create change.

The Nebraska School Mental Health initiative was originated by the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), which concluded their three-year focus in 2017 with the School Mental Health Summit. 

The initiative is being led by steering committee partners with Educational Service Unit #3 and The Kim Foundation.

Conference Agenda

Day 1: Wednesday, June 7

  • 9:00– 9:30 a.m.   Registration
  • 9:30 – 9:45 a.m.   Welcome
  • 9:45 – 10:45 a.m.   Keynote
  • 10:45 – 11:00 a.m.   Break
  • 11:00 – 11:45 a.m.   Breakout 1
  • 11:45 – 12:00 p.m.   Break
  • 12:00 – 12:45 p.m.   Breakout 2
  • 12:45 – 1:15 p.m.   Box Lunch
  • 1:15 – 2:00 p.m.   Breakout 3
  • 2:00 – 2:15 p.m.   Break
  • 2:15 – 3:00 p.m.   Breakout 4
  • 3:00 – 3:15 p.m.   Break
  • 3:15 – 4:15 p.m.   Keynote
  • 4:15 – 4:40 p.m.   Day 1 Closing & Awards

4:45-6 p.m. Reception ($20 ticket price)

*Registration for Reception has Closed

Join us for networking at the end of Day 1! Reception tickets are an additional $20 to your conference registration and include heavy appetizers and two drink tickets.

Day 2: Thursday, June 8

  • 8:30 – 9:15 a.m.   Breakout 5
  • 9:15 – 9:30 a.m.   Break
  • 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.   Keynote
  • 11:00 – 11:45 a.m.   Youth Panel
  • 11:45 – 12:00 p.m.   Conference Closing

12:45-2:30 p.m. Post-Conference Lunch & Learn (free)

At the end of Day 2, Theodora Schiro will present an optional Lunch & Learn on the Culture of Caring: A Suicide Prevention Guide for Schools (K-12). Please note in your conference registration if you plan to attend this session.

The first 500 to register for this post-conference session will receive a copy of the speaker’s book!

2023 Featured Speakers

Mark Anthony Garrett

Mark Anthony Garrett grew up in the tough inner city of Dayton, Ohio as a foster child and was then later adopted. Throughout his childhood he faced many hardships such as poverty, neglect, homelessness, abandonment and abuse, both physical and sexual. At 14, he lost his adopted mother to cancer, dropped out of school, joined a gang and was in and out of juvenile jail. 

Although his surroundings were negative, Mark was encouraged by his third grade special education teacher to never give upon life and to always strive for excellence. He knew he had to take destiny into his own hands. After receiving guidance from influential mentors, Mark enrolled in college and majored in wildlife biology and went on to become a two-time U.S. Achievement Academy Award winner, recipient of the National Collegiate Minority Leadership Award and received the highest honors given by his college, which were the President and Trustee award. 

This experience inspired him to dedicate his life to helping troubled youth and adults overcome the negative challenges within their own lives and discover that they have greatness within them. Mark is extremely passionate about helping raise the mental consciousness of people all over the world. 

For over 20 years Mark Anthony Garrett has motivated audiences through his electrifying speeches, training and transformational seminars. Mark is a leading expert within the child welfare and K-12 educational industry on such topics as Teacher Leadership, Cultural Pedagogy, Staff Retention, Motivational Empowerment, Leadership, Service Excellence, Overcoming Adversity, Youth Empowerment, Building Relationships and Maximizing Human Potential. 

He is best known for his premium professionalism, high-energy programs, humor, enthusiasm and the ability to captivate audiences of all types. He has contributed and published articles for various newspapers and publications around the country and was recently featured as a celebrity expert in Forbes Magazine. 

Mark is a leading columnist for Fostering Family Today Magazine and the author of Teachers Are Heroes – 7 Success Principles For Transformational Teaching. Mark’s story and Teachers Are Heroes message has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS & FOX networks and affiliates. 

Dr. Mark Sander

Dr. Sander is the Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Midwest Center for School Mental Health. He is also a Senior Clinical Psychologist for Hennepin County and the Director of School Mental Health for Hennepin County and the Minneapolis Public Schools. In that role, he coordinates the Minneapolis School Mental Health Program and conducts research and evaluation on the program and provides technical assistance to the Hennepin County School Mental Health Initiative which now has school mental health programs in 19 school districts and 231 public schools. 

Dr. Mark Sander earned his doctorate from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology in 2000. He is a Visiting Scholar at Wilder Research and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Sander is a Certified Master Trainer in the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and for more than 10 years has been providing training and consultation on developing trauma informed schools and youth-serving organizations. He also is on the Board of Directors for the MN Trauma Project. Dr. Sander has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on school mental health and has presented extensively on school mental health and ACEs and developing trauma sensitive schools at local, state, and national conference. Dr. Sander lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Sarah and their 3 daughters.

Angee Stevens

Angee Stevens, LCSW, offers audiences all over the country an opportunity to connect and engage in conversations about the impacts of mental health through the power of storytelling. Angee’s unique ability to merge humor with tragedy takes you on a journey of what it was like growing up with a mother diagnosed with Schizo-Affective Disorder and witnessing her mother’s erratic and unpredictable behaviors. You are invited to hear her story of resilience and strength as she shares how her mother’s mental health challenges impacted the way she learned to navigate systems of support and how she has applied this knowledge throughout her 20+ year career as a mental health professional working with at-risk youth and their families. You will laugh. You will cry. Heck, you might even cry from laughter. More importantly, you will walk away with simple strategies that inspire confidence in who you are and promote a renewed awareness of the shared humanity connecting us all.

Theodora Schiro

A former K-12 teacher and school administrator, Theodora Schiro, M.Ed., is a veteran educator with over 37 years of experience. The author of A Culture of Caring: A Suicide Prevention Guide for Schools (K-12), she is a speaker and content writer. Her primary goal is to provide helpful information about suicide prevention for teachers, school mental health professionals, and district leaders.

NSMHC Sponsors

Interested in sponsoring the Nebraska School Mental Health Conference? View our 2023 sponsorship packages or email Sadie Hinkel for more information!

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A special thank you to MHHTC and DHHS for their generous contributions to the Nebraska School Mental Health Conference.

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