Return to Headlines

Aledo ISD Virtual Parenting University: Parenting in Challenging Times

Parenting University January 26, 2021

The Aledo ISD will host a virtual Parenting University "Parenting Through Challenging Times" in partnership with the Aledo ISD PTO from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021.


Parenting University is free to attend and is for parents of students of all ages. With the virtual format, there will be an opening general session from 9 to 10 a.m. then four concurrent sessions from 10 to 11 a.m. and the same four sessions will run concurrently from 11 a.m. to noon. The concurrent sessions will be hosted in breakout rooms.


Dr. Scott Poland will be the keynote speaker addressing Parenting Through Challenging Times. Poland is a professor at the College of Psychology and Director of the Suicide and Violence Prevention Office at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A dynamic and nationally recognized speaker, Dr. Poland was formerly the Director of Psychological Services for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in Texas and has testified about the mental health needs of children before the United States Congress on four occasions.


The concurrent sessions will include:

Parenting Through the Haze: The Reality of Vaping and E-Cigarette Use
Presenter: Kierra Woods
Session Times: 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Woods is the Program Director of Stay on Track -  a community coalition based in Northeast Tarrant County that works to increase awareness around the risks of underage substance use and engage the community in equipping youth with the knowledge, skills, confidence and environmental support to live a healthy, substance-free life. Kierra received her Bachelors of Social Work degree from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her Masters in Social Work from The University of Texas at Arlington.


Urgent and Emerging Issues in Substance Use and Abuse: Fentanyl and Overdose Prevention*
Presenters: John Haenes and Lisa Sullivan
Session Times: 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

John Haenes holds a master’s of science in social work and is an internationally certified prevention specialist with experience in the fields of addiction, juvenile delinquency, trauma, and child welfare. Mr. Haenes has been a trainer for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, Texas Center for the Judiciary, Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, law enforcement agencies, and independent school districts around the country. Mr. Haenes is the Chief Operations Officer of Challenge of Tarrant County, a non-profit agency whose mission is to confront addiction issues by identifying needs, educating the community, mobilizing resources, promoting collaborations and advocating for sound public policy. 
Lisa Sullivan is the Diversion Program Manager for the Dallas Division of the Drug Enforcement Agency(DEA). In this role she establishes priorities for the Diversion Groups in Dallas, Fort Worth, Tyler, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. She has previously worked in the San Antonio and Washington, D.C. Diversion Control Offices where she was responsible for the dismantling and successful prosecution of internet pharmaceutical cases and with the newly established electronic prescriptions initiative (EPCS).
*Please note: This session will not be recorded.

Digital Kids: Parenting in the Age of the Smartphone
Presenter: Dr. Ryan Smith
Session Times: 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Dr. Ryan Smith is a therapist in private practice with offices in McKinney and Rockwall. He holds a Ph.D. in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy and is the Past-President of the Texas Association of Marriage and Family Counselors. His primary research focus is the impact of technology on personal functioning and relationships. Dr. Smith wrote a dissertation on the impact of social media on romantic relationships and regularly speaks to schools, clinicians, and parent groups about the many ways in which technology affects marriage, family functioning, and child and adolescent development.

Promoting Mental Health and Knowing the Signs of Suicide for Parents
Presenter: Scott Kessel
Session Times: 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Scott Kessel is the Executive Director of Student Services for the Aledo Independent School District. He is now in his 28th year working in the public education system in Texas. For 10 years Scott also served as adjunct faculty at Texas Christian University in the College of Education. He has presented at dozens of conferences and workshops at the local, state, and national level including at the American Association of Suicidology National Conference in 2008.