Educational and School Psychology Section: Executive

2023-2024 ESP Section Executive

Maria Kokai

Maria Kokai, Ph.D., C. Psych.

Private Practice
Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Maria Kokai is a registered psychologist with over 35 years of experience that includes work in school board and private practice settings. She earned her PhD at the E. Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary, obtained specialized experience in Scandinavia related to psychological services for deaf and hard of hearing children. As a school psychologist, she worked with a wide range of populations, including students with LD, Giftedness, as well as deaf and hard of hearing students. As the Chief Psychologist at the Toronto Catholic District School Board for 14 years, she was overseeing and directing psychological services for the 90,000 students of this board, as well as participating in the selection, implementation and evaluation of various system-wide intervention programs in the areas of LD, resilience and mental health. She supported and facilitated collaboration in research, service delivery and training with other organizations (e.g., SickKids Hospital LD Research Program, Integra, Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario – LDAO, Psychology Foundation of Canada, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Friends Resilience), and helped establish and obtain CPA accreditation for the Toronto Area Residency Program with rotations in school psychology. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Psychological Association and the Psychology Foundation of Canada, and the former President of the Association of Chief Psychologists with Ontario School Boards. She was also an advisory member of the LDAO’s LD@School project. She was co-chair of the Cross-sectoral Psychology Working Group creating Guidelines for Diagnosis and Assessment of Children, Adolescents and Adults with Learning Disabilities. Consensus Statement and Supporting Documents (currently available as a CPA CE workshop). Currently she is a member of the Ontario Psychological Association’s Section on Psychology in Education Council and the OPA-Ministry of Education Liaison Committee. Her co-edited book, titled Mental health consultation and interventions in school settings: A scientist-practitioner’s guide. (Eds.: Ester Cole & Maria Kokai) was published in 2021 (Hogrefe Publishing GmbH.)

Maria Rogers

Past Chair:
Maria Rogers, Ph.D., C. Psych.

Canada Research Chair in Child and Youth Mental Health and Well-being
Associate Professor, Carleton University

Dr. Maria Rogers is an Associate Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Child and Youth Mental Health and Well-being in the Department of Psychology at Carelton University. Dr. Rogers holds a Ph.D. in School and Clinical-Child Psychology from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and completed her postdoctoral training at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and McGill University. Dr. Rogers has broad interests in how adult-child relationships affect children’s learning and social-emotional development across various contexts. She has published extensively about the social-emotional and academic development of youth with ADHD. Dr. Rogers is also interested in relations between family mental health and student absenteeism, and how community mental health agencies work with families and schools to meet the educational needs of vulnerable children and youth.

Dr. Rogers has received several federal and provincial awards and honours for her research, including grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and Ontario’s Ministry of Research Innovation. She is also a Registered Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario and l’Ordre des psychologues du Québec and has worked clinically with children, teachers, and families in several school districts, clinics, and hospitals in Ontario and Québec. Dr. Rogers is also a member of the NunatuKavut community of Southern Labrador and currently works with Indigenous youth in both urban and rural settings near Ottawa.

Steven Shaw

Chair Elect:
Steven R. Shaw, Ph.D.

McGill University
School and Applied Child Psychology Program
Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology

Steven R. Shaw is associate professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He earned a M.Ed., Ed.S., and Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Florida. At McGill University, he is the Graduate Program Director of the Combined School and Counselling Psychology Program.

Before entering academia, he had 16 years of experience as a school psychologist in school, hospital, medical school, and independent practice. He served as the lead psychologist and associate professor of pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina and Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Shaw is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist.

His clinical and research interests include pediatric school psychology, improving education for children with rare genetic disorders, improving implementation of innovation and clinical research in education and psychology, and developing skills in children who are struggling academically. He has over 210 scholarly publications and presentations, has edited five books, and authored two others. His most recent book is, Reaching and Teaching Students Who Don’t Qualify for Special Education Strategies for the Inclusive Education of Diverse Learners (2022) published by Routledge. He sits on the editorial boards of six international scholarly journals, is past editor of School Psychology Forum, and is the current editor of the Canadian Journal of School Psychology.

Dr. Laurie Ford

Laurie Ford, Ph.D.

University of British Columbia
Director of Training, Ph.D. Program in School and Applied Child Psychology
Director Early Childhood Education

I am a former special education teacher having taught in early childhood and middle school settings. This work led me to doctoral study in School and Child Clinical Psychology at the University of Kansas (APA Accredited). I completed my pre-doctoral internship and a doctoral fellowship in Pediatric Psychology with the University of Nebraska Professional Psychology Internship Consortium (APA Accredited) and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Through my experiences as an educator and school psychologist I developed interest in children and families from diverse cultural backgrounds including a clinical focus on children in early childhood and families. I have been fortunate to serve and work closely with members of our section as a former Member-at-Large, Chair Elect, Chair, and Past Chair. I am also a past member of the CPA accreditation panel and CPA Board of Directors, Chair of Council of Chairs.

The favourite part of my job is working with graduate students and supporting them in their research and clinical training. I have supervised 30+ doctoral dissertations and 45+ masters theses. When I am not at work I enjoy being outdoors and hanging with my dogs Gracie Belle and Cooper.

Dr. Debra Lean

Member at Large:
Dr. Debra Lean, Ph.D., C.Psych.

School and Clinical Psychologist
Psychologist, Private Practice

Dr. Debra Lean is a School and Clinical Psychologist with over 35 years of experience in school boards, hospital mental health departments, as well as private practice. She received her Master’s and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Concordia University in Montreal. Dr. Lean has been registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario since 1988 and serves periodically as an examiner for the College’s oral exams. She recently retired, after 20 years, from her position of Chief Psychologist of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, in the Greater Toronto Area. Dr. Lean worked as a school psychologist at the board previous to her taking on the Chief Psychologist role. She will soon be returning to work as a psychologist in a large Toronto-based multidisciplinary private clinic. She is the Chair of the Ontario Psychological Association’s Section on Psychology in Education since 2011 and is a member of the Editorial Board of the Canadian Journal of School Psychology. Dr. Lean is the co-author of two books on integrating school-based mental health services, Barriers to Learning: The Case for Integrated Mental Health Services in Schools (2010) and School-based Mental Health: A Framework for Intervention (2013). Her previous research activities include school-based mental health service models, a play-based mental health prevention program for primary age children with school adjustment difficulties, cognitive behaviour intervention for anxious students, and alternative school psychology delivery models.

Simon Lisaingo

Member at Large:
Dr. Simon Lisaingo

School and Applied Child Psychology Program
University of British Columbia

Dr. Simon Lisaingo is an Assistant Professor of Teaching with the School and Applied Child Psychology program at the University of British Columbia. He was previously a classroom teacher in Vancouver, Ottawa, and the Yukon. His doctoral research examined the development, implementation, and evaluation of a home-school consultative intervention for students with emerging emotional and behavioural problems. He completed his pre-doctoral residency at the Ottawa-Carleton School District. He has worked at the BC Psychosis Program and Mood Disorders clinic, and the Children and Youth with Complex Care Needs (CYCCN) program. He is interested in family-school partnerships, school mental health, school psychology advocacy, and telepsychology. When not working, he can be found on the soccer field or in the wilderness. He has two young boys who challenge him to enjoy the present moment.

G. Thomas Schanding

Member at Large:
G. Thomas Schanding, Jr., PhD, R.Psych.

Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

Dr. Thomas Schanding is a registered psychologist in British Columbia and the program area coordinator for the School and Applied Child Psychology program at the University of British Columbia. Originally from Paris, Kentucky, he earned his PhD in School Psychology (APA-accredited) from the University of Southern Mississippi. He completed his doctoral internship at Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District (APA-accredited) in Houston, Texas. He has worked extensively with schools as a consultant and was the Supervisor of Psychological Services for Sheldon Independent School District (Texas). At the University of Houston-Clear Lake, he served as the program director for the Specialist in School Psychology program and co-director of the PsyD in Health Services Psychology (combined Clinical and School Psychology) program. Additionally, he has worked on grant projects with Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital as the lead diagnostician related to Autism Spectrum Disorders. Additionally, he worked for 10 years with UTHealth Houston’s LoneStar Leadership Education in a Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program, training families, self-advocates, and graduate students from various disciplines to become leaders in the field of neurodevelopmental disabilities. He has served as the chair of the LGBTQI2-S Committee for the a National Association of School Psychologists. He was the President of the Texas Association of School Psychologists in 2018, and worked with the Texas State Board of Examiner’s of Psychologists to develop a new definition for the practice of psychology. His passion in research is related to the assessment and intervention of social and emotional learning (SEL) skills. He is the author of the Social Emotional Learning Skills Inventory (SELSI).

Stephanie Andreasen

Student Representative:
Stephanie Andreasen

School & Applied Child Psychology (SACP) program,Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary

Stephanie is a first year MSc student in the School and Applied Child Psychology (SACP) program in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary, with a research focus on the diagnosis experience and mental health of late-diagnosed autistic youth. She completed two Bachelor of Science degrees (Biological Sciences and Psychology) before taking a break from schooling to work in the disability services sector in both community support and most recently in case management with a provincial disability services program. Through her experience supporting both children and adults with disabilities, she has developed a passion for supporting people of all abilities to have success in their lives. Through her continued education and research experience, Stephanie wants to learn how to best support the mental health of neurodiverse children and youth beginning as early as possible, including at school and in supporting families at home.

Jenny Kang

Student Representative:
Yeon Hee (Jenny) Kang

Educational and Counselling Psychology Department | McGill University

Yeon Hee (Jenny) is a second year Master’s student at McGill University. She grew up in Seoul, South Korea and graduated from Saint Louis University’s Madrid Campus with a B.A. (Honors) in Psychology and B.A. (Honors) in Spanish Language and Literature. Her research focuses on using implementation science to translate evidence-based interventions into the unique context of the schools to improve school psychological services and learning environments. Jenny is particularly interested in using multi-tiered systems of support to help schools meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse learners, and her work is informed by her time as an educator and curriculum developer in Spain and South Korea. Outside of academia, Jenny enjoys reading, drawing, and painting.

Antonia Soldovieri

Student Representative:
Antonia Soldovieri

Student in School and Applied Child Psychology
Faculty of Education | Department of Education, and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education
The University of British Columbia | Musqueam Traditional Territory

I am a second-year master’s students in the School and Applied Child Psychology program at the University of British Columbia. My undergraduate education was an Honors Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Toronto, where I developed a strong interest in working with and studying early childhood populations, as well as understanding how young children learn. My master’s thesis seeks to explore how teachers make their classrooms and the conversations that happen within them neurodiversity-affirming. I am inspired to better understand how both teachers and students can be taught about neurodiversity in ways that promote more inclusive and safe spaces for diverse learners. In my free time, I enjoy spending time in nature, drawing, and reading. This is my first year being involved with the Educational and School Psychology section and the CPA broadly, and I am excited to take part in the advocacy, discourse, and learning which happens in our section.

Erica Makarenko

Conference Chair (Ex-Officio):
Erica Makarenko, Psy.D., R.Psych.

Senior Instructor, School & Applied Child Psychology
Werklund School of Education
University of Calgary

Erica Makarenko grew up in southern New Jersey and completed her BSc degree in Psychology from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. She completed an MA degree in School Psychology and an Educational Specialist (EdS) degree from Rowan University in New Jersey. She completed her PsyD degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012 with a specialization in School Neuropsychology. Before moving to Canada, Erica worked as a School Psychologist in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Erica came to the University of Calgary in 2012 to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in School Neuropsychology with the Werklund School of Education. From 2013 until 2016, Erica worked as the Director of Instructional Impact for the James Chaput Centre for Educational Research Applications in Calgary, where she collaborated with a team of professionals to develop and pilot 21st century learning tools and academic programming. In 2016, Erica re-joined the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary as an Instructor and the Academic Coordinator of both the Master of Education in School & Applied Child Psychology program and the Master of Counselling program. Erica has also been the Co-Academic Coordinator of the graduate certificate program in Educational Neuroscience: Applications for Teaching & Learning since 2018. From 2018 to 2022, Erica served as Director of the Integrated Services in Education (ISE) Training Clinic at the University of Calgary, the outward-facing training facility for graduate students in Educational Psychology. Erica is a Registered Psychologist in Alberta and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist in the United States.

Sara King

Newsletter (Ex-Officio):
Dr. Sara King

Mount Saint Vincent University

I obtained my PhD in Clinical Psychology from Dalhousie University in 2007. My doctoral research focused on broadly on social cognition, aggressive behaviour, and response to behavioural interventions in children with ADHD. After completing my pre-doctoral internship in rehabilitation and developmental psychology at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, I completed a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program at the IWK Health Centre and Dalhousie University before taking a position as a full-time clinician in a secure care facility for youth with severe mental health and behavioural disorders. I obtained a tenure-track position in the School Psychology program at Mount Saint Vincent University in 2011 and am currently an associate professor and co-coordinator of the School Psychology program.

Although I began my academic career intending to continue my experimental work on social cognition in children with various exceptionalities, my experiences training graduate students and working with school psychologists and educators quickly prompted me to shift my focus to more applied areas of research that could potentially have a direct effect on the provision of psychological services in schools. Along with several talented graduate students, I am currently conducting provincially- and SSHRC-funded research examining availability of evidence-based information about treatment of ADHD, teacher knowledge and perceptions of evidence-based practice, and teacher perceptions and experiences of psychoeducational assessment.

Along with my work at MSVU, I maintain an active clinical practice; since 2011, I have held part-time contracts at IWK Community Mental Health in Halifax and the ADHD Clinic in Truro, NS. Currently, I work part-time in a private practice in Halifax, where I provide assessment and diagnosis services for a wide range of learning, behaviour, and mental health disorders and difficulties in children and adolescents. I currently serve as an ad-hoc reviewer for several psychology and medical journals, as well as for CPA convention abstract submissions.