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Barbara Bole Williams Honored With NASP Lifetime Achievement Award

By Candace Cartwright Dee

For most, living in New Jersey and supporting a baseball team in Pennsylvania may seem an awkward and cumbersome challenge. Not so for NASP’s 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Barbara Bole Williams. A long-time Phillies fan and Pitman, New Jersey resident, Barbara manages it, and much more, with ease and grace.

Barbara began her career as an educator and school psychologist more than 30 years ago. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education and history from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. This, too, she did with grace, graduating cum laude. She went on to earn a Master of Arts in both educational psychology and student personnel services from Glassboro State College/Rowan University. Not done yet, Barbara received a Doctor of Philosophy in educational psychology/ school psychology from Temple University in Philadelphia (home of her beloved Phillies!). She later completed a respecializaton in clinical psychology from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Barbara’s school psychology career began in Audubon, New Jersey as a school psychologist for Audubon Public Schools. She conducted assessments and provided counseling, consultation, and inservice training. She also served as director of special services, where she performed administrative duties and provided supervision for practicum students and both masters and doctoral interns.

During this time in the schools, as Barbara was refining her "Phillies Phanatic" status, she was also consulting with Educational Testing Service on revisions to the National School Psychology Exam. She began a private counseling practice that she still maintains today. Barbara also performed assessments and provided therapy to children and adults at the PCOM Psychological Services and Center for Brief Therapy. She consulted with and conducted assessments for both Haddonfield Public Schools and Camden County Educational Services Commission. In 1997, Barbara began teaching doctoral-level courses at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and served on many doctoral dissertation committees. Since 2001, Barbara has been a professor and coordinator of the school psychological graduate program at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. Her students describe her as the "most influential, inspiring, and helpful role model in the field of school psychology" who appears to have "boundless energy." They describe themselves as "Barbara Williams wannabes."

Always available for new learning, Barbara has participated in cognitive behavioral therapy training at La Salle University in Philadelphia, learning disorder training at Harvard University, National Organization of Victims Assistance (NOVA) Training in Washington, DC, and is a PREPaRE trainer of trainers for NASP.

In her spare time (Are you kidding me?), Barbara also writes. She has coauthored three books: Armistead, L., Williams, B. B., & Jacobs, S. (2011), Ethical principles for school psychologists: A problem solving casebook, second edition. Bethesda, MD: NASP; Williams, B. B., & Mennuti, R. B., (2010), A guide to passing the Praxis exam in school psychology. New York: Routledge; and Williams B. B., Armistead, L., & Jacobs, S. (2009), Ethical principles for school psychologists: A problem-solving casebook. Bethesda, MD: NASP. Barbara has written over thirty book chapters and articles on diverse subjects such as ethics, behavioral school consultation, behavior management, culturally competent mental health services, and crisis management.

The Phillies are the oldest continuous one-city, one-name franchise in all of American sports. Barbara cannot make that same claim. She has traversed the country many times, making presentations on NASP standards, ethics, functional behavioral assessment, crisis prevention, token economies, PBIS, ADHD, and many, many other school psychological topics. She has influenced an entire generation of school psychologists in over a dozen states and two countries.

Barbara has loyally served school psychologists locally and nationally. She served as the New Jersey Association of School Psychologists (NJASP) president, NASP delegate, delegate representative, editor of New Jersey School Psychologist, and chairperson of many committees including Professional Standards; Task Force to Develop Statewide Crisis Prevention, Intervention, and Response; Research-Based Practice; and State Legislative. Barbara has served on many state educational and licensing committees as well.

The scorecard of Barbara’s NASP contributions is so far above her beloved Phillies’ statistics (and they have a whole team) as to not even be worth the comparison. Recently, Barbara served as chair of the National Task Force to Revise the NASP Standards. Those standards were approved in 2010 and will direct the practice of every school psychologist for generations to come. She is the chair-elect of the National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB). She has served as chair of State Credentialing Committee, Nationally Certified School Psychology (NCSP) Credential Task Force, chair of the workgroup to revise NASP Procedural Guidelines for the Adjudication of Ethical Complaints, and chair of the Child and Profession Workgroup, to name a few. She has been on more NASP committees than the Phillies have teammates.

Barbara Bole Williams, PhD, NCSP, represents the highest level of NASP leadership, professional ethics, school psychology training, and service to children and families. Her influence, her service, and her grace make her an outstanding NASP Lifetime Achievement Award winner. But perhaps the most profound contribution of Barbara’s lifetime of achievement is the passing of the school psychology baton to her daughter Laura, a fellow school psychologist. On the home front, Barbara is more like the Phillies: She has a team. Barbara’s home team includes Ted, her husband and long-time supporter; Laura and her husband Kevin; and Ted Jr. and his wife, Danielle. Laura and Kevin have a daughter, Olivia, who is, of course, the "Phillie" of her grandparents’ eyes. Congratulations, Barbara, and thank you for all that you have done for school psychologists across the country!

Previous NASP Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

  • 1999 Jeff Grimes (Iowa)
  • 2000 Dan Reschly (Tennessee)
  • 2001 Kevin P. Dwyer (Maryland)
  • 2002 Pauline Alexander (Ohio)
  • 2003 Thomas J. Kampwirth (California)
  • 2004 Michael J. Curtis (Florida)
  • 2005 Alex Thomas (Ohio)
  • 2006 Peg Dawson (New Hampshire)
  • 2007 Thomas K. Fagan (Tennessee)
  • 2008 Cathy Telzrow (Ohio)
  • 2009 No award granted
  • 2010 William F. Pfohl (Kentucky)

About the NASP Lifetime Achievement Award

The NASP Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a school psychologist who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the profession of school psychology throughout his/her career. Eligible individuals effect lasting change at the local, state, and national levels. They help to shape and improve knowledge of the best practices in school psychological services; promote and expand understanding of the role of school psychologists and effective services for children and youth; uphold the highest professional standards of practice, training, and research; and participate in the leadership, governance, and continuing development of the profession. Candidates are nominated by their state associations, must be current members of NASP who have held membership for at least 15 years, and must have demonstrated at least 20 years of service to the profession. School psychology practitioners, trainers, supervisors, administrators, state consultants, or researchers may be nominated for this prestigious award.

Candace Cartwright Dee is the cochair of the Awards Committee.