Meet STEP Clinical Director Kris Blake




Meet STEP Clinical Director Kris Blake

STEP Clinical Director Kris Blake

As clinical director at Dearborn STEP Assessment, Kristin (Kris) Blake explains, “I try to guide and bring together an integrated understanding of the student from various perspectives – from the family, district, mental health professionals and more.” By doing so, she helps create a more effective and united assessment of each student’s current needs and abilities.


According to Kris, she is energized by being part of a team of people who advocate for, accept, identify and help students develop the skills necessary to move forward with greater success.  


This collaborative approach helps students “be seen, supported and accepted for wherever they are on their journey.” It also is a key factor in supporting students – and their families – as they move from crisis to a space where they “find greater peace and are able to shine more.”


“One of my favorite things about this work at STEP, because we are so small, is that we can be flexible,” Kris explains, “Students come to us and come to know that we see all parts of them. We meet them where they are, and every day is a fresh start.”


Communication and Collaboration with District Staff

“Our goal at Dearborn STEP Assessment is to gain an understanding of the challenges that led a district/team to refer a student to us,” explains Kris. “As we move through the assessment process, it is important to frequently connect with them in order to offer the insights we gain and have the privilege of being able to see in our small setting.” The goal is to understand the purpose of a student’s behavior and to gain an integrated understanding of the whole student, strengths, as well as challenges.”


In her work with district staff, families/guardians and the rest of the support team, Kris oversees intervention meetings and communication among all the parties involved. Of course, sometimes there are differing views. Kris helps them hear each other and see each other’s perspective in a unified way that strengthens the student’s ability to progress academically while gaining agency over their learning and overall experience.


From the clinical perspective, Kris keeps the larger perspective in view from academic strengths and struggles to social-emotional issues. In this area, her collaborations with the support team include interventions, collaterals and consultations with the onsite psychiatrist.


“Our collaborators can feel confident that we will truly see the full spectrum of the student – the good, as well as the challenges,” adds Kris.


More About Kris

Kris started off as a family therapist at Dearborn Academy for three years, went to New York for two years, and then came back to work with Howard Rossman (the former Head of School) as an assistant on projects. Kris then moved to consulting when STEP first opened. She became the director of STEP for a year before moving into the clinical director role at the start of the 2006 school year once she had children. 


In her personal life, STEP’s clinical director enjoys spending time and having fun with her children, friends and family. She draws, meditates, rides her bike and reads. “In general, and especially over the past year,” Kris shares, “I make sure to look for the good things, the beauty and small miracles in the everyday stuff.”