Hope Squad Team

Hope Squad Team

While it takes a village to raise a child, we believe it takes an entire community to save one.

Those shown below make up only a small part of that community: It includes a passionate Hope Squad team, dedicated mental health expert advisors, a top tier group of researchers, educators, master trainers and individuals like you, who are committed to saving our children and youth.

Hope Squad Team

Dr. Greg Hudnall

Founder / CEO

Dr. Hudnall is a former high school principal, student service director, and associate superintendent with the Provo City School District. In 1999 he created the Hope Community Task Force, focusing on community wide suicide prevention, intervention and postvention. In 2004, Dr. Hudnall and his team created the K-12 school based “peer-to-peer” suicide prevention program now known as Hope Squad. Learn more about Dr. Hudnall at: GregHudnall.com.

Click here to listen to some of the podcasts on which Dr. Hudnall has appeared.

Tam Larnerd

Director of Education & Training

For 27 years, Mr. Tam Larnerd served as a Health Educator, varsity coach, Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, and finally, Principal of Spring Valley High School with the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada.  In 2020, Mr. Larnerd was appointed by Governor Sisolak to serve on his Statewide School Safety Committee.  Additionally, in 2020, Mr. Larnerd was named the Professional Language Association of Nevada’s Administrator of the Year. In August 2021, Mr. Larnerd accepted the position of Hope Squad’s Training Facilitator and is now Director of Education & Training.  In this capacity, he serves as a Master Trainer, onboards new schools, presents at state and national conferences, and supports Hope Squads throughout the country.

Joanne Staheli

Office Manager

Joanne most recently worked with an organization supporting teens in overcoming anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. She is grateful to now work with Hope Squad — to support schools and communities in creating a front-line for suicide prevention, in eradicating the stigma of mental health challenges, and to help our youth receive mental health support.
Joanne is a graduate of Brigham Young University, in Health and Physical Education, with an emphasis in coaching gymnastics. She is active in her church and community, working with many youth groups through the years. She enjoys golfing, being outdoors and spending time with her family. 
Joanne recently worked with teens in a residential treatment program, and has worked with multiple organizations that support youth in overcoming anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Previously she worked for 17 years as administrative assistant with VitalSmarts (now Crucial Learning), a training company focused on improving the world by helping people improve themselves. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a degree in Health and Physical Educations and has worked in secondary schools coaching, as well as teaching physical education and creative dance. Joanne is a busy volunteer with PTA and active in her church and community. She loves singing with the Mapleton Chorale, reading, golf, being outdoors and spending time with her family.

Amber Seddon

Finance | Controller

Amber attended Utah Valley University studying Accounting, and played violin in the College Orchestra, and Utah Valley Symphony. Amber is proud to be be part of a rodeo family, with two bull riders and a daughter that rides steers. She enjoys traveling and going on spontaneous adventures with her family, including camping, fishing, and hiking. When it’s cold outside, Amber loves watching documentaries, reading & crocheting. She has served for many years as a volunteer in youth groups and addiction programs. Having lost close family and friends to suicide and addiction Amber is happy to be a part of Hope Squad.

Evelin Gonzalez

Outreach & Support Specialist

Evelin graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors, receiving a Bachelor of Social Work. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers. As a Hope Squad advisor she facilitated weekly virtual instruction for Hope Squad students and acted as liaison connecting students and households with school and community resources. She promoted the emotional well-being of all students by assisting in the planning and organization of monthly Hope Squad activities. Preparing to be a School Social Worker, Evelin attended regular training with school district social workers. Evelin enjoys being creative in her free time, especially embroidering and painting with watercolors.

Karen Robertus

Support Specialist

Karen desires to make a difference in children’s lives. That desire led her to become a part of Hope Squad. During her 28-year career teaching physical education and health in Las Vegas, Nevada, Karen coached track, volleyball, and cross country, and is passionate about helping her students realize they are a part of something bigger than themselves. In her role with Hope Squad, Karen supports and trains advisors, presents Hope Squad and suicide prevention information to organizations, and provides regional support for local schools.

Stephanie Stewart

Support Specialist

Stephanie is a mother of four and grandmother of ten. She has been an educator for over 25 years, working in both Arizona and Nevada. She was an English teacher for many years, but then earned her M.Ed. in school counseling from American Public University in 2011. She has worked as a counselor at various high schools in the Clark County School District; most recently, she has been a counselor at Coronado High School in Henderson, Nevada, where she served as department chair. She organized a Hope Squad at Coronado HS in 2019 and has served as the lead advisor for the past 3 years. She is currently retired from school counseling, but will be serving Hope Squad as a support specialist. In addition to these responsibilities, Stephanie has served as a Key Club Advisor, Student Council Advisor, and Class Advisor. Stephanie is enthusiastic about the mission of Hope Squad stating, “Hope Squad has made a huge difference at our school. All kids deserve to be seen and heard. Hope Squad has helped to provide that connection for our students.”

Emily Robinson Hurst

Support Specialist

Emily believes in the future and believes students are the future. She has taught at the middle school and high school level in both Michigan, and Austin Texas, which is where she currently resides. She has experienced first hand the need for students to find hope within their schools. Her concern for student mental wellness led her to Hope Squad. In her role with Hope Squad, Emily supports advisors running Hope Squad at their schools.

John McAtee

Marketing • Communications • Technology

John has worked for the past three decades in various industries and companies including two Fortune 500 companies in California where he also spent years volunteering as a youth advisor. He has done volunteer work for Hope Squad for the past decade working with his wife, Ruth, an accomplished educator for 38 years, who started a Hope Squad at the high school where she taught English, Communications, and Psychology. He is honored to work with Hope Squad in bringing Hope to schools, military bases and communities of all types across the continent.

Mental Health Advisors

Hope Squad Mental Health Advisors are volunteers from the mental health community.
They advise on how to expand and improve the Hope Squad program and curriculum.

Dr. Douglas D. Gray, MD

University of Utah • Child Psychologist

As a suicidologist, Dr. Gray studies suicide completers in an attempt to better understand suicide risk factors, and to help develop future suicide prevention programs across the age span. He uses psychological autopsies, genetics and toxicology methods to make inroads to get a better understanding of suicide risk factors. His clinical focus is primarily outpatient and consult-liaison for bipolar disorders.

Dr. Juergen Korbanka, PhD

CEO • Wasatch Mental Health

Dr. Korbanka is a Licensed Psychologist who is an Approved Clinical Supervisor, National Certified Counselor, Designated Examiner, and is a member of the Utah State Crisis Team. He enjoys working with adults with a range of issues, such as: depression and mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, and more severe psychopathologies. He has worked with domestic violence perpetrators and individuals with personality disorders. His research interests include: evidence-based and outcome oriented, time-limited treatment programs, program effectiveness, and treatment efficiency. He has presented at numerous local, state, and national conferences.

Elizabeth Feil, LCSW

Therapist Supervisor • Wasatch Mental Health

Elizabeth Feil, LCSW, is the Therapist Supervisor at the Provo Family Clinic She has been working as a therapist at Wasatch Mental Health since 2002. She is trained in EMDR, Trust-Based Relational Intervention, Crisis Intervention, Motivational Interviewing, Trauma-focused CBT, and the Strengthening Families Program. Elizabeth is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) Practitioner. Elizabeth works primarily with youth ages 11-17 and their families but also has a lot of experience with elementary school aged children, PLUS she speaks Spanish. Elizabeth was very involved in implementing a grant-funded interdisciplinary approach involving Provo School District, Intermountain Health Clinics, and Wasatch Mental Health.

Researchers

Hope Squad Researchers are volunteers from University of Cincinnati, Brigham Young University, and the University of Utah.
They collect and analyze data to inform decisions to expand and improve the Hope Squad program and curriculum.

Dr. Jennifer Wright-Berryman, PhD

Lead Researcher • University of Cincinnati

Dr. Jennifer Wright-Berryman is a tenure-track research professor of Social Work at the University of Cincinnati. She has an extensive background in mental health, serving both adults and children with mental disorders for fifteen years prior to completing her PhD at Indiana University School of Social Work. As part of the Hope Squad team, Jennifer will oversee both research applications and studies. Currently, the Hope Squad research team is developing studies focused on program effectiveness and fidelity measures. If you have questions or ideas regarding Hope Squad research, feel free to contact Jennifer at wrigh2jb@ucmail.uc.edu.

National Educational Advisory Board

Dr. Tanya Fredrich

Assistant Superintendent • Elmbrook Schools • Brookfield Wisconsion

Dr. Fredrich is an Assistant Superintendent in Wisconsin.  She is a graduate of UW Madison School of Education and holds a Masters degrees in Special Education and Administrative Leadership and a Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service.  Dr. Fredrich has worked as a special educator with expertise in Emotional/ Behavioral Disorders and Educational Autism as well as a building principal prior to her current director role. She is the creator of iSummitWisco, an annual conference of over 600 educators, that features national experts in inclusive practices to create systems change in communities across the nation.  She is an adjunct professor at Carroll University, Cardinal Stritch University and University of Wisconsin Eau Claire to promote the next generation of leaders in education.  Dr. Fredrich lives in Oconomowoc, WI with her husband Tom and two children, Zachary (18)  and William (15). 

Tobin Novasio

Superintendent • Lockwood School District • Montana

Tobin Novasio serves as the Superintendent of Lockwood Schools. Mr. Novasio is the Montana Rural Education  Association Vice-President and sits on the AASA Executive Committee. He is the former Montana Association of School Superintendents President. He has been honored by his peers as the Montana Superintendent of the Year in 2016 and as the School Administrators of
Montana 2020 G.V. Erickson Award recipient; the most honored award a school administrator in Montana can receive. Mr. Novasio represents Montana’s K-12 schools on the Montana Early Childhood Advisory Council. Mr. Novasio is supported in his endeavors by his wife Tandi and their children Kane, Kyson and Addi.

Dr. Holly Ferguson

Superintendent • Prosper ISD • Texas

Dr. Holly Ferguson began her teaching career with Prosper ISD in 1998 as an elementary school teacher. She has since served as a campus principal, executive director of curriculum and instruction, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, and, associate superintendent. • After receiving a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s in educational administration from the University of North Texas, Ferguson completed her doctorate in educational leadership at Texas A&M Commerce. • She also worked for Frisco ISD as a teacher, ESL cluster teacher, reading interventionist, and assistant principal. • 
Dr. Ferguson serves proudly on the Hope Squad National Educational Advisory Board. She is a firm believer that opening the conversation and knowledge about the mental health of students, staff, parents, and the community is key in creating a culture of acceptance, understanding within a community. If true change is to occur we must acknowledge that our schools are a microcosm of our community so it is our responsibility as leaders to wrap our arms around all of the need for support and understanding. 

Dr. Ferguson and her husband of 23 years, Frisco Fire Department Captain David Ferguson, are the parents of two children: Cade, a 2020 Prosper High School graduate who now attends the University of Arkansas Sam Walton School of Business, and Ty, who is a sophomore at Prosper High School.

Jonathan Cooper

Superintendent • Mason City Schools • Mason Ohio

Jonathan Cooper is the superintendent of Mason City School district, which is known as one of the top ten high performing, high profile schools in Ohio. His journey to improve students’ mental wellness began after listening to students ask district and school leaders to do more to prevent student suicides. Since then, the district started a Hope Squad at its middle school and high school, invested in a 6-member prevention and wellness team, contracted with a local hospital to provide therapy to students during the school day, and brought therapy dogs to every school in the district. Before being named superintendent, Mr. Cooper was Mason’s Chief Innovation Officer where he led the development of the Mason Experiential Learning Program allowing hundreds of students to participate in a diverse array of authentic learning experiences throughout the greater Cincinnati region. Jonathan and his wife, Michelle, talk to their four kids often about the joy of learning but also the responsibility and privilege to serve the community together as a family. As a leader, Jonathan understands the value of building meaningful relationships through listening, collaborating, and connecting with students, staff, and community. He has adopted a community-sourced leadership and communication style aligning the district direction with community values. This has led us to focus on three key areas which are referred to as the three big rocks: 1) An intentional focus on culture; 2) A deep commitment to inclusive excellence; and 3) personalized learning.

The Board of Directors

The Hope Squad Board is made up of the Hudnall Family.
As the founder, Dr. Hudnall has worked hard to involve the family in a variety of opportunities to serve others.