Keynote speakers

We are please to announce the following keynote speakers. Further keynotes still to be announced.

Mathew Portell
Fall-Hamilton Elementary, USA

Mathew Portell has worked as a teacher, instructional coach, teacher mentor, and school administrator in all three tiers of elementary, middle, and high school in the U. S.

In his seventh year as principal of Fall-Hamilton Elementary, he leads an internationally recognized innovative model school for trauma-informed practices in Metro Nashville Public Schools. The school’s work has been featured on National Public Radio, PBS, the documentary “#Enough,” and the Edutopia website, with over 7 million views.

Mathew has had the honour of presenting Fall-Hamilton’s work to state and national legislators and has spoken to some of the nation’s most influential educators who serve on the National Commission of Social, Emotional, and Academic Development.

Mathew is the founder of the Trauma Informed Educators Network, with an active Facebook group and a podcast where educators and practitioners from around the globe share their own trauma-informed journeys.

Mathew regularly presents at national and international conferences. The highlight of his speaking opportunities occurred in February 2020 when he was a featured speaker at the National Education Foundation Association's Teacher Gala in Washington, D.C, an event designed to honour and inspire the country’s top educators.

Just this year, he was named the Nashville Public School’s Elementary Principal of the Year!

Dr Lori Desautels
Butler University, USA

Prior to her academic career, Dr. Lori Desautels taught emotionally troubled students in the upper elementary grades, worked as a school counsellor in Indianapolis, was a private practice counsellor and was co- owner of the Indianapolis Counselling Centre. Lori was also a behavioural consultant for Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on the adolescent psychiatric unit where she learned that emotional and mental illness can be so challenging for youth, but the brain can repair and heal, and resilience rests at the core of human nature and our well-being.

Lori was Assistant Professor at Marian University in Indianapolis for eight years before moving to Butler University in 2016 where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Education in Educational Neuroscience and Trauma.

Lori’s courses are designed to meet the needs of educators, counsellors, and administrators who work beside children and adolescents who have experienced or continue to experience adversity and trauma. Her passion is engaging students through the application of neuroscience as it applies to attachment, regulation, and educator brain state, and teaching students and staff about their neuroanatomy.
Lori has conducted brain institutes and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, and Dubai on Mind Brain Teaching and Learning. She has created webinars for educators, clinicians, and administrators illustrating how educators and students alike must understand their neuroanatomy to regulate behaviour and calm the brain. Lori founded the Educational Neuroscience Symposium, an annual conference that attracts the foremost experts in the fields of educational neuroscience, trauma and adversity.

You can find Lori’s work, presentation videos, and latest research and resources on her website Lori is widely published, including her four books, “How May I Serve You”, “Unwritten, The Story of a Living System,” “Eyes Are Never Quiet,” and “Connections over Compliance: Rewiring Our Perception of Discipline”.

Professor Helen Milroy
Telethon Kids Institute, Australia

Professor Helen Milroy was Australia's first Indigenous doctor and is now a highly regarded expert in child and adolescent psychiatry. Professor Milroy has been a pioneer in research, education and training in Aboriginal and child mental health, and recovery from grief and trauma.

Her work and research interests include holistic medicine, child mental health, recovery from trauma and grief, application of indigenous knowledge, Aboriginal health and mental health, and developing and supporting the Aboriginal and medical workforce in applying Indigenous knowledge and cultural models of care.

Professor Milroy is the Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health at the University of Western Australia and an Honorary Research Fellow at Telethon Kids Institute. She has been on state and national mental health advisory committees and boards with a focus on the wellbeing of children. She was a commissioner for the Australian Government's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse from 2013-2017.

Professor Milroy received the Australian Indigenous Doctor of the Year Award in 2018, was joint winner of the 2020 Australian Mental Health Prize and is the Western Australia 2021 Australian of the Year.

A talented artist and published author, Helen’s books have been shortlisted for several major awards.

Dr Emily Berger
Monash University, Australia

Dr Emily Berger is an Australian researcher who specialises in the areas of childhood trauma, trauma-informed practice, disasters and rural health, suicide and self-injury, child and youth mental illness, and teacher professional development. She is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Educational Psychology and Counselling, Faculty of Education, Monash University, and an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow with Monash’s School of Rural Health, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.

Dr Berger is a Registered and Endorsed Educational and Developmental Psychologist and Board-Approved Supervisor with the Psychology Board of Australia. She has worked as a child, adolescent and family psychologist in schools and private clinic settings. For over 12 years as an academic and psychologist, Dr Berger has maintained collaborative partnerships across various educational settings, not-for-profit organisations, government departments and community groups.

Dr Tom Brunzell
Berry Street, Australia

Dr Tom Brunzell (MST, EdM, PhD) has experience as a teacher, school leader, researcher and education advisor. Currently he is the Director of Education at Berry Street and Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Tom presents internationally on topics of transforming school culture, student engagement, trauma-aware practice, wellbeing and positive psychology, and effective school leadership. His research at the University of Melbourne investigates trauma-informed wellbeing classroom strategies; and both the negative impacts of secondary traumatic stress and the positive impacts of wellbeing on teachers and leaders working towards educational equity in their communities. His new book: Creating Trauma-informed Strengths Based Classrooms, co-authored with Dr Jacolyn Norrish, is now available through Hachette/Jessica Kingsley Publishers, UK, and booksellers world-wide.