Milford School District Hires Staff to Support Social Emotional Learning Goals of Strategic Plan

 Milford School District
Jessica Huizenga, Superintendent
100 West St.
Milford, NH 03055


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Media Contact: Kelsey Bode
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Milford School District Hires Staff to Support Social Emotional Learning Goals of Strategic Plan

MILFORD— Superintendent Jessica Huizenga is pleased to announce that the district has created several positions and made new hires in an effort to facilitate its enhanced efforts support student’s social emotional well-being and growth.

The district has created three new social worker positions and a second mental health therapist position, and has also hired a new school psychologist. All five new employees will begin their new positions on Monday, Aug. 26.

The district’s new strategic plan seeks to address students’ mental health needs and support the development of their social emotional skills. Over the next five years, the district will implement curriculum and classroom expectations that will reinforce social emotional skills such as self awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills and responsible decision making. Effective skills as outlined in the state adopted work-based competencies and those outlined in the district’s Portrait of a Graduate will be integrated throughout the district as well. The district will also provide staff professional development opportunities and offer wrap around services for families looking for support outside of school.

All five new hires will also take part in a district-wide and school-based tiered system of behavioral support teams, oversee behavioral interventions and assist in the development and implementation of individual and personalized behavioral support plans for students.

“Districts all over the nation are working hard to address mental health and social emotional learning,” Superintendent Huizenga said. “As we create these new positions, bring in new mental health professionals, expand our partnerships with social service agencies and put wrap around services for families in place, we’re taking a tremendous step forward in meeting the needs of our students and their families.”

The district’s newest mental health therapist, Chris Joy, will support the new Therapeutic Behavioral Program at the Jacques Memorial Elementary School and Heron Pond Elementary School.

Joy, of Mason, has counseling and peer support experience, a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Capella University and a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with a focus in early childhood behavior from Kaplan University.

Beginning this school year, the district will also have a social worker assigned to each school. The district’s newest social workers include Erin Richardson, who will join staff at Milford Middle School; Stephanie Bielik, who will work at Heron Pond Elementary School; and Tracy Holland, who will support students at Jacques Memorial Elementary School.

Richardson, of Fremont, has worked since August 2017 as a project IMPACT counselor at the Youth Council in Nashua, and has a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree, both in social work from the University of New Hampshire. Bielik has worked as a district social worker at Pelham School District since May 2017, and has a master’s degree in social work from Wheelock College and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Milligan College.

Over her 13 year career in social work, Holland has worked as a school social worker at Nashua School District, as a clinical coordinator at Riverbend Community Health, and as a clinic supervisor, clinic manager and clinician at various locations. She holds a master’s degree in social work from Augsburg College and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the State University of New York (SUNY) Brockport.

The district has also hired a new school psychologist, Yesenia Schuler, who will work with kindergarten and first grade students, as well as high school students.

Schuler has worked previously as a school psychologist at the Pelham, Litchfield, Newfound Area, Mascoma Valley Regional and Barrington School Districts, and as a special education teacher/case manager at Inter-Lakes Middle Tier and Laconia Middle School. She holds a master’s degree in organizational psychology from Columbia University, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Manhattan College and certificate of advanced graduate studies in educational leadership and school psychology from Plymouth State University.