Founder and Director of MASMHC
Director of School Mental Health & Behavioral Services, Methuen Public Schools
John Crocker has worked in public education for over a decade, 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 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.
MASMHC Leadership Team
Erika Boulware, Director of Student Services, Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School
Sara Burd, Director of School Counseling and Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Arlington Public Schools
Jennifer Cutler, Director of Counseling and Social Emotional Learning, Ashland Public Schools
Marlene DeJesus, Social Emotional Learning Director, Agawam Public School System
Jami Dion, Supervisor of School Counseling K-12, Haverhill Public Schools
Tracy Encarnacao, Director of Guidance and Counseling Services, Greater Lowell Technical High School
Samantha Graham, Substance Use Prevention & Intervention Specialist, DESE
Craig Harris, Director of Social Emotional Learning, Swampscott Public Schools
Darrell Johnson, Counselor, Chicopee Public Schools
Jason Levene, K-12 Administrator of Counseling, Health, and Wellness, Winchester Public Schools
Melissa Maguire, Director of Student Services, Monomoy Regional School District
Jamie Millett, Clinical Social Worker, Lunenburg Public Schools
Christine Murray, Coordinator of Behavioral Health and Social Emotional Support, Wilmington Public Schools
Amanda Nemet, School Adjustment Counselor, Bourne Public Schools
Kori Nicholson, School Social Worker, Minuteman High School
Wendy Pechacek, 6-12 School Counseling Coordinator, Westford Public Schools
Tim Potts, Behavioral Health Coordinator, Newburyport Public Schools
Catarina Saenz, Dean of Students, Somerville Public Schools
Abbey Tenczar, Social Emotional Director, Chicopee Public Schools
Methuen Public Schools
Jessica Lowe has worked as a Guidance Counselor at Methuen High School in Methuen, MA for the past five years. She received her 5th-12th grade Professional School Guidance Counselor license in September of 2019. Aside from promoting the academic and post-secondary development for students on her caseload, Jessica is invested in her school’s mental health initiative, providing tiered, therapeutic services to students and using evidence-based and progress monitoring techniques to gauge student achievement, emotional regulation, and symptom presentation. She has presented at the School for Mental Health Conferences in Washington D.C (October 2016) and Austin, Texas (November 2019) on Methuen’s data-driven, small group counseling program. The presentation highlighted Methuen’s group program that provide psychoeducational and therapeutic curriculum for students experiencing symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. As the Rising Star Recipient of MASCA for 2020, Jessica is passionate about promoting mental health in schools in her role as a counselor.
James Levine and Associates, P.C.
Dr. Alex Hirshberg, Psy.D. is the managing director at James Levine and Associates, a mental health agency that provides school consultation, assessment, and outpatient therapy services. Alex works with schools across the state in a variety of capacities to support student social-emotional skills. This includes professional development around evidence-based intervention, support for implementing SEL and trauma informed practices, and developing specialized programming for in-district social-emotional disability programs. Alex received his bachelor’s degree from Colorado College and his doctorate from William James College (formerly Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology).
Director Safe Schools / Healthy Students
Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District
Dr. Gina Kahn is a school psychologist and prevention specialist, recently retired from the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District. As HWRSD’s Safe and Healthy Students Programs Director, she has coordinated several of the district’s school safety, climate, and behavioral health integration initiatives, including three Readiness and Emergency Management in Schools projects, a Safe Schools/Healthy Students program, a School Climate Transformations grant from the Office of Safe and Healthy Students, and a School Violence Prevention grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. She received her Ed.D. from Northeastern University in Boston in 2013, completing her dissertation on the topic of teacher response to grieving children in the classroom. She was a member of the Education Subcommittee for the National Commission on Children and Disasters (2009–10) and serves as a “Developing Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) K-12 101” presenter for the REMS-TA Center. She continues to chair the District’s Safety and Emergency Advisory Team, serves as the Director for the H-W Partners for Youth (Drug Free Communities) Coalition, and is an officer of the Board of Directors for Rick’s Place Center for Grieving Children in her hometown of Wilbraham.
School Counselor / District School Counselor Coordinator
Gardner Public Schools
Mrs. Karen McCrillis is a school counselor at Gardner High School and the district counseling coordinator. She has worked to bring the school counseling department to focus on student focused data driven work. She has received her BA in Psychology, MS in Counseling and CAGS in Interdisciplinary Studies (Mental Health Counseling) all from Fitchburg State University and also is a Licenced Mental Health Counselors. She has completed the ASCA U Specialist training in Leadership. Karen is the 2020 MASCA School Counselor of the Year.