Seeking Advocates: Government and Professional Relations State Liaisons

By Katie Eklund, Nate von der Embse & Paul Baker

pp. 31

Volume 46 Issue 4

By Katie Eklund, Nate von der Embse & Paul Baker

For many years, the NASP Government and Professional Relations (GPR) Committee has recruited one member from every state association to serve as the School Psychology Action Network (SPAN) coordinator. This person has been an essential resource for communicating advocacy and legislative information between NASP and school psychologists in each state. Feedback from stakeholders has suggested that the current position title may be confusing because it does not align with a specific NASP or state association committee. The job description has also evolved in recent years in response to the changing advocacy and legislative needs of school psychologists. In response to this feedback and in an effort to more closely align this person to the NASP GPR Committee, the SPAN member will now be referred to as the GPR State Liaison. Below is a description of the role of the GPR State Liaisons and the important role they play in each state.

What Is the GPR State Liaison?

The GPR State Liaisons (GPR-SL) have an interest in and a commitment to public policy and legislative advocacy. Their role is to facilitate grassroots advocacy that is timely, effective, and responsive to public policy issues that impact school psychologists. NASP relies on the GPR-SL to quickly disseminate critical information and empower school psychologists to action at the state level on relevant national issues.

How Is the GPR State Liaison Selected?

Each state association president should identify one individual to serve as the GPR-SL. The process for identifying this person should be in accordance with the state bylaws and the requirements outlined within this description. If the state does not have a formal selection process, then NASP recommends that the state president, in consultation with the NASP state delegate, appoint an individual to fill the role of GPR-SL. This position has a recommended 2-year term, which may be renewed at the discretion of the association president and the delegate. Please notify Katie Britton ( when the GPR-SL is named or reconfirmed.

What Are the Criteria for Appointment to the Position of GPR-SL?

  • NASP and state association membership
  • Interest in and knowledge of advocacy and public policy that has the potential to impact school psychologists
  • An ability and willingness to work closely with state association leadership, NASP staff, and GPR committee members

What Are the Responsibilities the GPR-SL?

  • Regularly communicating with NASP GPR Regional Coordinators regarding state legislative or public policy issues that may require NASP's assistance
  • Responding to State Track (legislative tracking software used by NASP that identifies, monitors, and tracks state and federal legislation) alerts from NASP by: (a) consulting state leadership to determine if a bill should be tracked, and (b) having one person respond to a State Track alert within 48 hours
  • Actively responding to requests for information from NASP staff or GPR Regional Coordinators regarding action of members within the state pertaining to legislative issues via phone, e-mail, or in-person visits
  • Developing reciprocal relationships with state legislators and officials on issues important to the profession
  • Actively promoting and, as needed, participating in state and national legislative trainings (e.g., GPR state training, Public Policy Institute, GPR and legislative sessions at the NASP convention)
  • Participating in regional GPR/ATS calls and sharing information from the state level with other participants
  • Promoting member participation in the regular review and use of the NASP Advocacy Action Center (
  • Identifying and nominating individuals in their state association who have played an important role in legislative advocacy for annual GPR Awards, as appropriate

Each NASP region has a designated GPR Regional Coordinator who will help facilitate the development of GPR-SLs. This includes assistance with the development, maintenance, and utilization of advocacy and legislative efforts in each state. GPR Regional Coordinators will serve as the liaisons between NASP staff, GPR leadership, and GPR-SLs within each region.

All NASP state delegates, state association presidents, and former state SPAN leaders were notified of this change in October. Please note that we will be hosting a special session at the NASP 2018 Annual Convention in February for NASP GPR-SLs. Please stay tuned for additional details. If you have additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Katie Eklund ( or Nate von der Embse ( We look forward to continuing to work with these important leaders in each state!

Katie Eklund, PhD, NCSP, is the chair of the NASP GPR Committee and an assistant professor in the department of educational, school, and counseling psychology at the University of Missouri. Nate von der Embse, PhD, NCSP, is the cochair of the NASP GPR Committee and an assistant professor in the school psychology program at the University of South Florida. Paul Baker, NCSP, is a member of NASP GPR Committee and a school psychologist with the Martin County Schools in Inez, Kentucky

© 2017, National Association of School Psychologists
December 2017, Volume 46, Number 4