School Psychologist of the Year Award--Congratulations Leigh Bass Kokenes, MEd, NCSP

NASP School Psychologist of the Year Award (SPY) program recognizes excellence in the provision of school psychological services by a field-based practitioner.  Each state is invited to nominate one candidate.  Nomination materials are to be completed by state presidents (or their designees) for NASP-affiliated state associations.  NASP delegates are to complete materials in any non-affiliated state.  Candidates must be current members of NASP and practicing school psychologists who spend the majority of their time providing direct services to students, teachers, and parents.  (Trainers, researchers, and administrators are not eligible for this award).  The NCSP is desired.  An award ceremony takes place at the NASP convention.


To identify and recognize an outstanding practicing school psychologist and to increase public awareness of the profession.

Who Can Nominate

Each state is invited to nominate one candidate. State school psychology associations must approve nominations. The state association president or their designee (e.g., awards chair, NASP delegate, etc.) may make the nomination. The nominator is responsible for submitting all the materials. Previously submitted nominations may be resubmitted with updated information.

Who is Eligible?

Practicing school psychologists who spend the majority of their time (80 percent) providing direct services to students, teachers, and parents in school settings. Examples of "majority of the time (80 percent)" could include 4/5 days spent as a practitioner vs. 1/5 days in another role (administrator, trainer, grant writer, etc.) or if your practice has been for 20 years so far, 16 years should be as a practicing school psychologist. A candidate who has retired during the 2017-18 school year may be nominated. Trainers, researchers, or administrators are not eligible for this award. The NCSP is desirable.

Selection Criteria

  • Is a NASP member for fiscal year 2018-2019 (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019).
  • Provides school psychological services in line with current NASP practice model.
  • Performs job in exemplary manner.
  • Earns respect of others.
  • Demonstrates ethical and professional behavior, as defined by NASP standards and ethics documents.
  • Has membership and/or leadership in local, state, and national professional associations.

Procedures and Required Documents

Nomination materials should be in a 10- or 12-point font for easy reading by the reviewers and include the following:

  1. Nominator and Candidate Contact Sheet
  2. Nomination Statement

In no more than two pages, the nominator should describe why the candidate should be considered for this award. Give specific examples in any of the following areas: data-based decision making; consultation and collaboration; interventions and instructional support to develop academic skills; interventions and mental health support to develop social and life skills; school-wide practices to promote learning; prevention, crisis prevention and mental health; family-school and community collaboration; diversity in development and learning; research and program evaluation; legal, ethical, and professional behavior; performs job in an exemplary manner; earns respect of others; professional memberships and leadership activities. Please see the domains of school psychology practice page for definitions and examples of these areas. More detailed descriptions can be found in the NASP Standards for Practice and Ethics on the NASP website.

3. Candidate's Resume or Vita.

4. Four Letters of Support

These should be no more than two pages in length and should be written by individuals knowledgeable (e.g., teachers, parents, students, colleagues, administrators, etc.) about the candidate's capabilities, professionalism and ethical behavior, interpersonal skills, and leadership qualities. At least one letter must be from an individual in the candidate's school system. No more than four (4) letters of support should be submitted. Please refer to the additional pages on the website for more details for your writers. Letters of support should avoid repeating information in the candidate's resume/vita.

5. Candidate Responses to Essay Questions

Responses to each question should be limited to 1,000 words. Include the question and number at the top of each response and the candidate's name and page number in the header. The question does not count as part of the 1,000 word limit. Please double-space and use a 10 or 12-point font.  The essay questions for the 2019 award are:  

    • Question 1: Describe one professional accomplishment specifically related to your role as a school psychologist. How has it given you your greatest satisfaction professionally and/or personally?
    • Question 2:  In what ways have you collaboorated with and engaged students' families and community (e.g., school, neighborhoods, agencies, faith-based institutions, etc.) to support student learning and health? 

All nomination materials must be submitted electronically, by the nominator, by midnight Friday, July 13, 2018. Please email all materials in one communication to NASP-Awards. A confirmation of receipt will be emailed to the nominator.  

INCOMPLETE nominations will not be reviewed. If the packet is missing one or more of the following documents it will be considered incomplete: nominator and candidate contact sheet, nomination statement, candidate's resume/vita, 4 letters of support, responses to essay questions 1 and 2. 

Questions or difficulties with submission of nomination materials? Please contact Leah Nellis or Byron McClure

Selection and Notification

A panel of reviewers (delegates and a former SPY recipient) will read and rate the materials and determine the top candidate. All candidates and nominators will be informed of the outcome by email. Reviewer ratings will be completed in mid-October.  The award recipient will be notified in mid-November and other candidates and nominators will be notified in mid-December.

Award Presentation

The award ceremony and reception will be held at the NASP Convention. Transportation to and from the convention as well as lodging and per diem for two nights will be provided for the recipient. The basic convention fee (no extras) is also paid for the recipient. No advance public announcement or publicity (such as an article in the local newspaper or state association newsletter) should be made prior to the convention. The recipient may tell colleagues, employers, friends, and family.

2019 Award Recipient

Leigh Bass Kokenes 
School Psychologist, Wake County Public Schools, NC

Nomination Resources and Questions

Nominator Contact Sheet
This form must be filled out and included with other nomination materials.

Hints for Nominators & Candidates
Tips to give your nominee the best chance possible at being honored as School Psychologist of the Year.

Domains of Practice
An overview of the 10 Domains of Practice in the NASP Practice model.

Scoring Rubric Description
View a description of the scoring rubric that is used by reviewers.

For any questions regarding the School Psychologist of the Year Award, nomination procedures, or selection criteria, plase contact Leah Nellis, Chair of the Awards Subcommittee.