School Psychologist of the Year Award

Note. The 2021 Award Recipient has been announced! View our 2021 NASP Awards, Scholarships and Grants page to read more about this year's recipient. The application process will tentatively open again in June 2021.

The NASP School Psychologist of the Year Award (SPY) recognizes excellence in the provision of school psychological services by a field-based practitioner. This award serves to identify and recognize an outstanding practicing school psychologist and increase public awareness of the profession.

Overview of Nomination Process

Each state association is invited to nominate one outstanding candidate for this prestigious national award. The state association president or their designee (e.g., awards chair, NASP delegate, etc.) may make the nomination. NASP delegates are to complete materials in any non-affiliated state. The nominator is responsible for submitting all the materials. Previously submitted nominations may be resubmitted with updated information.

Candidates must be current members of NASP and practicing school psychologists who spend the majority of their time (80 percent) providing direct services to students, teachers, and parents (trainers, researchers, and administrators are not eligible for this award). Examples could include 4 out of 5 days spent as a practitioner versus 1 out of 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. School psychologists who retired during the 2019–2020 school year may be nominated. Having the Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential (NCSP) is desired, but not required.

Selection Criteria

  • Is a NASP member for the 2020–2021 membership year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021).
  • 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–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.
  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 ‘Nomination Resources and Questions’ on the website for more details for your writers. Letters of support should avoid repeating information in the candidate's resume/vita.
  5. Candidate’s 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 2021 award are:
    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?
    2. In what ways have you collaborated 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 Monday, August 17, 2020. Please email all materials in one communication to 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, or responses to both essay questions.

Questions or difficulties with submission of nomination materials? Please contact Elsa Arroyos or Katherine Campbell

Selection and Notification

A panel of reviewers (state 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 by late October. The award recipient will be notified by late November and other candidates and nominators will be notified in mid-December. An official NASP announcement will be made in early January to the membership at large.

Award Presentation

Award recipients are asked to be acknowledged on stage at the opening General Session and receive their award at the NASP Annual Convention Awards Ceremony. Transportation to and from the convention, as well as lodging and per diem for two nights will be provided for the recipient. The convention registration fee (without additional elections such as workshops, etc.) will also be covered. The recipient may share the NASP announcement with colleagues, employers, friends, and family ahead of the convention. However, no advance public announcement or publicity (such as articles in the local newspaper or state association newsletters) should be made prior to the convention.

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 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 Elsa Arroyos, Chair of the Awards Subcommittee.