Resiliency Conference 2022




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Important Information: The Resiliency Conference is two days. Please note there are separate session registration numbers.
Once registered, you will receive instructions on how to access the session Zoom® links.


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The Resiliency Conference is a special day to celebrate the capacity of educators to be resilient. This conference is an opportunity to explore and unlock the power of positive actions to overcome difficulties, cultivate hope, and nurture empowerment for you and your students. The conference's goal is to expand the participants' knowledge with magnificent strategies to be resilient in the face of challenges both in school and life. The Resiliency conference's purpose is to instill hope and reinvigorate your passion for being an educator.

WHEN EDUCATORS ARE WELL, STUDENTS WILL BE WELL, and students will learn from our actions.



Important Note:
These sessions are virtual. Prior to the each session, participants will receive an e-mail with information regarding how to access the event. Participants should ensure the correct e-mail is on file to ensure receipt of the login information. Each session will have a separate registration and notification.




Meet the Presenters



Shawn Nemeth


Trauma TALK: An Introspective Look at Trauma and the Need for Self-Care
If we want to help children in the classroom who may be struggling with trauma, we must also understand the basics of trauma and its effects within ourselves.  In this session, participants will discover how personal or secondary trauma may prevent being fully available for others and learn strategies for self-care.


Shawn Nemeth is a speaker, author, coach, and CEO of Chester Street Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded to shed light on childhood trauma. After suffering years of abuse and as a child, Nemeth found the strength to recover and thrive with the help of treatment, courage, and self-compassion. His life purpose is to help childhood trauma survivors recover and thrive.





Natalie Fikac


Personal Development Precedes Professional Development

Self-compassion is critical to our wellbeing. As educators, we understand the importance of taking care of others, but we often don’t offer ourselves this same level of kindness and support. In this session, participants will learn about the art of self-compassion as well as develop a plan to become more self-compassionate.

Natalie Fikac, Ed.D. is a mental health professional, educator, and consultant for Be Well, Lead Well, LLC. Her experience includes roles as a teacher, reading interventionist, school counselor, and campus and district level administrator. She has served at the Texas Education Agency on the mental and behavioral health team and now supports school mental health at the South Southwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center {MHTTC) at the University of Texas at Austin. 



adam-saenzDr. Adam Sáenz


The Resilient and Fulfilled Educator

Just as a cell phone battery must be recharged regularly to not lose all capacity, the life of an educator must also be recharged to not lose the passion for the noble calling of teaching.  Personal balance and fulfillment are attainable, and if we nurture them, we will find ourselves maximizing our impact—both instructionally and relationally. Based on the book The Power of a Teacher, participants will explore the five areas of wellbeing: physical, occupational, emotional, financial, and spiritual, as well as actionable strategies to achieve and maintain well being.



Adam Sáenz earned his Ph.D. in School Psychology from Texas A&M University as a U.S. Department of Education doctoral fellow. He has presented at TEDx Yale and is the author of the best-sellers, The Power of a Teacher and 
Relationships That Work, and The EQ Intervention.



Breakout Session Presenters


Anne Douglas-Rowald, RYT 200

Yoga Asanas for Your Workday
Join me for yoga—a union of the body, mind, and spirit with the goal of achieving stillness of the mind. Engage in a brief discussion to understand the eight limbs of yoga, one of which is the asanas, the physical poses we think of when someone says yoga. We will engage in a series of physical practices you can use daily when you wake, at your desk, or as a break in a workshop you are leading. Use these individually as short breaks or combine them for a single practice. We will conclude with a short meditation and moment of gratitude.


Douglas-Rowald, RYT 200, is the director of the Innovation Center 4 Educator Preparation, a center dedicated to improving the quality of teacher preparation through alternative certification pathways focusing on quality preparation and supports. Yoga has brought peace and provided a way to center her being for the past 20 years. Daily practice of the asanas and meditation provided a healthy way to process the stress of working in education, first as a science teacher and then in various administrative roles.

Ange Dickson Finn 

Tap into Relaxation
This session will provide a variety of simple body-based relaxation techniques, including Tapping (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and others. Dickson Finn will give participants a brief background in how these techniques have an essential role in relieving stress and improving mood and cognition, especially when experiencing reactions to traumatic experiences. Participants will use these techniques during the session and learn how best to use them for self-care and how to teach them to students.


Dickson Finn is an advanced emotional freedom techniques and a thought field therapy-algorithms practitioner, working with clients using simple, fast techniques to help people overcome fear, worry, and stress. She is certified and accredited with EFT International. She is also a member of ACEP where she serves on the Humanitarian Committee, teaching their Resources For Resilience techniques.

In addition to her tapping coaching practice, Dickson Finn works with the University of Texas McGovern Medical School as a facilitator for the Sacred Vocation Program for medical residents.

Ann Friedman, PhD


Simple Mindful Practices for Teacher Stress and Burnout and Using Gratitude Practices to Increase Your Joy

In recent years, mindfulness has been popularized in the media. Mindfulness is now being taught to educators and implemented in classrooms across the nation. Mindfulness is not just about breathing, although the breath can relax your body. It's learning to bring a quality of attention that can change your daily stress. Through this training, you will realize that you don't create most of your thoughts, and you don't have to believe your stressful thoughts. You can question beliefs, quit making assumptions, and become more curious. You can also bring kindness and compassion practices to yourself and others when you are hurting.

Ann Friedman, PhD, is a psychologist who has studied mindfulness intensively with various national teachers since 2007. She began teaching as a volunteer in 2012 and in 2015, Dr. Friedman received a Certification in Mindfulness Facilitation from the Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) of the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Friedman has also completed courses for teaching mindfulness to children and teens through Mindful Schools, Sitting Like a Frog, and A Still Quiet Place.

Dr. Friedman teaches mindfulness classes for adults, teens, and parents with their children through her company, Mindful Being, P.C. Dr. Friedman trains counselors, teachers, and school staff in Houston-area schools and school districts in collaboration with the Mental Health America of Greater Houston. She previously served as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston. She holds doctorates in Counseling Psychology and Jurisprudence from UH. She completed her residency in Clinical Psychology at UT Medical School and her post-doctoral fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology at Baylor College of Medicine.

Ashley Whitley

Make an Appointment with YourSELF 
How many times do you put others first? How many times do you say “That wasn't enough" when confronted with personal challenges? Let's flip the switch and instead of focusing on everyone else, let's make an appointment with ourselves. During this session, we will do more than talk about self-care and self-compassion, but we will cover tools for intentional steps toward self-care and self-compassion. The goal is to initiate positive change and a proactive response to life's changes. Join us as we make an appointment for self-care and self-compassion.

Ashley Whitley is a licensed marriage and family therapy associate. She has worked in the mental health community for more than 10 years. She is currently a non-physician mental health professional under the leadership of The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD and is currently at Region 4 Education Service Center. She serves as a liaison between multiple local mental health authorities, the Region 4 Education Service Center, and the learning community and community stakeholders. While serving the community, she provides multiple trainings such as Mental Health First Aid, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, A.S.K. about Suicide and other carefully curated trainings on mental wellness for diverse audiences. Whitley is an advocate for reducing stigma concerning mental health and self-care. She additionally works with children, adolescents, and families in support of healthy family systems that create a foundation for life satisfaction and abundant living.



Resiliency Conference Administrator's Day Presenters




Natalie Fikac, Ed.D.


Daring to Lead While Living a Self-Compassionate Life with Intentionality and Purpose

Who we are is how we lead. In this session, participants will take a deep dive into who they are individually as leaders as well as the importance of self-compassion and emotional literacy. During these difficult times, heart-centered leadership is essential and when we truly understand who we are, we are better able to pour more into those that we serve.


Natalie Fikac, Ed.D. is a mental health professional, educator, and consultant for Be Well, Lead Well LLC. Her experience includes roles as a teacher, reading interventionist, school counselor, and campus and district level administrator. 






Rohanna Sykes, LPC-S, CSC


District Showcase: Commitment to District Wellness
The district showcase will be facilitated by Rohanna Sykes, LPC-S, CSC, and Project AWARE Expansion Consortium State Coordinator at the Texas Education Agency. Sykes is passionate about student mental health and academic achievement and was twice appointed by Governor Greg Abbott as the counselor representative for the State Board for Educator Certification. Her mission is to promote mental health and wellness awareness, expand statewide access to school and community mental health resources, and increase implementation of evidence-based practices to ensure student success. 



Dr. LaKeisha Kearney, Ph.D.


Building Trauma Sensitive Schools

This session will review resources for introducing all school staff to the concept of trauma-sensitive schools, why it is important to adopt a trauma-sensitive approach, and trauma-sensitive practices for use in the classroom and school-wide.  In addition, participants will discover a framework and process for adopting a trauma-sensitive approach school-wide, including guidance for how to roll-out school-based implementation plans. This session is intended for administrators, safe and supportive school program team members, MTSS team members, and mental health team members.



lisetteLisette Spraggins, M.Ed.


District Showcase: Title IV Multi-tiered System of Support for Mental Health

This panel discussion will highlight the Region 4 districts participating in the Title IV Multi-tiered System of Support for Mental Health Project. Districts will share their “Grows and Glows” in their journey of creating a systemic approach to meeting the needs of their educators, students and parents.

This showcase will be faciliated by LaKeisha Kearney, Ph.D., Region 4 ESC and Lisette Spraggins, M.Ed., Region 4 ESC.



Main Office
Region 4 Education Service Center
7145 West Tidwell Road Houston, Texas 77092-2096
713.462.7708 | PHONE
Region 4 is making improvements to the McKinney Conference Center and will invite guests to experience the difference in September of 2024.
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