Dr. Natalie Edirmanasinghe is an assistant professor at Old Dominion University. Before her work as a counselor educator, she was a school counselor. She has worked in a K-8 charter school and middle schools during her seven year career. Her research interests include small group counseling, antiracist school counseling, and advocacy in schools for immigrant families. She has developed small groups in schools using Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR). These groups teach students skills to advocate for themselves using data while also providing a space for educators to learn from the expertise of students on how to address challenges in their school buildings. She is an advocate for the use of student and family voice in the decision-making processes in schools. She recently co-authored a book Culturally Sustaining School Counseling: Implementing Diverse Equitable, Inclusive Programs. The book provides a workbook for practicing school counselors to reflect on how to review their current practices in their programs and revise them to be more culturally sustaining. She lives in Norfolk, VA with her partner, her baby, and her dog.
Dr. Damien Sweeney serves as the Program Coordinator for Comprehensive School Counseling at the Kentucky Department of Education where he works alongside school counselors to equip them with best practices. Sweeney is also an adjunct professor at the University of the Cumberlands and Spalding University. With a passion for change agency and social justice, Dr. Sweeney has served as a special education teacher, English teacher and high school counselor in Jefferson County Public Schools (Louisville, KY). Sweeney holds a Master’s in Teaching Special Education and Secondary English from Bellarmine University along with a Master’s in Education for School Counseling and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Louisville. Dr. Sweeney’s wife is Dr. Abigail Sweeney and they have three boys, Smith, Shawn and Parker.