For this webinar series, participants will automatically be enrolled in all 5 sessions.


  • Laura Cinelli, Deputy Director, Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy
  • John Crocker, M.Ed., Director of School Mental Health & Behavioral Services, Methuen Public Schools/Founder and Director, Massachusetts School Mental Health Consortium
  • Danny Rojas, Ed.D., Director of Program Implementation and Strategy, Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy
  • Andrew Volkert, Principal for Continuous Improvement, Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

Building a comprehensive school mental health system requires thoughtful, consistent leadership. The School Mental Health Leadership Institute aims to help cultivate leaders who are prepared to drive change within their school or district, leading to lasting impacts on student support and wellbeing. Through a series of trainings and cohort-based discussions, the Institute will help district or school-based staff grow their capacity to act as both clinical mental health leaders and change agents for building a comprehensive school mental health system.

The Institute will include ten hours of professional development and training, divided across five sessions to allow for application and practice between sessions. Sessions will be conducted virtually and will be open to all interested participants from MPY member districts. They will introduce participants to the essential elements of a school mental health system, including conducting a needs assessment, establishing a comprehensive student support team, implementing tiered interventions, gathering and using data, and engaging in continuous improvement. In addition to these sessions, the Institute will also include a series of five Learning Cohort meetings to bring together school and district leaders who are committed to applying what they have learned. Each Learning Cohort session will include opportunities for members to hear from each other and share strategies that are (or are not) working to advance a comprehensive school mental health system.

To receive PDPs and CEUs, participants must attend all 5 sessions and successfully pass a quiz following Session 5. Following the live webinar, registrants will be emailed a link to view the recorded webinar. The recording will be made available for 7 days after each session. If you are not eligible for PDPs and/or CEUs, you may request a Certificate of Attendance.

In this session, the first of a five-part series on School Mental Health Leadership, we will begin digging into how leaders can begin building a comprehensive school mental health system. After introducing a change management framework that will guide future sessions, we will zoom in on identifying a problem of practice by conducting a needs assessment and mapping existing resources. Participants will also have the chance to examine their own leadership style in order to better understand how they can most effectively support the work of building a comprehensive school mental health system.

Providing a comprehensive set of services for students can sometimes lead schools to form multiple, overlapping teams of educators and support staff–one for mental health, another for academics, a third for social and emotional wellbeing, etc. A Comprehensive Student Support Team (CSST) can streamline the process of identifying and responding to student needs. In this session, the second of a five-part series on School Mental Health Leadership, we will review the role of an effective CSST, highlight strategies for gaining and maintaining buy-in from team members, and examine how leaders can measure team effectiveness over time.

Identifying and applying strategies to address students’ mental health needs is more critical now than ever. Yet just offering tiered interventions is insufficient; in order to build an effective mental health system, school and district leaders must ensure that these interventions are selected thoughtfully, applied properly, and overseen with care. This session, the third of a five-part series on School Mental Health Leadership, will explore how to identify an effective set of interventions, engage in clinical supervision of the individuals who carry them out, and build an infrastructure that supports evidence-based practices for all students.

 Data is the fuel that keeps a comprehensive school mental health system running, but too often, it becomes an afterthought in the process of delivering services to students. In this session, the fourth of a five-part series on School Mental Health Leadership, we will examine various types of data, highlighting the utility of “data for improvement” rather than “data for evaluation.” We will then apply this concept by looking at how leaders can institute a system of measurement-based care to address students’ mental health needs. We will also examine how disaggregated data can drive equity by uncovering potential biases in the implementation of services.

Being a leader in school mental health means engaging in an ongoing process of refining and enhancing the services offered to students. In order to carry out this work, leaders must first understand the fundamental principles of continuous improvement, including the value of “learning by doing” and using PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) cycles to drive change. This fifth and final session in a series on School Mental Health Leadership will focus on how leaders can bring together the core elements of infrastructure, interventions, and data to build a school mental health system designed to “get better at getting better.”

About the Speakers

Laura Cinelli joined the Rennie Center with a background in education policy and on-the-ground experience at both the classroom and district levels. In her role at Rennie, she oversees a variety of initiatives including Thriving Minds, which aims to advance comprehensive school mental health systems in education systems across Massachusetts. Prior to joining Rennie, Laura served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Boston Public Schools, where she worked closely with the School Committee to lead district policy-making and managed cross-departmental projects such as a working group on measuring school quality. Laura is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where she participated in the policy clinic of the Harrison Institute for Public Law and served as an intern in the education policy office of the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Before law school, she taught fourth grade at Ira J. Earl Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nevada and earned a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

John Crocker, M.Ed.

John Crocker, M.Ed., has worked in public education for fifteen years, primarily as the administrator for the Methuen Public Schools Counseling Department. He has overseen the planning and implementation of the “Mental Health Initiative,” which has focused on the establishment of a comprehensive school mental health system (CSMHS) in partnership with the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH). John has worked with the NCSMH as a member of the National School Mental Health Task Force and as the Massachusetts team leader for the National Coalition for the State Advancement of School Mental Health (NCSA-SMH). In his role as the director of school mental health & behavioral services, he is charged with overseeing the district-wide implementation and evaluation of Methuen’s CSMHS and positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS). His work has focused on developing a district-wide system of universal mental health screening, advancing the use of psychosocial data to inform school mental health staff’s therapeutic practice, and the development and evaluation of the CSMHS in Methuen. He has worked to scale up evidence-based therapeutic services across Methuen through the provision of district-wide professional development and the design and implementation of group- and individual-therapy programs. Mr. Crocker founded the Massachusetts School Mental Health Consortium (MASMHC), a group of approximately one-hundred and fifty school districts across Massachusetts committed to advocating for and implementing quality and sustainable school mental health services and supports. Most recently, MASMHC co-led the Massachusetts Collaborative for Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) for Comprehensive School Mental Health, the School Mental Health Leadership Institute, and Thriving Minds, a professional development series focused on building comprehensive school mental health systems. He received the National Center for School Mental Health’s School Mental Health Champion Award in 2018 and was nominated the 2019 Massachusetts School Counselors Association (MASCA) Administrator of the Year, the 20-21 Massachusetts Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Counselor of the Year, and the 2021 Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Michael J. Kane Wellness Award recipient.

Danny Rojas, Ed.D., is the Director of Program Implementation and Strategy at the Rennie Center. He has over a decade of experience in program design, implementation, and management. In his role, he is responsible for overseeing our practice and network initiatives portfolio and designing our program strategy. He joins us with extensive leadership experience across the education ecosystem. He has served as a classroom teacher, district administrator, higher education leader, and founding member at multiple education non-profit organizations focused on equity work by expanding postsecondary access and opportunities for students from underserved backgrounds. As Founding Director at OneGoal Massachusetts, he developed the persistence strategy and designed large-scale, strategic partnerships with post-secondary institutions across Massachusetts to increase postsecondary access and success. He holds a B.A. from Northeastern University as well as a master’s degree from the University of Houston in Higher Education Administration and Supervision.  Dr. Rojas is a recent graduate of Harvard University’s Doctor of Education Leadership Program where he focused on leading education equity work that bridges the gap between PreK-12 and higher education to expand postsecondary outcomes for all students. 

Andrew Volkert brings over a decade of experience in education research, program evaluation and project management. His passion for improving students’ lived experience and learning opportunities began in managing elementary-grade after school programs in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, sparking a career-long focus on supporting the people and organizations who educate our youth. Andrew combines rigorous academic training in quantitative and qualitative research methods at the Harvard Graduate School of Education with years managing program evaluation projects at Abt Associates in Cambridge, MA. In recent years, through doctoral coursework at Harvard University and partnering on several projects with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, he has studied and applied the discipline of improvement science as a powerful and systematic method for educators to develop, test, and continuously improve solutions to their most challenging problems of practice. Andrew holds a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and two master’s degrees in education policy and program evaluation from Harvard University.

Membership Information

Most MPY webinars are available ONLY to current staff from member districts and organizations. Public school memberships include police and fire personnel. Former and retired employees and members of committees, including but not limited to, PTO/PTA, PAC, School Improvement Councils, Health Councils, Drug/Alcohol Councils, and school volunteers, are not considered MPY members.

PDPs and CEUs

MPY is an approved Professional Development Provider through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (Provider No. F20180079). Professional Development Points (PDPs) are offered for most MPY professional development webinars. PDPs are issued in 10 hour increments, per DESE requirements.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available for clinical staff through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association, Inc. (MaMHCA). The NASW and the MaMHCA approve each event individually. CEUs may be given in hourly increments.

To receive PDPs and CEUs, participants must pass the quiz.

Event Cancellation Policy

If you are unable to attend a MPY webinar you must cancel, through Bonnie Mullen at, one business day before the webinar.

For MPY hybrid conferences, the date in-person registration closes will be posted on MPY’s website. Virtual conference registration will close one business day before the hybrid conference. You cannot cancel or switch your registration from in-person to virtual after in-person registration closes. Please email Bonnie Mullen at with any questions regarding registration.

  • Enrollment in this course closed on 11/09/2023.

If you are seeking to receive CEUs and/or PDPs, please click Register Now. Once you complete the webinar series, you will be able to take quizzes for CEUs and/or PDPs. Upon completion of each quiz, you will receive a certificate.

All sessions are 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm.

  • Session 1: November 9, 2023, Understanding and Addressing System-Level Needs, John Crocker, M.Ed., Danny Rojas, Ed.D.
  • Session 2: December 14, 2023, Building a Trusting and Committed Team, John Crocker, M.Ed., Danny Rojas, Ed.D.
  • Session 3: February 8, 2024, Establishing Effective Interventions, John Crocker, M.Ed., Danny Rojas, Ed.D.
  • Session 4: March 14, 2024, Gathering and Using Data, Laura Cinelli, John Crocker, M.Ed.
  • Session 5: April 11, 2024, Engaging in Continuous Improvement, John Crocker, M.Ed., Andrew Volkert