Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative
Susan F. Cole
Susan Cole is the director of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI),a joint program of Harvard Law School and the non-profit children’s rights organization Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC). At Harvard she holds a joint appointment as Education Law Clinic Director and Lecturer on Law and is a Senior Project Director at MAC. Ms. Cole’s work is based on research at the intersection of psychology, education and law that links traumatic experiences to a host of learning, relational and behavioral difficulties at school. She oversees TLPI’s work in schools and its representation of families in the Education Law Clinic to inform ongoing policy and educational activities. She holds a J.D from Northeastern University, a Masters in Special Education from the University of Oregon, and a BA from Boston University. Prior to becoming a lawyer she taught in the Watertown MA and Woodstock CT public schools – experiences that continuously inform her current work.
Anne is the Deputy Director of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI). A licensed social worker, she leads the project’s policy work and, along with Joe Ristuccia, its work with educators. The focus of both these efforts is to build and sustain safe and supportive, trauma-sensitive schools. Anne convenes the Safe and Supportive Schools Coalition and serves on the Brockton Trauma Advisory Board, as well as other school and mental health work groups. She also was an active participant in the work of the Behavioral Health and Public Schools Task Force, whose recommendations will be enacted through the pending legislation, An Act Relative to Safe and Supportive Schools.
For 26 years before coming to TLPI, Anne provided and supervised home-based clinical services to families and children impacted by domestic violence, child abuse and neglect. She helped to develop an innovative treatment approach that included care coordination and advocacy along with intensive clinical services. That experience and perspective of maintaining a systemic focus while providing services to individual families are well-aligned with and inform her current work with TLPI.
Anne has a Master’s degree and holds the following licenses: LCSW, LMHC, and LMFT.
Michael Gregory is Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Senior Attorney at TLPI. Along with Susan Cole, Mike co-teaches Harvard’s Education Law Clinic, in which law students represent individual families of traumatized children in the special education system and participate in TLPI’s larger systemic advocacy to create trauma-sensitive schools. Mike has also taught courses in Education Law and Policy and Education Reform Movements. Mike is a co-author of TLPI’s landmark report and policy agenda Helping Traumatized Children Learn, and is also a co-author of Educational Rights of Children Affected by Homelessness and/or Domestic Violence, a manual for child advocates. In 2009, Mike and Susan were named Bellow Scholars by the Association of American Law Schools, in recognition of TLPI’s advocacy for Safe and Supportive Schools legislation in Massachusetts. In 2013, Mike was appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick to serve on the Families and Children Requiring Assistance Advisory Board, a statewide panel that will advise the Commonwealth on the implementation of the reformed CHINS law. He received his JD from Harvard Law School in 2004, graduating cum laude. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in American Civilization from Brown University in 1998, and received a Master of Arts in Teaching, also from Brown University, in 1999. Mike began his work for TLPI in 2004 upon receiving a Skadden Fellowship.
Joel M. Ristuccia is a certified School Psychologist with over twenty-five years experience working in the public schools. Over the last twenty years he has worked with students at risk for failure due to social, emotional and behavioral difficulties. He continues to assist schools and school districts in addressing the needs of these students. Mr. Ristuccia has served as a consultant on the impact of trauma on student learning to the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI) and is a co-author of “Helping Traumatized Children Learn”. Additionally he has consulted to the Department of School Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, presented program model research findings at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), presented for the Departments of Education in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Washington as well as the University of Wisconsin on topics related to the impact of trauma on learning and on the role of trauma in student behaviors that can lead to punitive discipline and school failure. Mr. Ristuccia is an Adjunct Professor at Lesley University teaching courses in developing trauma sensitive school wide, classroom and individual interventions to support all students to be successful in the general education curriculum. Mr. Ristuccia holds an Ed.M. from Harvard University and a B.A. from Yale University.
Marissa del Rosario
Marissa del Rosario is the project coordinator for the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI) at Massachusetts Advocates for Children. Prior to joining the TLPI team, Marissa worked for nineteen years in urban and rural public school districts. She began her career as an elementary school educator in New Orleans, LA and has most recently worked as a school social worker in a leading educational nonprofit in Austin, Texas. Over the years, Marissa has worked extensively with students, parents and school personnel at all levels to help remove barriers to success.
Marissa holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Political Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Alexander Horn is the Program Administrator for the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI). Alexander’s background is in libraries and museums, having worked for six years at Houghton Library, Harvard University’s rare books library. He is excited to continue to support TLPI, and help further the Safe and Supportive Schools Framework. Alexander holds a B.A. in Biology and Psychology, from Dartmouth College.