Evidence-Based Learning, Teaching & Leading

Susan Tarasevich Learning

Welcome and thank you for your interest in our website. I’ve been an educator for decades and am passionate about empowering students of every age to love learning, and lead flourishing, resilient lives. A former classroom teacher, school counselor, and administrator, I know you need actionable strategies that actually work.


At Susan Tarasevich Learning, we integrate brain science with practical, trauma-sensitive classroom and school-wide strategies that educators and school leaders can confidently implement and get positive results.


Yes, it is possible to change your brain, reduce stress, educate, and lead more successfully with focused energy, looking forward to each new day.


Check out our webinars, resources and freebies that are updated often.


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Trainers:  coming soon, you can purchase existing POWERPOINT presentations to help you provide energizing and relevant PD to your staff.


No doubt you are facing numerous school challenges.

Lots of people just like you have found ideas and solutions with Susan Tarasevich Learning.  Check out our webinars, in-person training, resources, and signup for our email list to receive updates and resources.

Professional Development Workshops, Keynote Addresses, Consulting, Program Evaluation and Coaching for:

  • Educators
  • School and District Administrators
  • Teams
  • Social Workers
  • Child-Serving Leaders
  • Human Services Professionals
  • School Counselors
  • School Psychologists
  • Parents

Dr. Susan Tarasevich

Dr. Susan Tarasevich is committed to life-long learning, convinced that knowledge is power.   

With significant experience delivering both vibrant online education and engaging in-person workshops, Susan is passionate about empowering professionals with the understanding and skills to nurture growth and build resilience in students.   A few specialty areas include: 

  • Trauma-Informed Educational Practices for Classroom Teachers
  • Building and Sustaining a Trauma-Informed Integrated Framework in Schools
  • SAP and PBIS training and technical support
  • Local, state, regional, and national work in designing implementing, and evaluating school behavioral health programs

Susan holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Science in School Counseling from Duquesne University, and a BA in Biology from Seton Hill University.  She has co-authored two books: Promoting Child and Adolescent Mental Health (Jones and Bartlett) and Caring in Times of Crisis (Youthlight). A third publication, in press, D. Dawes, K. Holden, & D. Williams (Editors) (2023) Health Equity, African-Americans, and Public Health.  American Public Health Association Press in the chapter Woodard, C., Tarasevich. S.& Fertman, C. (2023). Improving Black Student School Mental Health Service Access and Utilization.


  • American School Counseling Association, Trauma and Crisis Specialist (in-process)
  • Approved Independent Facilitator Pennsylvania Network for Positive Behavioral Support
  • Approved Lead Trainer Pennsylvania Network for Student Assistance Services

Training & Workshops

Professional Development Workshops, Keynote Addresses, Consulting, Program Evaluation and Coaching for:

  • Educators
  • School and District Administrators
  • Teams
  • Social Workers
  • Child-Serving Leaders
  • Human Services Professionals
  • School Counselors
  • School Psychologists
  • Parents
From Reticent to Responsive: The Trauma Sensitive Teacher

Teachers have long been the caring adults that see the hidden potential a student holds. and discover ways to empower them to build competency and resilience.  This dynamic workshop provides staff with a working knowledge of the effects of trauma on youth development, the ways in which trauma presents itself in school as well as the practical no-nonsense tools for viewing and managing student behavior.

The session is highly engaging and hopeful!  You’ll begin by understanding your ethical responsibility as self-care and learn how the survival brain automatically responds to a perceived threat, and how to help all students universally regulate so their learning brain can engage.    The truth is trauma sensitive classroom management is do-able and can be fun!  Moreover, school climate improves, and teachers can spend more time on instruction.

No PD changes behavior unless there is a strong plan for transfer to everyday practice.  Staff will take away many concrete strategies that transfer into daily practice as well as a highly effective plan for monitoring and supporting small changes every day.   Most importantly, educators and students can have a great year, every year.

  • 60-90 minute Getting Started Webinar
  • Three-hour initial virtual or in-person training
  • A series of asynchronous “Pop- PD” webinars or in person workshops
  • Subsequent boosters for faculty meetings, PLCs and more!
The Trauma Sensitive Leader: Building Systems for Trauma Responsive Practices

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, steam-roller challenges have been the norm for educators.  Leaders struggle with unprecedented student and staff mental health needs.  There are solutions.  Let us help you build and refine the systems of support, practices and data that drive action and improved  decision making.


  • 30-minute consultation to determine initial needs
  • Full readiness assessment and baseline fidelity measures
  • Ongoing consultation designed to assess, implement, and monitor fidelity of implementation of the PBIS model
  • Integration of initiatives – PBIS/MTSS, SAP, SEL, Trauma, Belonging and Equity
Evaluating Your School-Based Behavioral Health Systems of Support

Amid the escalating challenges and demands on schools, a comprehensive system of behavioral health supports is not a luxury, it is a necessity.  Your success depends on utilizing resources efficiently, identifying areas of strength and growth, then taking little actions to create improved outcomes. Using implementation science, let’s work to improve your program by increasing knowledge which impacts small changes in practice.

Let’s work collaboratively to assess both quantitatively and qualitatively the impact of your program, and communicate the lessons learned, turning data into decisions that drive improvement. Our process determines your needs, identifies an approach, creates tools, collects, and analyzes data, and uses the results to support decision-making.

Download PDF Brochure

Call for details and a proposal

Piecing Together the Puzzle of Substance Misuse and the Adolescent Brain

The adolescent brain is a miracle of nature in its innate developmental process.  Not fully mature until the mid-20’s. Growing brains are also more vulnerable than the brains of adults to damage from external effects like psychoactive substances. This means substance use during the teen years generates a distinctive risk for immediate and lasting harm.  Included in this state-of-the-science workshop

  • How to Talk so Kids will Listen
  • The Effects of Alcohol on the Adolescent Brain
  • “Toxic” Marijuana & the Adolescent Brain – Here’s the Evidence
  • Vaping Primer for Non-Vapers & How to Help
  • Of Opiates, OTC’s Synthetics OH MY! 
  • Behavioral addictions – are they for real?



  • 60-90 min. ”Get Started” Webinar
  • Half day (3 hr.) Webinar, Substance Misuse and Adolescent Brain
  • Full Day (6 hr.) In-person or webinar, Responding to Substance Misuse in Adolescents


Staff depart with a sound understanding of the science as well as actionable strategies for talking with teens, parents, and staff about substance use.  The evidence continues to mount demonstrating the sizable risk early substance misuse has on the teen brain. Let’s talk strategies for connecting and communicating with children and adolescents about substances so they will listen. 

If you are concerned about a teen’s misuse, we will discuss the first, second, and third steps to helping someone access assistance.  The session will end with a concise, easy-to-implement plan for providing sound information to staff, students and families as well as tons of resources for substance use prevention that works.

Looking for a Leading Consultant on School Improvement?

Onsite training and consulting for schools faced with trauma, poverty & behavioral health challenges are available.



Reviews and Comments on Susan Tarasevich Trainings and Workshops

“I found Dr. Tarasevich’s presentation on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and the different forms of trauma that children experience to be extraordinarily insightful and enlightening.  Comprehensively researched, her investigation into the impact that adverse experiences have on children and her recommendations for how educators can recognize these factors and work to overcome them was both practical and achievable.  By continuing to learn about how adverse childhood experiences impact a child’s brain, we can create more equitable strategies and treatment for our students.”

Michael Perrott M.Ed., NCC, NCSC, LPC

Middle School Counselor, Counseling Department Chair, South Fayette School District

Bridgeville, PA 

“Dr. Susan Tarasevich is outstanding to work with! We have been working with her for a few years to build and implement our Trauma-Informed Education plan. She has developed an excellent rapport with the staff through all facets of professional development done around trauma and we consider her a valued partner. Susan is engaging, knowledgeable, and understands what educators are dealing with in schools every day. She is driven and holds everyone accountable but is still flexible despite all of the COVID- related challenges. Susan utilizes multiple data sources to empower us to make more targeted decisions and create sustainable, interconnected systems to support our students, families, and staff.”

Bobbi-Ann Barnes, Assistant Superintendent Deer Lakes School District

Cheswick, PA

“We asked Dr. Susan Tarasevich to join us on our journey in becoming a Trauma-Sensitive school. She was engaging and understanding. She immediately took the time to understand our school context and defined that as our starting point. She provided learning opportunities in a professional development atmosphere, as well as, provided tools for our faculty to embed and practice in and out of the classroom. We studied the outcomes of those practices that were embedded in our day-to-day work. This allowed us to continually measure our readiness as a faculty. 

I would highly recommend, Dr. Susan Tarasevich, to any school who is looking to improve on their school culture or a school who has intentions on starting on the trauma-sensitive approach journey. She put in significant time learning about our school and studying data from all the various tools we used. She used this data to design her next presentation for our faculty. She has made a significant impact on our school and it’s growth.”

Matthew Nelson, H.S. Principal

Keystone Charter School

“Susan is a dynamic, knowledgeable consultant that has done wonders for our behavioral health programming. Pulled from years of experience as a former teacher, school counselor, and administrator, as well as trainer for Pennsylvania Department of Education’s SAP program, Susan offers a personalized approach to help you succeed. She takes time and care to get to know you and your program and deliver research-based recommendations for improvement that are task-oriented and obtainable. I highly recommend Susan for both training and consulting purposes.”

Carrie Woodard, MA, NCC, NCSC

Pittsburgh, PA

“Under Dr. Tarasevich’s leadership, our high school has received recognition at the state level for fidelity across all three tiers of PBIS. She is a relentless advocate for children-with strong core values around honesty, compassion, and equity. Dr. Tarasevich will bring a refreshing perspective to your team as you engage in meaningful professional development.  Without reservation, I highly recommend Dr. Tarasevich to your organization or school system”.

Michael Routh, Principal

Elizabeth Forward High School, Elizabeth Forward School District

Elizabeth, PA

“Dr. Tarasevich is a highly sought-after workshop presenter for our Annual Child and Adolescent Mental Health Conference. Attendees found her workshop, “Inside the Adolescent Brain,” to be extremely informative and engaging. More importantly, they left the workshop equipped with effective tips and tools to talk with young people with regard to substance misuse. These conversations can be difficult, but Dr. Tarasevich prepares the learner to better understand the developing adolescent brain and how drug use may complicate specific challenges that adolescents encounter. I would personally recommend Dr. Tarasevich to any organization that has an investment in today’s youth.”

Susan Caban, Director of Education, NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania


Publication Credits

  • Woodard, C., Tarasevich. S.& Fertman, C. (2022). Improving Black Student School Mental Health Service Access and Utilization. In D. Dawes, K.Holden and D. Williams. Health Equity, African-Americans, and Public Health.  American Public Health Association Press. (In press) 
  • Fertman, C., Delgado, M., & Tarasevich, S. (2014). Promoting Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Sudbury, MA. Jones and Bartlett Publishers http://www.jblearning.com/catalog/9781449658991/ 
  • Fertman, C. Fichter-DeSando, C. & Tarasevich, S. (2005). Getting the feedback, you need and want to improve Student Assistance Program performance. Student Assistance Program Journal. 17(2), 16- 20.
  • Fertman, C. & Tarasevich, S. (2004). How Schools Address Students’ Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Concerns and Problems: Lessons from Student Assistance Programs. ERS Spectrum: Journal of School Research and Information. 22(2): 35-46. 
  • Fertman, C., Tarasevich, S. & Hepler, N. (2003). Retrospective Analysis of the Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program Outcome Data: Implications for Practice and Research. National Student Assistance Association: www.nsaa.us. 
  • Tarasevich, S.L. and Fertman, C.I. (2002). An Evaluation of the Pittsburgh Public Schools Student Assistance Program. Report Submitted to the Board of Public Education, Pittsburgh, PA. 
  • Fertman, C.I. Fichter, C.M., Schlesinger, J.A., Tarasevich, S.L., Wald, H.P. and Zhang, X.Y. (2001). Evaluating the Effectiveness of Student Assistance Programs in Pennsylvania. Journal of Drug Education. 
  • Tarasevich, S.L. (2001). A Study of the Relationship Between Student Assistance Process and Outcomes. Dissertation: University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA. 
  • Dreshman, J.L., Crabb, C.I. and Tarasevich, S.L. (2000). Caring in Times of Crisis: A Crisis Response Manual for Administrators, Educators, and Student Assistance Team Members. Columbia, SC. YouthLight Publishing Company. 
  • Tarasevich, S.L. and Paesani, S. (2000, September/October). From Time in the Seat to a Competency-Based Training System for Pennsylvania’s Student Assistance Teams. Student Assistance Journal. 
  • Fertman, C.I., Fichter, C.M., Schlesinger, J.A., Tarasevich, S.L., Wald, H.P. and Zhang, X.Y. (2000). An Evaluation of Student Assistance Programs in Pennsylvania. Report submitted to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. 
  • Fertman, C.I., Fichter, C.M., Schlesinger, J.A., Tarasevich, S.L., Wald, H.P. and Zhang, X.Y. (1999). Year Two Evaluation of Student Assistance Programs in Pennsylvania. Report submitted to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. 
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