• Maximizing Student Success and Whole Family Wellness during the Pandemic and Beyond


    Access a recording of the panel discussion here: https://nasd.school/MentalHealthPanelStream


    21 April Mental Health Panel


    While studies are underway around the world to assess both the short and long-term effects of the pandemic on the social and emotional wellness of children and adults, our students, staff, and families report that changes caused by COVID-19 are impacting mental wellness. To help break down the stigma associated with mental health support and generate awareness for the resources available to the community, the North Allegheny School District will host a panel discussion featuring several local experts.

    “Maximizing Student Success & Whole Family Wellness during the Pandemic and Beyond” is a 90-minute virtual panel discussion where experts will take questions from the community and discuss: 

    • Ways families can recognize early warning signs of mental health.
    • Services provided to students and families.  
    • The need for mental health resources to respond to what students and families have experienced during the pandemic.
    • Ways to maximize student success post-pandemic.

    All members of the community are invited to attend, including students and families from school districts around the region. 

    To RSVP for the event and to submit a question, click here. 

    Confirmed Panelists

    Jackie Bishop, School Social Worker, North Allegheny School District

    Jackie has 17 years of experience in the social service field. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology/ Anthropology from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2001. In the beginning of her career, Jackie worked in the community setting supporting teens in the shelter system and supporting children with mental, behavioral, and intellectual challenges as a therapeutic support specialist. Jackie went on to earn her Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009 and became a Licensed Social worker in Pennsylvania.

    She worked at Ambridge Area School District as a Home School Visitor/ School Social Worker for 5 years before coming to North Allegheny School District in 2014. Since working at North Allegheny, Jackie has worked with a variety of students in the special education program, ranging from those in the Autistic Support/ Life Skills Program to those in the Emotional Support Program. Jackie enjoys supporting youth and providing them with the foundational skills to thrive in life. Jackie also has a desire to serve others and impact underrepresented communities. This led her to work as a part-time therapist in the city of Pittsburgh.

    Maggie Caesar-MyersDirector of Outpatient & School-Based Services, Glade Run

    Maggie is the Director of Outpatient and School-Based Services at Glade Run and has a total of twenty (20) years of experience providing Clinical Service Delivery and Supervision and Coordination of Clinical Treatment Programs mainly focused on child/adolescent and family populations. Maggie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) as well as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Maggie also specializes in providing evidence-based treatments such as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Maggie is a Level 1 PCIT Trainer, a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) Trainer in the state of Pennsylvania, and has completed Student Assistance Program (SAP). The Director has also directly worked in or supervised the following programs: Child, Adolescent, and Adult Residential Homes, Adult Partial Hospitalization, Family Based Mental Health Services, Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services, Outpatient, School-Based Mental Health Services, and Psychiatric Services.

    Bryan Kiggins, M.Ed., Student Services Department Char, North Allegheny School District

    Bryan Kiggins has been with the North Allegheny School District for 21 years. He has worked at Marshall Middle School, North Allegheny Senior High School, and the majority of his career at the Intermediate High School. He graduated from Westminster College in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Child Development, and he completed his Masters of Education in School Counseling from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999. Bryan thoroughly enjoys working with the students and families of North Allegheny. Throughout his time at North Allegheny, he has facilitated support groups on Anger Management and Stress Reduction. He also co-facilitated Staff Development classes on Mindfulness/Stress Reduction and Suicide Prevention. For the past 7 years, he has been the Department Chair for the School Counseling Department. In this role, he has been able to collaborate with the School Counselors across the District to create a cohesive K-12 School Counseling Program and a state recognized Career Education and Guidance Plan.

    Dr. Paula McCommonsSTAR-Center Outreach & Behavioral Health Liaison for Allegheny County Student Assistance Program

    Dr. Paula McCommons received her B.A. in psychology from Seton Hill College in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. She studied in London for six months and interned in a psychiatric day hospital there. In 1992 she received her M.Ed. in Educational Counseling from the University of Pittsburgh where she later received her Ed.D. in Educational Administration. Dr. McCommons is a nationally certified counselor with specialties in school and career counseling. She is also a PA certified guidance counselor and post-secondary student personnel specialist. Dr. McCommons interned at a middle school for international studies and a college counseling center. In 2000 she completed a Gestalt Training Program for Professionals. Her previous experience includes teaching, research, and presenting. Dr. McCommons is currently a behavioral health liaison for the Allegheny County Student Assistance Program provided by Allegheny County and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside. She also serves as the program manager for the Student Assistance Program at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside. In the fall of 2010, Dr. McCommons took on the role of Director for STAR-Center Outreach activities. Dr. McCommons also provides crisis intervention, postvention assistance and consultation to school districts and communities across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Training and special topic presentations related to school safety, crisis prevention/intervention/management, and postvention are provided upon request. In addition to the variety of duties she has at STAR-Center, Dr. McCommons works as an independent contractor creating and facilitating workshops on conflict mediation training, student leadership development, staff development, stress management, and career life planning. Dr. McCommons has also co-taught graduate level courses in Group Dynamics and Conflict Management at the University of Pittsburgh. 

    Ana Radovic, MD, MScAssistant Professor of Pediatrics in Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at University of Pittsburgh, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

    Dr. Radovic is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a pediatrician and subspecialist in Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Radovic completed her undergraduate and medical school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She completed pediatrics residency and adolescent medicine fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and also received a Masters in Clinical Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Radovic focuses on how to use technology to improve mental health services for adolescents with symptoms of depression or anxiety. Her team has developed a website intervention for teens with symptoms of depression or anxiety - sova.pitt.edu - which aims to allow adolescents to anonymously share their stories in a safe space, counteract negative attitudes toward treatment, and provide opportunities for social support. Also there is an accompanying parent website - wisesova.pitt.edu - which aims to enhance parent and adolescent communication around issues of mental health. 

    Stephanie Saikaly, Positive Behavior Support Specialist, North Allegheny School District

    Stephanie Saikaly, MEd., BCBA, BSL, Aut. Sp., is a Positive Behavior Support Specialist at North Allegheny School District. She completed her undergraduate studies at Syracuse University and continued her education at the University of Pittsburgh graduate programs. Stephanie specializes in the provision of evidence-based practices and has worked with families and individuals with disabilities for nearly two decades in homes, specialized programs, early intervention, wraparound services, private practice, and school consultation. Stephanie also teaches and supervises for the University of Pittsburgh Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis programs. Her work has focused on autism and related disorders, mental health disorders and intervention practices, and education/supervision of clinicians and teachers. For fun, Stephanie enjoys coaching and training for marathons.

    Dr. Rameshwari V. TumuluruUniversity of Pittsburgh, Associate Professor of Psychiatry