School Counselors Conference

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 | 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
DeWitt Learning Commons, Northwestern College

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Cost: $65 | lunch included 
Optional additional credit: 1 License Renewal credit $50 | 1 Graduate credit $150    

School counselors are an important part of the educational leadership team and provide valuable assistance to students from academic achievement and career direction to social/emotional development. You work with challenging issues facing your students as you care for their needs.

Join topic experts and other school counselors to learn practical strategies to address issues affecting your students and school as well as practices in caring for yourself. Keynote speaker, Denise Blomberg, a mother who lost her son to addiction, will share her personal story of loss and hope in the journey of addiction and recovery. Breakout sessions by local and regional experts in the field will share strategies for addressing anxiety, technology and gaming disorders and other issues.

Register online    

Registration deadline is June 5th.  
Please contact or 712-707-7388 with any questions about registration.

Speakers and Topics

Opening Keynote

Triumph Over Tragedy: Remembering Ryan
Denise Blomberg, Regional Director, Operations, Samaritan's Feet International

In December 2016, the Center for Disease Control released data that 129 lives are lost a day due to a drug overdose. That number has now increased to 192 a day. Denise Blomberg is a mother of 4 from Sioux Falls, SD, who lost her son, Ryan, as the result of an accidental fentanyl overdose in April 2018. Denise will share the story of dealing with Ryan’s addiction, his journey through treatment and recovery and his very unexpected death. His death was a profound loss not only for her family but on the many lives of those he impacted through his work in the sobriety and recovery communities and beyond. Denise offers hope to those who are currently dealing with a friend, family member, student or client who is struggling with addiction to help prevent them from being one of the #192aDay.

Breakout Sessions

Screen Time, Gaming Disorder, and Digital Literacy
Andrew Gerodias, LMHC, CADC, Mental Health Counselor, Jackson Recovery Centers    

In this session, Andrew will explore how the process of screen time can become very similar to the experiences of addiction. A few objectives of the presentation will be to provide possible warning signs of these addictive behaviors, ways in which to address the situation, and an understanding of electronics from a place of digital literacy and gamification. Through this presentation, I am also open to having a discussion of experiences seen by participants in the field and answer questions you may have.

Andrew Gerodias is a licensed mental health counselor with a certification in alcohol and drug counseling. He received his BA in counseling Psychology from Morningside College, his MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from University of South Dakota, and is currently working on his dissertation for his Ph.D. in Counselor Education from USD. He has worked for Jackson Recovery Centers for over 5 years, working with a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and counseling needs. His primary focus has been in the area of addictions, and over the last three years has expanded into mental health and process addictions. As a counselor, an avid gamer himself, and a father to four little girls who already love getting screen time, he views the topic of screen addiction from three different perspectives.


Go to Strategies for your Anxiety Reduction Arsenal
Dr. Shawn Scholten, LMHC, Mental Health Counselor, Creative Living Center 
Nicky Menke, LISW, Social Worker, Creative Living Center

Dr. Shawn Scholten holds a Doctoral Degree in Counseling Psychology. She has been practicing individual, couples, and family therapy with the Creative Living Center since 1993. Her specialties lie in grief and loss, anxiety disorders, pre-marital and couples work, children and adolescent therapy, and conducting trauma debriefings. Further interests are aiding in conflict-laden systemic situations. Dr. Scholten is an Iowa Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a National Board Certified Counselor. She also is part of the NWIA Crisis Intervention Stress Management Team.

Nicky Menke is a Licensed Independent Social Worker in Iowa and South Dakota. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of North Dakota. She works with children and adults of all ages, couples and families. Nicky is skilled in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy), Family Systems, Solution-Focused Therapy, Crisis Intervention, Child-Based Interventions, and School-Based Therapy. She has an interest in dealing with depression, anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder, children and adults suffering from acute and chronic illness such as cancer and end-stage renal disorder, and those coping with severe and persistent mental illness.

  Social Emotional Learning: Building Healthy Relationships
Dr. Sara Waring-Tiedeman, Co-Chair, Education Department, Director, Master of Education Program

Children from a young age develop attachments to significant others in their immediate social environment. Dr. Tiedeman will share the research behind the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) and a free curriculum that can be used by counselors and teachers to help children from a grades PK - 6 have the skills to be successful in life. The presentation will focus on cooperation, empathy, and effective communication through games and activities. Participants will be able to leave with information to obtain the free Harmony Curriculum.

In addition to serving as chief administrator for Northwestern’s current Master of Education degree programs, Dr. Waring-Tiedeman works with the college’s education department to develop new M.Ed. tracks and graduate-level programs. Before coming to Northwestern, she was the school support and ESL specialist for the East Dakota Educational Cooperative in Sioux Falls and also served as a contract specialist and data analyst for edCount, which is based in Washington, D.C., and provides systems and services for educators across the U.S. Dr. Waring-Tiedeman has taught at South Dakota State University and Arizona State University and also has experience as a teacher of English as a second language. She previously served on the executive board for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. She earned a doctorate in educational administration, specializing in educational leadership and adult education, at the University of South Dakota. She also holds a Master of Education degree in curriculum and instruction and a bachelor’s degree in English, both from South Dakota State University.