Skip to main content
The PBS on-demand streaming service, WNED PBS Passport, is now available in Canada! Learn More
Bob Ross Paint Night

Back to School: Navigating a New Normal Series | September 29, October 6, and October 13 at 6 pm

Back to School: Navigating a New Normal will be three virtual panel discussions on mental health and wellness resources and student supports on Sept. 29 (elementary and middle school), Oct. 6 (high school), and Oct. 13 (university and higher education) all from 6 - 7 pm.

As part of WBFO’s Mental Health Initiative, Buffalo Toronto Public Media will present a three-part virtual series exploring the stressors and available resources for students, teachers, and faculty returning to in-person classrooms in the fall. Academic transitions present a number of challenges for students, teachers, and parents and these pressures are heightened by new routines under the pandemic. Increased isolation has been difficult for many families, especially children. Effects of the pandemic can be associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression. 

This virtual discussion series will explore topics related to the reintegration of students and faculty into in-person learning. Topics include mental health and behavioral supports in schools, resources for parents, caregivers and families, and support and training for faculty and staff. The panels at each event will offer information on mental health resources and services. Additionally, audience and participant questions will be addressed as time allows.

WBFO’s Mental Health Initiative is funded by the Patrick P. Lee Foundation.

All of the events will be moderated by Dave Debo, WBFO News Director.


Sept. 29 Elementary and Middle School Level:

Jill Glowniak, LCSW, Family Support Center in Amherst Central School District – Jill is a Clinical Social Worker with 20 years experience working with children in mental health. Having 15 years of intense psychiatric experience she changed realms and has been running the Family Support Center in Amherst Central School District for the past 2 years during the COVID pandemic.  Jill also has her own private practice.  Her focus is on helping both youth and families find ways to manage their mental health and thrive. 

Anne Landrigan, M.Sp.Ed., Coordinator for Student Services, Elmwood Village Charter School – Anne received a B.S. in Education from Gannon University in 1993. She has experience with early intervention for children birth to three. Anne taught at St. Peter’s while pursuing her master’s degree in Special Education, which she received in 2000. Anne then worked at Wyndham Lawn (a residential facility in Lockport) working with middle school students. She then went to South Buffalo Charter School as the Special Education Coordinator and Teacher, followed later by Elmwood Village Charter School in 2006. After being a classroom teacher for a few years, Anne became the Student Services Coordinator. Currently, she is the Director and Coordinator for Student Services at the Days Park Campus. Anne also serves on the Exceptional Education Committee at Buffalo State College.

Amanda Robert, Parent - Proud, single mother to three children. One who is in the 1st grade at a city charter school and struggles with ADHD; the other two in a Buffalo public high school.

Oct. 6 High School Level:

Celia Spacone, Ph.D., Suicide Prevention Coalition of Erie County Coordinator - Dr. Spacone earned her bachelor’s degree at SUNY Buffalo State and earned her Master of Education and Ph.D. at the University of Buffalo, where she went on to become a New York State Licensed Psychologist. In 2003, Dr. Spacone was named a Distinguished Alumni by the UB Graduate School of Education and in 2017 was awarded he NYS Suicide Prevention Award. In 2018, Dr. Spacone retired as the Executive Director of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center (BPC), where she enjoyed a 32-year career. Since her retirement from the BPC, she has been appointed as the Coordinator of the Erie County Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Douglas Hahn, Youth Peer Advocate Coordinator, Mental Health Advocates of WNY – Douglas has personal experience in the Mental Health System from the age of 9 when he received multiple mental health diagnosis. In middle school, he received Youth Peer Advocate services which helped change the course of his life to a more positive one. Now 24 years old and a YPA himself, he feels that he can give back to those who may be struggling with mental health as well by encouraging and inspiring hope by sharing his success. 

Peg Barrett, LCSW-R, School Advocate, Mental Health Advocates of WNY – Peg is a licensed Clinical School Social Worker, retired from the Lancaster Central School District, where she worked with students to improve their academic, behavioral and social-emotional needs which would sometimes interfere with their ability to be successful in school. Peg is the past president of the NYS School Social Worker Association and currently the western region representative. She is a former MHA board member and currently serves as a consultant to their participating schools and youth peer programs. Peg supervises the MHA Youth Peers and assists with outreach and presentations to schools regarding mental health and mental well-being for students, faculty, and parents. 

Oct.13 University and Higher Education Level:

Eileen Niland, LMHC (she/her), Counseling Center Director, Canisius College – Eileen is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Director of Counseling at Canisius College for the past 25 years, having worked at Canisius for the past 32 years. Eileen holds a background in Student Affairs Administration and college student mental health, with a Master’s degree in both disciplines. Eileen has special interests in self-compassion and mindfulness practices.

Sarah Young, Buffalo State College – Sarah came to Buffalo State in June 2015 and has served as dean of students since August 2017. She brings a breadth of experience in higher education administration from multiple positions and institutions and serves as the Care Team manager, Title IX deputy coordinator, and supervises the areas of Student Conduct and Community Standards, Residence Life, Student Leadership and Engagement, and Inclusion and Equity. Sarah received her master of arts in community counseling from West Virginia University and her bachelor of arts in European history from Hamilton College.

Jéan Michel Jr., third year law school student - Prior to attending Barry University, in Florida, he received a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, with a minor in Legal Studies, Pre-Law, from Buffalo State College in Buffalo, New York. Jéan’s legal background has been extensive including clerking for a county judge and work at Phillips Lytle, LLP. He has also done some re-entry work with previously incarcerated individuals. After graduation from law school, Jéan hopes to work in corporate litigation focusing on cyber law and cyber securities. Outside of school and work, he sings, plays video games, plays the clarinet and likes to hang out with friends and family.

Virtual Experiences

Back to School: Navigating a New Normal 

September 29, October 6, and October 13

6 pm