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Bob Bayuk Is NASP School Psychologist of the Year

By Karen O’Brien

The Awards Committee is pleased to announce that Dr. Bob Bayuk is our 2011 School Psychologist of the Year. The School Psychologist of the Year Award recognizes excellence in the provision of school psychological services by a field–based practitioner.

In more than 30 years of professional service, Dr. Bob has held a variety of positions. He began his career in 1970 with the school district of Philadelphia as a program evaluator for their educational programs. After several years of data collection and program evaluations, Dr. Bob realized he was missing out on "kid time," so in the mid–1970s, he went to work as a school psychologist for Philadelphia.

In 1981, Bob became a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania and Wyoming, decided to leave Philadelphia, and moved to a small town in Wyoming. His practice has exemplified systems change and development, home/school/community collaboration, consultation, data–based decision making, and making lives better for children and youth. During his tenure, he has been influential in making system changes as a way to advocate for students. He has provided training in crisis management, allowing schools to develop their prevention and intervention services and crisis teams. After writing and receiving a grant, Dr. Bob took on a large project with the support of the special education director to bring training on Project Achieve to his small Wyoming school districts. The training was successful and the social skills curriculum and home–school collaboration strategies are still in place and making a difference for children 8 years later!

The special education director states, "He is always stepping in to help on the playground, cafeteria, hallways, and classrooms. He brings a smile to the faces of everyone in the building when they see him. No matter the task, Dr. Bob always has time to commit to children and adults as he strives for a better world for all."

Working closely with community agencies is important to Dr. Bob and vital to his work with children and youth. He works with multidisciplinary teams to determine the level of care for students within the school district, as well as those students who need care outside of the district. Bob is instrumental in helping teams develop transition plans for students coming back into public school from other educational or treatment settings. Not only does he use his skills in schools, but shares his knowledge and skills by volunteering in his small community. Another supporter states, "Everyone in our community knows Dr. Bob…. His volunteer efforts in Special Olympics, community mental health, and a proposed center for adults with acquired brain injuries, repeatedly demonstrate to all of us that a life well lived is a life sharing talents and abilities with those in need of support."

While providing comprehensive services to students and schools, Dr. Bob has also shared his knowledge and talents with several professional associations. He has been in leadership positions at both the state and national levels, including three different stints as the Wyoming state president! In 1985, Dr. Bob recognized that educators in Wyoming had few opportunities for professional development for meeting the needs of students with disabilities. He encouraged WSPA to take on this professional development role and has spent 20–plus years coordinating two to three trainings for school psychologists and educators throughout the state of Wyoming each year.

He is well respected across the state in the fields of education, school psychology, and non–school psychology. Dr. Bob has been appointed to a variety of Wyoming State Department of Education councils and initiatives since 1984. He lobbied successfully several years ago against legislation to exclude master’s– and specialist–level practitioners from using the title of "psychologist" and the governor at that time was duly impressed and appointed Dr. Bob to the Wyoming Board of Psychologists in 2003. He currently is the chairperson for this board.

Although Dr. Bob retired recently, apparently he still needs kid time, as he continues to consult with four school districts by providing training on special education topics and legal issues, and assessing students for intervention planning. In his spare time, he works in private practice conducting evaluations, counseling, consulting with the local hospital, and running his nonprofit organization, Cloud Peak Foundation, that aids individuals with developmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries.

The Wyoming delegate reflects, "When I think about what the School Psychologist of the Year should be as a human, it is hard to imagine a more deserving person than Dr. Bob. His career was spent in the trenches helping students for more than 35 years. You won’t find the books that he wrote on any shelf but you will find the students he has helped, out there in the world doing better for having known and worked with Dr. Bob."

The Awards Committee congratulates Dr. Bob and all of the other nominees on their accomplishments and service to students, families, and schools!

2011 School Psychologist of the Year Nominees

State associations nominated the following additional nine candidates as their outstanding school psychology representatives.

  • Pam Abrams, Florida
  • Moira DuBois, New Hampshire
  • Mary Duffy, New Jersey
  • George Ferrigno, New York
  • Pat Goldsmith, Tennessee
  • Keren Kreitzer, Maryland
  • Linda Neiheiser, Ohio
  • Lynnette Pfeiffer, Colorado
  • Charlotte Smith, Missouri

Karen O’Brien, NCSP, is the chair of the Awards Committee.