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Chris L.

Senior Clinical Director
Neil Hellman School

Joined in 2009

Prior Positions Held

  • School Psychologist and CSE (Committee on Special Education) Chairperson, Neil Hellman School and the School at Northeast, Northern Rivers
  • Clinician, Community Living Program and Child Guidance Clinic, Northeast Parent & Child
  • Clinical Intern, Northeast Parent & Child

    Career Highlights

    • Chris started at Northern Rivers’ Northeast affiliate as a clinician; he has been promoted more than once, including to his current position as senior clinical director.
    • In his time as senior clinical director, Chris has restructured the clinical side of the Neil Hellman School to offer more internal advancement opportunities.
    • The intern program has been reinstated under Chris' leadership; he notes that interns gain valuable experience and might one day become staff members. 

      Chris L. came to Northern Rivers as a clinical intern. “I had a practicum placement,” he says, while he worked on his master’s in mental health counseling, “and I never left.” He credits his Northern Rivers mentors as a crucial part in his staying, plus “every step on the journey here has been positive.” Now, as senior clinical director at the Neil Hellman School, he focuses on sustaining a more inclusive and collaborative culture across the school’s educational and clinical teams. And he also provides clinical services for a small group of students.

      In 2009, Chris started at Northeast Parent & Child Society as a clinical intern and then became a clinician for the community living program and child guidance clinic. He then became a school psychologist and chair of the committee on special education for the Neil Hellman School and the School at Northeast for Northern Rivers in 2018. He moved into his current position in 2022. Of his shift away from doing just clinical work, he says he felt that the director role would give him even the ability to impact even more students through helping the school’s clinicians to grow in their skills. 

      When he began as senior clinical director, Chris recalls, he needed to fill several clinical positions. Looking past the challenges of the staffing situation, he saw opportunities to restructure the clinical roles in order to provide additional internal advancement and reinstate an intern program. Interns gain important experience, he notes, and they might become full-time staffers one day.

      Chris strives to be a mentor for his staff and to be accessible—he has an open-door policy—whenever and wherever he is needed. There is also flexibility, as long as the work gets done, to accommodate life’s needs outside work. When he recently needed to be out for sick family members, he notes, the staff covered for him. Another time, when top educational administrators were out at the same time, he was principal for a day.

      “We are professionals working with professionals on behalf of kids. We are mission-driven, professionally focused collaborators.” And the kids are the beneficiaries.

      As Chris has been able to grow professionally at Northern Rivers with SATRI training, he encourages the same for his staff, whom he supports and celebrates wherever possible. During his years at Northern Rivers, he also has completed a master’s in educational psychology, a certificate of advanced study in school psychology, and work toward his doctorate. 

      “This is a tough job,” Chris says; the students have serious challenges. And while he could make more money elsewhere, he stays. “I’ve been blessed in many ways.”  He summarizes in this way, “we are professionals working with professionals on behalf of kids. We are mission-driven, professionally focused collaborators.” And the kids are the beneficiaries.

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