2023 Award Recipients
2023 School Psychologist of the Year
Jason Pedersen, PhD, NCSP
Derry Township School District, Hershey, PA
For 25 years, Jason has made extensive contributions to the students and schools he has served and to the profession of school psychology through his volunteer leadership at the local, state, and national levels.
Jason has dedicated his career to promoting social-emotional learning (SEL), problem-solving initiatives, effective use of data, and crisis management and prevention. His current work includes serving on the district's SEL Planning Team and serving as the Hershey Elementary School SEL Team Lead and a member of the Hershey Elementary School PBIS Committee. Through partnerships with colleagues, he has supported the design of professional development sessions to be offered to all staff around sound behavioral principles and research-based, highest yielding instructional strategies.
Jason was selected as the 2023 School Psychologist of the Year for his commitment to the profession as he continues to advocate for the mental and behavioral support for students to promote academic and life success.
NASP 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
Shane Jimerson, PhD, NCSP
Shane has had a multifaceted career spanning more than 25 years and focused on advancing school psychology graduate programs, promoting the profession nationally and internationally, and engaging in research and publication. Shane has been served in leadership roles in state, national, and international professional associations. He has published more than 130 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 100 book chapters, and 30 books.
One of Shane's most significant impacts has been as a trainer of school psychologists and has demonstrated a commitment to graduating doctoral students from historically minoritized and underrepresented backgrounds, with the goal of having them take on leadership roles in the future. Shane also serves as a powerful advocate for the profession.
Shane was selected as the Lifetime Achievement Award Winner for his outstanding committment to the profession, his national impact on the field and his long dedication to the development and improvement of school psychology.
2023 NASP-ERT Minority Scholarship Program Awards
Bianca Ruiz is a bilingual Latina first-year school psychology graduate student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. With her public health background, she is committed to helping the community feel empowered and essential within the school systems. She strongly believes in working with the community and not for them, emphasizing that the community should lead the work and that their voices matter. She strives to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for students and adults.
Traviana M. Kazee
Traviana M. Kazee is an African American woman currently pursuing an Education Specialist degree in School Psychology from San Diego State University. Through intentional analysis of culturally sound, evidence-based interventions, consultation and conversation surrounding best practice, and innovation, Traviana hopes to inspire empathy and cultural understanding, dialogue, and communication among educators to create true systems-level change.
Angela Ji is a first-generation Korean American pursuing her Education Specialist degree in School Psychology at James Madison University in hopes of becoming a culturally competent practitioner. While serving as a lab manager conducting research on neurocognitive development at the University of Maryland, she cemented her passion for working with children. Angela strives to continue building on her experiences to create a supportive school environment as an advocate for families from underserved communities.
Lar Htoo, is currently a first-year graduate student at the University of South Dakota pursuing an Education Specialist degree. His professional goal is to bridge the gap and enhance the relationship between refugee communities and the school system to ensure that all students have the support and resources they need to reach their full potential in social and academic performance. His background as a refugee has given him unique insights and experiences that allow him to connect with and understand the challenges faced by many students.
Aenya is pursuing her Education Specialist degree in School Psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. After recieving her undergraduate degree, her interest in psychology and love of children encouraged her to shift her focus to school psychology. She aims to support and advocate for students from marginalized groups, providing a safe and inclusive school environment. Aenya plans to pursue certification in drama therapy to incorporate theater’s healing qualities into her practice.
2023 Paul H. Henkin Memorial Scholarship Award
Jacqueline R. Anderson
Jacqueline R. Anderson, PhD, is a second-year faculty member at the University of Northern Colorado. Her research examines the key, multilevel factors that lead to early identification of psychopathology and related sustainable and feasible school-based mental health programming. Dr. Anderson focuses on measurement development/evaluation, intervention adaption, nontraditional providers/settings, and implementation strategies to promote access to care, specifically related to internalizing disorders.
GOVERNMENT AND PROFESSIONAL RELATIONS AWARDS
Cristina Ramirez’s began a career in education 29 years ago as a bilingual teacher in Chicago, IL. She currently works at Maine West High School, where she has served as a as a school psychologist, dean, and is currently the Associate Principal of Student and Family Services. In her role, Cristina has pushed her staff to create a school-wide MTSS system that considers all areas of social–emotional wellness, academic success, and postsecondary planning while striving to be more inclusive and challenging. Her work has moved the department to include restorative discipline practices and emphasize family involvement.
David Lillenstein, EdD, NCSP, has worked as a school psychologist since 1994. He has been actively involved in the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania serving as President, as PPA Liaison, and Conference Chair. He is currently the Pennsylvania NASP Delegate. His advocacy work contributed to the passage of a state budget that includes state-paid internships for mental health related education specialist positions in schools to strengthen the pipeline of school psychologists.
Patrick Kelly, MEd, NBCT, is an AP U.S. Government teacher in Richland School District 2, where he has taught for the past 18 years, and he serves as Director of Government Affairs for Palmetto State Teachers Association (PSTA). In his work for PSTA, Patrick played a leading role in the creation of the South Carolina Coalition for Safer Schools. The member associations in the Coalition are collaboratively advocating for the implementation of policies to address the in-school and out-of-school factors that contribute to violence against children, work that includes advocating for increased access to mental health resources.
Ashley Arnold, MA, LSSP, NCSP is in her 20th year as a school psychologist. Ashley is a Past President of the Texas Association of School Psychologists and has served on that Executive Board in a variety of roles for close to 20 years and has also served on several NASP committees. She is in her second term as Texas Delegate for NASP and is a certified PREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention trainer. She has worked tirelessly to advocate for the “LSSP” title change with the state licensing body in Texas to ensure all school psychologists can identify as such and focus on what is most important—delivering services to students and their families.
Angela Mann, PhD, BCBA,o is an Associate Professor at the University of North Florida. Angela is the past president and current Public Policy and Professional Relations Cochair of the Florida Association of School Psychologists. Her advocacy efforts have always emphasized equity and social justice. She has collaborated with the American Civil Liberties Union to adequately fund and employ school-based mental health (SBMH) providers and examine the broad impacts of police in schools and worked to address the critical shortages of SBMH providers in Florida as well as other social justice and equity efforts.
2023 NASP GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH GRANTS
Lauren Marnel Shores
Lauren Marnel Shores is a specialist-level graduate student at California State University, Long Beach. Her thesis project explores how children’s participation in dog-assisted reading programs influences their reading self-efficacy. Dog-assisted reading programs provide young readers opportunities to read aloud and, thereby, increase their skills and confidence in reading. This study aims to provide greater understanding of these programs’ potential to boost children’s reading self-efficacy. Beyond this study, Lauren Marnel is interested in the implementation of innovative programs to improve children’s mental health and increase classroom engagement.
Elly Maras is a doctoral student at the University of Denver, in Denver, Colorado. She has experience working with rural school districts as a technical assistance provider for the Center for Rural School Health and Education (CRSHE) at the University of Denver since 2019. Her dissertation combines this interest with her emerging clinical expertise in childhood and complex trauma treatment. The exploratory sequential mixed methods study intends to collect the lived experiences of rural school psychologists who consult with teachers on trauma-informed practices to then develop a community-responsive virtual professional learning series that targets early career rural school psychologists who want to consult on trauma in classrooms.
Teagan Twombly is a doctoral student in the School Psychology program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Teagan is advised by Dr. Katie Eklund, and her current research interests broadly include school-based mental health practices and how schools can adopt evidence-based prevention and early intervention strategies and programs to support students with social and emotional challenges. Additionally, she is interested how schools can use universal screening practices to connect students with mental health supports, specifically for students who have been affected by trauma.