Michelle joined the Ballmer Institute in January 2023 as a courtesy faculty member and serves as the Portland Public Schools Strategic Liaison to the Ballmer Institute (for Children's Behavioral Health). This is a unique role as it serves both Portland Public Schools and the Ballmer Institute. Michelle steps into this critical role to lead the successful integration of the child behavioral health specialist training program into the fabric of PPS schools. The position also provides consultation to central office teams, school teams, families and community members in order to support growth and long term stabilization of this new intensive partnership.
Michelle, a licensed clinical social worker, is a highly respected, thoughtful, and student centered professional who has had the opportunity to refine her skill set through over 20 years of work in K-12 school settings. Prior to her new liaison role, Michelle held the position of Social Worker on Special Assignment in the Department of Student Success & Health where she provides technical support, professional development, and coaching to the growing team of comprehensive school social workers in PPS. Before coming to PPS in 2021, Michelle worked in North Clackamas as a middle school school counselor, and in Hillsboro and Lake Oswego as a behavior specialist. Throughout her career the focus of Michelle’s work has been to dismantle structural inequities that inherently exist in school communities. She is adept at increasing educators' understanding of the impact of trauma and poverty on learning. Her leadership, passion, and advocacy for the development of educational systems, programs, and services to reach historically underserved students are assets that Michelle will bring to her new role leading the partnership between PPS and the Ballmer Institute.