BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Chairperson | President
Dawn Bunch is a rising sophomore in college who has been dedicated to the field of psychology for several years. She first became interested in psychology and mental health when she was ten years old. At age 14, she became the youngest person to intern at the American Psychological Association, where she contributed by writing papers for the APA Newsletter. She also sat on the Girl's Advisory Committee for the APA Museum Day.
Bunch founded the Adolescent Peer Support League in April of 2017 in response to what she considered to be a lack of attention to adolescent mental health. Through her intensive research on the efficacy of peer support programs, she has identified these programs as a plausible solution to poor mental health and emotional wellbeing in teens. Her vision is to create a system of peer support programs in high schools throughout the country.
Director | Secretary
Gabriella Martinez is a Senior in Montgomery County Public Schools. She has worked with Adolescent Peer Support League in several capacities, including her recent volunteer work at the League’s 2018 Annual Conference, “SHARING OUR VOICE: What Students Think About School Mental Health.”
Gabriella’s interest in mental health sparked when she was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, along with PTSD. This fueled her interest in helping others who have also faced challenges with their mental health. From her lived experience, she has learned that having a mental illness does not have to restrict or define a person. She hopes to spread this positive thinking with other sufferers.
Gabriella is currently studying medicine, and plans to pursue her dreams of becoming a psychiatrist.
Kathryn Bryant is pleased to be part of APSL and support the work of this organization. Her professional career has focused on the many aspects of telecom and Information Technology including sales, marketing and project management.
She currently supports the pharmaceutical industry in designing and delivering Patient Assistance Programs to assist patients in accessing and affording their prescribed therapy. She has served on several boards supporting the LGBTQ community and resides in Dallas, Texas.
Director | Treasurer
PANEL OF ADVISORS
Deann Collins, Ed.D
Dr. Deann M. Collins is the director of the Division of Title I and Early Childhood Programs and Services for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, and has worked in the field of education for 20 years. She frequently collaborates with school leaders and teachers, central office staff, parents, and various community stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of high quality early childhood and school-age programs that meet the needs of students impacted by poverty.
In May 2017, she received the Academic and Community Excellence Award for graduate and professional students at the Universities at Shady Grove for her work as a doctoral student at Bowie State University. In 2013, she had the honor of serving as the special guest speaker for the National Head Start Association conference that was held in the state of Maryland.
Holly Rothrock is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). She received her MSW from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. She is currently the school counselor at The Siena School in Silver Spring MD, a school that serves 4th-12th graders with language based learning differences. Before The Siena School, Ms. Rothrock helped develop a social/emotional curriculum for an inquiry based education technology company. Ms. Rothrock has worked in a therapeutic group home for teens as the home’s clinical therapist, and served as an advocate for the residents’ educational experience. While living overseas in Estonia, she developed an after school program focused on social skill enrichment. Ms. Rothrock is a certified yoga instructor and has taught yoga and mindfulness at the high school, middle school and elementary school level. She is dedicated to a holistic approach to educating students.
Batya Toso is a Student Intervention Specialist at Gaithersburg High School in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, where she works with students to overcome personal and academic barriers to succeed in school. Batya is collaborating on a pilot program designed to reduce ninth grade retention and increase student graduation, as well as contributing to a school initiative of incorporating trauma-informed practices in all Gaithersburg cluster schools. She also works in collaboration with the Child Advocacy Center of Frederick County, helping students work through emotional trauma to more effectively navigate their academic and social life.
Batya holds a Bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education and a Master’s in brain-based teaching. She is certified in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, Mental Health First Aid, and is completing a certification in Trauma-Informed Education. She has experience working with youth with a wide variety of social-emotional challenges and is passionate about promoting mental health and resiliency among teens.
COMMUNITY THOUGHT LEADERS
Deana Kahle, M.S.
Community Thought Leader
Deana Kahle, M.S. is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT99258). She earned her Master’s degree in counseling psychology from California Baptist University. She is certified in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Police Officer Standards of Training (P.O.S.T.) instruction. Deana has experience working with adults, couples and children with specific expertise in the areas of substance abuse and addiction as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) intervention.
Deana provides Peer Support training and other TCTI class offerings around the country for numerous agencies including the Federal Air Marshal Service. Working for TCTI, Deana provides marriage, family, child and individual therapy to governmental agencies, city personnel and their families out of the San Bernardino office. She also provides Critical Incident Stress Debriefings (CISD) for law enforcement, fire personnel and other first responders.
STUDENT THOUGHT LEADERS
Sam C. | Class of 2018
"Today's teens face more stress, possibly than ever before in history. Having peer support helps people work out their issues and improve their mental health with someone relatable."
Hannah S. | Class of 2018
"I support APSL's goal to support teens with their mental health. We have a unique viewpoint, and will benefit from sharing that viewpoint with each other. "
Toli G. | Class of 2015
"Mental health has implications on many aspects of everyday life. It affects people young and old, but often young people aren't sure where to go to get the support they need to work with it. The availability of peers as a method of support aids young individuals in better understanding their thoughts and emotions."