By Don Rush
After the November 30 tragedy at Oxford High School moved deftly to design and impliment a three-year recovery plan for students, staff and community. Out of that plan came the creation of an Executive Director of Student Services and Wellness, “a new position which was inspired by staff, parent and student feedback and part of our three-year plan to reclaim Oxford” and a Recovery Coordinator.
Oxford’s first Recovery Coordinator is Laura Azoni and safe to say, she does a lot of coordinating. Azoni, 37, coordinates the crisis response for Oxford Community Schools, works with the mental health team to support recovery, coordinates with community partners including All for Oxford Resiliency Center, coordinates ongoing education for students, staff, and community, and manages and coordinates grades K-12 SEL Facility dogs for the district. She began all that coordinating this past June 1.
According to Azoni, prior for working with the schools she had a private practice. “I’m a trauma-focused clinical psychotherapist with a demonstrated history of serving children, individuals, and families through quality mental and emotional care,” she said.
She specialized in trauma-informed practice for over 13 years within Michigan’s child welfare system, also with a national certification in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) training, and Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC) training.
“I’m also skilled in crisis intervention, communication, developmental assessment, multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary treatment,” she added.
(Multidisciplinary is combining or involving several professional specializations in an approach to a topic or problem. Transdisciplinary is when you’re all working together at the same place and time instead of just consulting and working together from separate places.)
Her private practice, called Sanctuary Services partners with a local nonprofit, Abide Ministries, to raise scholarships for trauma therapy in efforts to bridge common gaps in therapy coverage.
“My hope is that I am able to bring my clinical practice into the district’s three year recovery plan, with a trauma-trained perspective that will serve kids of various developmental stages, as we pursue healing and progression in holistic development,” she said.
She and her husband, John have two children, Elinor, 7 and Rylin 5.
“My family is very missional and fun. We love to serve, and we love to celebrate. We strive to love our neighbors well, work hard, and play hard,” she said. “I was honored to have supported families and various people across the district through my private practice and therapy scholarships in direct response to the November 30 tragedy. Considering and honorably accepting this Recovery Coordinator role seemed like the next right thing, and I am very grateful to be moving in this format professionally.”
Her office is located in Oxford High School, however she coordinates with every building in the district.