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College of Arts & Sciences
School Behavioral Health Team


Previous Team Members

Elaine Miller, M.A.T., earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching (Special Education) at the University of South Carolina with a concentration in Emotional and Behavioral Disorders in 2008 and a B.A. in Psychology in 2004. Elaine was the study coordinator for the Project About School Safety, funded by the National Institute of Justice. Additionally, she managed the School Behavioral Health Team and oversaw the administration of our grants. Elaine's primary interests include evidence-based interventions for students with emotional and behavioral disorders, improving the quality of individualized education plans and applied behavior analysis. Elaine is currently a registered behavior therapist and is pursuing board certification as a Behavior Analyst.


Leo Draham, Psy.D., earned his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA in 2017.  He joined the School Behavior Health Team in September 2017 as a Research Postdoctoral Fellow. Leo is also working at the Autism Academy of South Carolina providing therapy and assessment services for children and their families. He is currently working towards licensure in Clinical Psychology. Prior to his work in South Carolina, he worked at an outpatient mental health clinic providing therapy and assessment services to a broad range of clients and presentations. His research interests include school behavior health program evaluation and engagement, as well as emerging adulthood.


Liz Miranda-Needham, LMSW, joined the School Behavioral Health Team in July 2017 as Project Coordinator for work supporting collaboration between SBHT and South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH).  Liz also works with adolescents as a school-based mental health counselor with SCDMH. Liz earned a M.S.W. with a concentration in mental health from the School of Social Work at the University of Washington in Seattle in 2016.  Her interests include the intersection of social justice and behavioral health services and promoting evidence-based practices in school-based mental health services. She is currently pursuing LISW-CP licensure and credentialing as a MAP Therapist.


Hannah Hunsaker, is a senior at the University of South Carolina working on her B.S. in Biological Sciences with a minor in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior. After graduation her plan is to go to graduate school for Public Health or Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior with a focus on nutrition. Hannah assisted the SBHT with various research projects and aided in planning and preparation for the annual Southeastern School Behavioral Health Conference.


Ashley Quell, M.Ed., is a Research Associate on the School Behavioral Health Team. She received both her bachelor's and master's degrees in special education from Vanderbilt University in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Her research interests include universal screening, interconnecting PBIS and school mental health, and high quality professional development training on evidence-based practices.


Lee Fletcher, M.Div., LMSW, finished his Master of Social Work degree in 2015 and joined the SBHT in January of 2016. During the first part of the year, Lee was heavily involved in the planning and administration of the annual South Carolina School Behavioral Health Conference. In addition to ground level conference management efforts, he was also tasked with participant recruitment, event logistics, and financial management. He utilized his experience from his previous career as a management technology consultant to build the SCSBHC website and streamline much of the communication processes.  Lee joined the team in hopes of gaining a more broad experience in adolescent mental health diagnosis and treatment – a continuation of his work as longtime youth pastor.


Allison Farrell, MPH, LISW-CP, ACM, joined the School Behavioral Health Team in May of 2016 as Project Coordinator for Carolina CARES: Strong Students, Safe Schools, a school-based mental health initiative focused on building resilience among children in 12 elementary schools in the SC Pee Dee region. Prior to joining the SBHT, Allison worked on the evaluation team for the New York City Asthma Initiative and Project ACCESS, a multi-city campaign using social marketing to identify and link to care HIV infected youth. From 2010-2016, Allison worked as a Medical Social Work Case Manager in the Emergency Department of a Level 1 Trauma Center serving adults and children from 17 counties in South Carolina. She earned a M.P.H. from New York University in 2000 and a M.S.W. from the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina in 2010. Allison completed The Interdisciplinary Educational Specialization in End-of-Life Care program, a Duke Endowment Fellowship with Winthrop University in 2010. She is an Accredited Case Manager (ACM) and a Licensed Independent Social Worker - Clinical Practitioner (LISW-CP).


David Riddle, B.A., graduated with a B.A. in Experimental Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina in May 2014. He became involved with the SMHT in May 2013 as a summer volunteer and later as a student through PSYC 498: Advanced Independent. He then went on to become a full-time Research Assistant in the Summer of 2014. David assisted with lab managerial tasks, data management, and was heavily involved with the CARS and R01 projects as well as other various tasks within the lab. He also served as the team leader for the SMHT’s sections of PSYC 498: Advanced Independent Study and PSYC 598: Individual Research. Prior to becoming a member of the SMHT, David worked at the Early Autism Project where he provided ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy as an Advanced Line Therapist for two years. David continues to work for EAP part-time in a more advanced role as a Lead Therapist; a role in which he provides supervision to entry level therapists. David is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in School Psychology.


Katie Faerber, B.A., graduated with a B.A. in Experimental Psychology and a minor in Education from the University of South Carolina in December 2013. She became involved with the SMH Team in August 2012 through PSYC 498 and progressed to a research assistant in Fall 2013. Katie assisted in lab managerial tasks and was a Team Leader for PSYC 498 for Fall 2013 and for PSYC 589 during the Spring 2014 semester. She was also a team member for the South Carolina School Behavioral Health Community Conference which took place in Columbia in April, 2014. Her current goals are to pursue a Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy and work in Pediatrics for cognitive and motor skills development as well as self-esteem and motivation improvement. 


Kirstie Hewson, B.A., received her B.A. in Experimental Psychology with a minor in Sociology with Honors from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina in May 2013. After joing the SMH Team in 2011, she became a research assistant; her primary involvement was with the R01 Strengthening School Mental Health Services project and also worked on the CLIMB program.  Her research interests include the impact of physical activity on cognitive, social, and emotional development, as well as the implementation and evaluation of after-school programs and school-based health behavior interventions. She left the USC SMHT in August 2013 to pursue her Ph.D. in Education at the University of California, Irvine with a specialization in Learning, Cognition, and Development. 


Rachel Williamson, B.A., received her B.A. in Experimental Psychology with a minor in Counseling at the University for South Carolina in December 2012. She joined the SMH Team in August 2011 as an undergraduate researcher and continued to work with the team until July 2013. Rachel is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Georgia in Industrial Organizational Psychology. Her research interests include the use of organizational test and survey scores and applying psychometric theory.


Kelly Monahan, B.A., graduated with a B.A. in Experimental Psychology with a minor in Sociology from the University of South Carolina in May 2013. She became involved with the SMH Team through PSYC 498 in August 2011 and transitioned into an undergraduate research assistant position serving as a PSYC 498 Team Leader and USC’s CARS Data Coordinator in August 2012. Kelly worked as a research assistant and was involved with CARS in addition to the R01 and SEED projects and is a PSYC 498 Team Leader in Fall 2013 and for PSYC 589 during the Spring 2014 semester. Her primary research interests include changing school climate and School Mental Health intervention and services related to high school dropout prevention.


Kendra DeLoach-McCutcheon, Ph.D., earned her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of South Carolina. She is a former postdoctoral fellow at the University of South Carolina with the School Mental Health Team and Team Leader for the CARS project. Dr. DeLoach-McCutcheon is now an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Syracuse University.


Leslie Taylor, Ph.D., earned her Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of New Orleans with a minor in Clinical Interventions. She is a former postdoctoral fellow in School Mental Health at the University of South Carolina with the Team and is particularly interested in universal screening in schools to identify trauma in students.


Johnathan Fowler, Ph.D., earned his Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Texas - Austin. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of South Carolina with the School Mental Health Team and worked at the Myrtle Beach site.


Melissa R.W. George, Ph.D., served as the Undergraduate Program Director and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Carolina. She is an adjunct faculty member in the College of Social Work at USC. She received a Ph.D in Developmental Psychology from the University of Notre Dame in January 2011 and a B.S. in Psychology from Stetson University. Melissa’s research and teaching interests include: family systems and child development; evidence-based, mental health interventions and services in schools; and integrated approaches to supporting youth physical and mental health. She is a co-leader of the Carolina Network for School Mental Health, a cross-state collaborative of researchers, practitioners, educators, and local leaders in mental health. With the USC SMH team, she was involved in the CLIMB, CARS, and SEED projects, as well as CARS and R01 sub-studies, and projects associated with understanding youth and family involvement in SMH. Melissa is also certified by the National Council on Family Relations as a Family Life Educator to promote healthy family functioning within a family systems perspective and provide a primarily preventive approach that focuses on education and collaboration with families.


Joni Williams Splett, Ph.D., served as a postdoctoral fellow in the University of South Carolina Department of Psychology and works part-time as a School Psychologist in Richland School District Two. She received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Missouri in May 2012 and B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Spanish from the University of Arkansas. Joni joined the SMH Team in August 2011 as a pre-doctoral intern. Her research interests include: school mental health prevention and intervention practices related to aggression, mood disorders, and system practices to support effective and sustainable implementation. Joni was a Steering Team member of the South Carolina School Behavioral Health Coalition and was involved in the SEED project, efforts related to School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports, and other related projects. She also teaches an advanced school-based practicum class for school and clinical-community psychology graduate students. Joni is also co-chair of the School Intervention Interest Group (Society for Community Research in Action, APA Division 27) and co-editor of The Community Psychology School Intervention Interest Group Column.


Theresa Oniffrey, MPH, joined the SMHT as program manager in early 2015. She oversaw the financial and administrative aspects for all grants and funded projects for the team, as well as worked to develop the infrastructure of the SMHT. To support the sustainability of the lab, she was involved in writing grant applications, and seeking resources that align with the mission of the SMHT. Theresa earned her Masters of Public Health at the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health. Her undergraduate studies were completed at North Carolina State University, receiving her Zoology B.S. and Animal Science B.S. degrees. She also has a background in pre-hospital emergency medicine, and maintains licensure as a paramedic (EMT-P), and national AHA certification in advanced cardiac life-support (ACLS).