LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced appointments to the School Safety and Mental Health Commission.
Created by the FY22-23 School Aid budget, the School Safety and Mental Health Commission will collaborate to provide recommendations to reduce youth suicides and strengthen the mental health of school-aged children, adolescents, and their families through a comprehensive, statewide approach. The Commission will seek input from educational professionals, mental health professionals, and organizations from across this state to suggest approaches to identify and support students at risk of behavioral health issues.
“Every kid in Michigan has a birthright to a phenomenal public education and we need to work together to ensure they can thrive by investing in their overall well-being, including mental and behavioral health,” said Governor Whitmer. “Since I took office, we have enacted four balanced, bipartisan education budgets including the highest state per-student funding ever and dedicated resources for school safety and mental health. Today’s appointees to the School Safety and Mental Health Commission will ensure that we use our resources effectively to keep our kids safe and learning in-person.”
“As chair of the Michigan School Safety Commission and deputy director of the Michigan State Police, which houses the Office of School Safety, I am committed to working collaboratively to do all we can to improve school safety in Michigan,” said Lt. Col. Chris Kelenske, Deputy Director of the Michigan State Police. “The recent investments in the bipartisan state budget for school safety will help us shore up on-campus safety, and the work of the School Safety and Mental Health Commission will ensure that the resources are delivered where they will have the greatest impact for our kids. The MSP stands ready to utilize all available best practices to keep our children safe and focused on learning.”
“As school leaders, we are focused on fostering a safe learning environment for all of Michigan’s students, teachers, and staff,” said Dr. Tina Kerr, Executive Director, Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators. “We appreciate the collaboration between Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature on this year’s education budget and know our districts around the state will continue to use every resource provided to supplement student learning, improve school safety, fund mental health supports, and help our students grow and thrive.”
The Commission consists of individuals appointed by the Governor and individuals appointed from recommendations by the Senate Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, and Senate Minority Leader. Additionally, designees from the Department of Education, Michigan State Police, and the Department of Health and Human Services will serve as members of the Commission. Appointees will bring a wide-range of experience including mental health treatment, school-threat assessment, law enforcement, parents, and teachers.
The following individuals will serve as members of the School Safety and Mental Health Commission:
Daveda J. Colbert, Ph.D., of Farmington Hills, is the superintendent of the Wayne Regional Education Service Agency. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Administration from Southern University at New Orleans, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Wayne State University, and a Ph.D. in Education from Oakland University. Dr. Colbert is appointed to represent members with a background in school administration. She will serve for a term commencing October 1, 2022, and expiring October 1, 2026.
Patrick R. Green, of New Baltimore, is the marine enforcement officer and reserve police officer for New Baltimore Police Department. He holds an associate’s degree in general studies from Macomb Community College. Mr. Green is appointed to represent members submitted by the Speaker of the House who are parents. He will serve for a term commencing October 1, 2022, and expiring October 1, 2024.
Alyse F. Ley, M.D., of Okemos, is a physician and director for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program at Michigan State University where she also serves as the residency education director for the Department of Psychiatry. She is also an advisor to the National Policing Institute Foundation Center for Mass Violence Response Studies. Dr. Ley holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Doctor of Osteopathology from Michigan State University. Ms. Ley is appointed to represent members with experience in school-threat assessments. She will serve for a term commencing October 1, 2022, and expiring October 1, 2026.
Nasuh Malas, M.D., of Ann Arbor, is a clinical associate professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan. Dr. Malas also serves as the director of the Pediatric Consult and Liaison Psychiatry Service and chief of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Service for the C.S. Mott Children’s and Women’s Hospital. He received his Doctor of Medicine, Master of Public Health, and Bachelor of Science in Medical Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Malas is appointed to represent members with experience in the provision of inpatient treatment to children under age 18. He will serve for a term commencing October 1, 2022, and expiring October 1, 2026.
Jason Russell, of Middleville, is the founder and CEO of Secure Education Consultants, a consulting company that seeks to improve risk management and security within organizations and primarily in school districts. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Western Michigan University and a Master’s in Security Management and Criminal Justice from Michigan State University. Mr. Russell is appointed to represent members submitted by the Speaker of the House with a background in law enforcement. He will serve for a term commencing October 1, 2022, and expiring October 1, 2024.
Jennifer Taiariol, Ph.D., of South Lyon, is the school psychologist and director of student services for Livonia Public Schools. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Master of Arts in School and Community Psychology from Wayne State University. She also holds a Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Western Michigan University. Dr. Tairiol is appointed to represent a member submitted by the Senate Minority Leader who is a school psychologist or psychiatrist. She will serve for a term commencing October 1, 2022, and expiring October 1, 2026.
Rosa M. Thomas, of Milford, is the chief operations officer for Honor Community Health, a non-profit community healthcare center that includes school-based health centers. She holds a bachelor and master’s degree in clinical psychology from Inca Garcilaso De La Vega University in Peru. Ms. Thomas is appointed to represent a member submitted by the House Minority Leader with experience in school mental health. She will serve for a term commencing October 1, 2022, and expiring October 1, 2024.
These appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.