2017 Reaching the Wounded Student Conference


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Join us for the 2017 Reaching the Wounded Student Conference: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Helping Youth Beyond At-Risk presented by the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network and Hope 4 The Wounded, LLC Educational Seminars.  The conference is the perfect staff development event for school/district administrators, teachers, counselors, community and faith-based youth practitioners.

Many young people today carry wounds with them as they head out to school each day, interact with friends and family, and experience life in their communities.  These wounds are the result of trauma, many times experienced in the form of poverty, abuse, violence, loss, and family dysfunction.  Research shows that this trauma has a direct effect on cognitive function, emotional health, and interpersonal capacity.  Educators, counselors, administrators, and youth practitioners can implement trauma-informed policies and approaches to their work that not only move wounded youth toward healing, but have a positive effect on overall student achievement and performance.

Featured Speakers


Dr. Joe Hendershott
Founder and President of HOPE 4 The Wounded, LLC

For Joe & Dardi Hendershott, Hope 4 The Wounded is not a career. It’s a life calling. And seemingly to their astonishment, it’s becoming a national movement. Joe has an extensive background working firsthand with at-risk and wounded youth as a teacher and administrator in traditional, alternative, and correctional education settings. He has been a high school assistant principal, head principal, alternative school principal, and a principal at The Village Network.

In 2006, he co-founded Hope 4 The Wounded, Inc. with his wife, Dardi. He has been a featured presenter at international and national conferences and has conducted staff training/professional development on understanding and working with wounded students, leadership, emotional literacy, empathy, esteem, inclusive communities, and other topics relevant to today’s educational climate. Joe has written two acclaimed books, Reaching the Wounded Student (Eye on Education, 2008) and 7 Ways to Transform the Lives of Wounded Students (Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2016).

He is a keynote speaker at conferences across the United States. He also offers consultant services and professional development training for schools in person and through an online certificate program. Everything is focused on trauma-informed practices that lead to HOPE for the wounded student.

LTC Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, Ret.
Veteran, Author, and Motivational Speaker

Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch is a renowned, charismatic, passionate and influential speaker with a mission to empower the next generation of leaders. Throughout her career, Consuelo has shared her personal knowledge on becoming an effective leader in today’s global marketplace with hundreds of schools, colleges, universities, corporations, and government institutions both in the U.S. and abroad.

Born and raised along the border in a small barrio in Laredo, Texas, Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch is all too familiar with the challenges of poverty, discrimination, and illiteracy. Although she grew up without material wealth, Consuelo was taught by her immigrant parents that she was rich in culture, tradition, values, and faith.

The values Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch learned as a child were reinforced throughout her career in the United States military. After graduating from Hardin Simmons University, Consuelo entered the U.S. Army as an officer and served for two decades. During that time, she broke barriers and set records in the military where she became the highest-ranking Hispanic woman in the Combat Support Field of the U.S. Army. When the opportunity arose to assume a command post, Consuelo shocked the military by deciding to retire. She chose to honor her mother’s dying wish—for her to return to her roots and become a community leader. In 1996, Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch founded the human development company, Educational Achievement Services, Inc. (EAS, Inc.), to fulfill her mission of preparing tomorrow’s leaders.

Mr. John Gailer
National Dropout Prevention Center/Network

John Gailer is the Assistant Director for Programs and Outreach with the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, located at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina. He earned his Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Georgia. He has more than 25 years of experience in the field of youth development in the contexts of youth at-risk and third culture kids. John has conducted leadership and teambuilding workshops throughout the country at the local, regional, and national levels. He has served as a consultant in areas of program, intervention, and collaboration design. He has 15 years of experience in higher education leadership and classroom instruction. In his current role with NDPC/N, John designs professional learning experiences that impact educators and youth practitioners across the country. John and his wife, Susanna, have two married sons and a daughter in college. They manage a home in Toccoa, Georgia that provides housing for 15 third culture kids whose parents reside all over the world.

Mr. Ken Packard
M. Ed., Retired School Superintendent, Ashland University Adjunct Professor, ATE 2011 National College Supervisor of the Year

Ken Packard, who resides in Ashland, Ohio is a graduate of Kent State University where he earned both his Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education and his Master’s Degree in Vocational Education. He currently works as an Adjunct Professor and Supervisor of Field Experiences and Internships at Ashland University.

Ken began his teaching experience as a military instructor in 1964 in Saigon, South Vietnam. His career has included working with disadvantaged and under achieving youth as a high school English and history teacher, an Occupational Work Experience Coordinator, and 23 years of experience as a school administrator serving as an Occupational Work Adjustment and Occupational Work Experience Vocational Supervisor, Curriculum Director, Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent. For the past 7 years he has assisted Dr. Hendershott by teaching workshops and an online course dedicated to understanding and reaching wounded students. Ken and his wife, Evelyn, a recently retired high school English teacher, have 2 sons and 4 grandchildren.

Mr. Dave Paxton
Chief Clinical Officer, The Village Network, Wooster, OH

David Paxton, LISW, is the Chief Clinical Officer for The Village Network in Ohio. For over seventy years the Village Network has been serving abused and neglected children in residential programs, treatment foster care and outpatient programs. TVN is currently providing mental health services to over Ohio’s children in over 40 different schools. Mr. Paxton’s department at The Village Network is responsible for assuring fidelity to TVN’s chosen clinical models: The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics and the Collaborative Problem Solving approach. The Village Network has been deemed as a Flag ship organization of Dr. Perry’s & The Child Trauma Academy and the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics. Since implementing trauma informed care into their program, The Village Network has significantly reduced the need for high risk interventions such as physical restraints. More recently, the Village Network received a grant to coordinate the training of 30 schools and 65 teachers across Ohio in the Neurosequential Model in Education by the Child Trauma Academy. Mr. Paxton also oversees the development and implementation of TVN’s annual strategic plan. Mr. Paxton obtained B.A. degree from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois and earned an MA in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago in 1995.

Dr. Shelley Stewart
President and CEO of o2ideas

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1930s, Dr. Stewart’s background can be understood in two words – obstacles overcome. Today a successful businessman, as a child his future was anything but bright. Dr. Stewart’s rise to prominence began as a radio personality in the 1950s and ‘60s. His radio broadcasts were a conduit for protest organizations during Birmingham’s civil rights struggles. His expansion into marketing also began in the 1960s, culminating in his position as the President and CEO of o2ideas, one of the country’s longest-running and largest privately held corporate communication companies. With all that he has accomplished, Dr. Stewart’s path out of poverty and abuse only emerged once he had taught himself to read – the lesson that’s at the very heart of The Foundation he created.

Conference Strands

School Safety
School Resource Officers, School Administrators, Counselors, and other professionals are invited to share effective strategies and programs that promote a physically and emotionally safe learning environment. Anti-Bullying initiatives are welcome.

Emotional Literacy
Effective programs and adopted vision/mission statements geared towards cultivating empathetic and compassionate connections (teacher-student, student-student, school-community, etc.) and its impact on the learning process.

Counseling/Therapeutic Insights
Counselors and practitioners are invited to submit proposals geared towards understanding child development and the effects of trauma on that development and learning.

Creating Community
Effective strategies for developing an inviting, respectful, and inclusive culture be it in the classroom, building, or extracurricular group setting where everyone feels they are contributing members.

Learning/Academic Achievement
Creative teaching strategies that engage and motivate students, inspiring confidence and recognition of one another’s unique strengths and abilities.

Practitioner Health and Well-Being
School/System Administrators, Counselors, and other professionals are encouraged to share programs, practices, and approaches that are effective in maintaining the emotional and physical well-being of those who work with students affected by trauma and may experience secondary trauma as a result of that interaction.


Conference Details

June 25 - 28, 2017

Rosen Centre Hotel
(407) 996-9840
9840 International Drive
Orlando, Florida 32819

Conference Program


Contact Staff

John Gailer - (864) 712-3704


Denise Gianforcaro - (864) 712-3703