Higgins, Mary, Ph.D.
Practicum and Internship Coordinator
Dr. Mary Higgins earned her B.S. in Elementary Education from Messiah College, her M.Ed. in Instructional Accommodations from Francis Marion University, and her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Higgins started her teaching career as a third-grade teacher in South Carolina and transitioned into an instructional coaching role. During her doctoral studies, she conducted research, co-taught elementary education courses, and supervised student teachers in the nationally recognized Penn State-State College Area School District Professional Development School. After completing her doctoral work, she joined the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs as a senior professional research assistant, inclusion coach, and adjunct instructor. Most recently, she served as an assistant principal at a public K-8 charter school in Aurora, Colorado. With her interest in creating sustainable and socially-just community partnerships, Dr. Higgins hopes to continue growing her leadership and service as a member of the MCE community.
Academic Services Associate
Dana is a Colorado native. She is the mother of two young boys and a mini Maltese. Dana enjoys traveling and going on leisurely hikes with her fiancé and family. She is currently studying Communications. "It has been a pleasure to work at DU because of the inviting community and rewarding work."
Blueford, Jillian, Ph.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor and Practicum and Internship Specialist
Dr. Jillian Blueford earned a BS in Psychology from the University of Central Florida, a MA in Counseling from Rollins College, and a PhD in counselor education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her clinical professional background includes working in a variety of settings such as a hospice bereavement center, a psychiatric behavioral hospital, as an independent counselor for the Tennessee Department of Children Services, and finally as a professional counselor for an UT outreach program for college students from rural Appalachian areas. She is a member of several program associations, including the American Counseling Association, Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, American School Counseling Association, and the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Her research focuses on professional counselor competency in grief counseling and developing systemic grief models for professional counselors.
Johnson, Joseph, Ph.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Joe Johnson is a highly regarded educator and international speaker on unleashing your purpose and social justice. He has worked with dozens of educational and corporate organizations in the United States like Toyota, FedEx, United Negro College Fund and many school districts; helping to transform culture, enhance diversity, and student/professional development.
With a PhD in Counselor Education from the University of Florida, Dr. Joe’s versatility has allowed him to gain over 20 years of experience in transformation work. His insights have been seen on many national platforms like NBC, VH1, and several other media outlets. As the author of the books, “Pursue Your Purpose Not Your Dreams,” and “The College Kids,” which is the only bilingual book in the country about college for elementary students, Dr. Joe continues to transform the lives of individuals and take organizations to their next level by helping them to Think, Act, and Live with purpose and intention.
- Discovering our Purpose in Life
- Career and Personal Life Transitions
- Social Justice
- Counseling the Undocumented Population
Pinto, Stacy, Ph.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Director
Dr. Pinto is currently the Program Director for the SchoolCounseling@Denver program. After earning a BA in Psychology from Marist College, Dr. Stacy Pinto received both her MA in School Counseling and PhD in Counselor Education from Montclair State University. Her experience spans a variety of counseling settings, including K-12 and higher education environments, and both in-home and community-based mental health services. Prior to joining the faculty at DU, she served as both an administrator and adjunct instructor at Montclair State University. She is a National Certified Counselor, and both a certified School Counselor and Licensed Associate Counselor in the State of New Jersey. Her interests include intersectionality, queer issues across the lifespan, sexual identity labeling and language, and the creation of nurturing counseling and educational environments across settings.
Rian, Sage, Ph.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Sage Rian earned their B.A. from Georgian Court University, their M.S. from Monmouth University, and their Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Rian is a National Certified Counselor who started their career as a clinical counselor working with substance abuse, but discovered a passion for school counseling during their doctoral studies. While they have experience at every level in public and charter settings, Dr. Rian really loved working with elementary students and conducting play therapy. Their research interests include ecotherapy, nature and health, and neurodiversity in adults. Dr. Rian is an active member of the American School Counseling Association, the American Counseling Association, and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.