Policy Matters Blog

U.S. Department of Education School Ambassador Fellowship

Just about two years ago I came across a post on the NASP Facebook page announcing an opportunity to be a School Ambassador Fellow with the U.S. Department of Education. On a whim I decided to apply, excited about the chance to bring a school psychologist's perspective to the program. A few weeks after I hit submit Parkland happened, and I realized that if chosen I just might make a difference on a much larger scale. A few months later I was selected as the first ever school psychologist School Ambassador Fellow. As a Campus Fellow I was able to remain at my school and worked part-time for the U.S. Department of Education. At the end of the year I was invited to become the Washington Fellow, meaning that I packed up my belongings and my cats and moved to Washington D.C. to work full-time at the Department. Both tracks have been equally rewarding and have allowed me to grow professionally while also continuously raising awareness about the value of school psychologists.

The Fellowship has provided me with the opportunity to engage with key stakeholders at the Department of Education as well as fellow educators in the field. I am able to share my perspective with senior staff and contribute insights and knowledge in meetings and initiatives where my input is valued and encouraged. I am incredibly excited about the projects and policies that I will be working on this year, many of which will focus on areas of passion, such as school safety, mental health initiatives in school, and trafficking victim's protection. I am also thrilled to be hosting the first school psychologist roundtable at the Department of Education where we will further the dialogue on comprehensive school mental health programs. My hope is that by bringing the voice and value of school psychologists to the Fellowship and the Department that I will help our goal of resolving the shortages in our profession. When I reflect at the end of these incredible two years, I also hope that I can say I had an impact on creating safer, more supportive schools for our students. Every school psychologist is a superhero in the work they do every day for their students and schools. My challenge to you is to take a leap and apply for an opportunity that will bring your superhero powers to a whole new level, because I would really love to pass my cape to another school psychologist!

Click here to apply!

Julie Richardson is a school psychologist from Henry Barnard School in Rhode Island and 2019-2020 School Ambassador Fellow with the US Department of Education.