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Government and Professional Relations (GPR) Committee

The mission of the Government and Professional Relations (GPR) Committee is to increase CSSP’s statewide policy presence through legislative advocacy, public policy development, and grassroots advocacy efforts. In collaboration with our government liaison, this nine member committee works with state legislators and other regulatory agencies to advocate for enhancements within our profession. Our work is rooted in best practices and motivated by the children, families, and educators with which we serve.

Benjamin Ellis

GPR Committee Chair

Ben has been the GPR chair since Summer of 2022. He is currently a school psychologist in the Weld RE-3J School District and formerly Stellar Elementary in Adams 12 and Scott Carpenter Middle School in the Westminster Public Schools. He has had an interest in law, politics and public policy most of his adult life, having worked as a campaign coordinator for a state representative as his first job out of college. Among other policy priorities, Ben believes that the education system has a lot more it needs to do to serve families of color and that IDEA could use revisions to focus less on labels and more on getting services and protections to those who need them, regardless of socially constructed disability criteria. In his free time, Ben enjoys road biking, hiking, kayaking and the occasional road trip when circumstances permit.

Heather Travis

Legislative Chair

Dr. Heather Travis is a School Psychologist in the Cherry Creek School District. She has conducted research on the LGBTQ+ supports available in K-12 schools and the barriers to the implementation of supports. She proudly participated as a board member working to build and further the efforts of the Global Majority Collective, a student-led organization of the University of Colorado Denver (UCD) designed to empower students from racial or ethnic minoritized groups in the UCD Doctoral School Psychology program. Dr. Travis is passionate about building inclusive communities, supporting minoritized populations, as well as advocating for and furthering the field of school psychology.

Michael Chevrier

GPR Committee Member

Michael currently works as a school psychologist for Jefferson County Public Schools with previous experience in crisis intervention and community mental health. He has a special interest in suicide prevention and crisis response practices in schools. Michael has testified at the Capitol on behalf of CSSP in support of increased funding for suicide prevention. He was initially drawn to the intersection of mental health and education while working for the Colorado Department of Education and running mental health and prevention trainings for schools across the state. Outside of his professional interests, Michael enjoys hiking, traveling, and reading a good book.

Leigh Williams
GPR Committee Member

Leigh Williams, MA, Ed. S, NCSP, LPC, NCC, CCMHC has twenty-five years of mental health experience. She started out working as a therapist with Aurora Mental Health and later worked for the Denver Department of Human Services as an adolescent social caseworker. She has worked for the Cherry Creek School District for 18 years. She has worked as a middle school psychologist, high school psychologist, mental health coordinator, elementary special education coordinator, secondary special education coordinator, gifted/talented coordinator, and director of clinical training and school support. She currently serves as a special education mental health director.  Leigh is also the Multicultural Affairs Committee chair for NASP.  She is dually certified as she is a licensed professional counselor and school psychologist. Leigh is passionate about school psychology and mental health.

Jessica Peña

Student Committee Member

Jessica Peña, M.Ed is an education professional striving toward equitable experiences for students and providers. Jessica is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in School Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado and serves on UNC’s School Psychology Student Organization as the Ph.D. Representative. Jessica is an active member of the APA Division 16 School Safety Task Force. Jessica’s experience in community mental health and as an educator in an urban school district is guiding her current research that focuses on improving physical and psychological safety for K-12 students. In her free time, she enjoys weightlifting, reading, walking her dogs, and exploring new restaurants and coffee shops with her spouse.

Emma  is the Owner and Principal of Emma Hudson Consulting, LLC, a mission- focused communications and public affairs firm. Emma's background spans nonprofit and government experience as an advocate and a government relations strategist with specialization in health care, business, and social justice policy arenas. With a decade of experience lobbying at the state level, Emma’s work harnesses the combined power of storytelling, visual data demonstration, and relationship-building to advance even the most complex policy goals. In these roles and as a contract lobbyist, Emma has spent years learning the ins and outs of state policy work, with special concentration in non-profit advocacy and state budget impacts on special populations. Emma holds a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin-La Follette School of Public Affairs and a Master of Public Health from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.

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