MASP 2019-2020 PRESIDENT-ELECT
MASP will be holding an election for the position of President-Elect. According to MASP's Bylaws (which can be found under the Member Area), the President-Elect will:
Voting begins September 16th and ends September 30th. Per MASP By-Laws, voting rights are reserved for regular and retired members only. MASP's Election Policies and Procedures also stipulate a person must become a MASP member at least three weeks before the start of the MASP election to be eligible to vote.
MASP has election policies and procedures that apply to candidates as well as our membership. To view them click on this link: MASP Election Policies and Procedures
All communication regarding the election, including questions or concerns related to violations of MASP's election policies and procedures, should be forwarded to MASP's Election Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
MEET THE PRESIDENT-ELECT CANDIDATES
What is your professional experience? I have been working in schools for almost 20 years. I have a wide variety of assessment and clinical experience. I have been on the MASP executive board for about 5 years. I am the current state delegate.
Why you are interested in serving as President of MASP? Given my background, I believe I am strong candidate to take over the leadership of MASP. I have knowledge of where we have been and a vision of where we need to go.
How should MASP determine the best ways to understand the needs of its members? We know that some needs do not change for our members such as the requirement for continuing education units, monitoring laws that affect our practice and the shortage of school psychologists. However, we also have to stay current on mental and physical health of our students, suicide prevention, bullying, social justice, threat assessments, immigration as well as current legislation regarding learning disabilities (to name a few).We also have to balance the needs of our members, (which should coincide with our state needs), with the needs of our national organization who put forth strategic goals that we should be aiming towards helping them achieve. The best way to understand the needs of anyone is to ask questions. As such, after we agree what we need to do, we ask through surveys, emails and/or at conferences. Another barrier is that many practitioners do not belong to our state association; therefore, it is difficult to find out what their needs are. The needs of practitioners in one part of our state are very different from needs in another part of the state. By encouraging membership across the state, we will have a better understanding of what member’s needs are (see below).
What ideas do you have to streamline credentialing for school psychologists, especially for those seeking the 093 who are unable to earn the NCSP? I have spoken to our national leaders and other states as to how they handle this. Maine is only one a few states which requires the NCSP for their practitioners to become credentialed. We can look at other states and how they word their laws which enable non NCSP practitioners to become certified. However, even with that we need a relationship with lawmakers and the Department of Education (DOE) so that when issues such as this arise, we can meet and swiftly get things changed. Given we are all volunteers with limited time, I also believe if we had someone dedicated that could talk to state lawmakers then we can enact laws that directly affect our jobs and our students. Given the shortage of school psychologists and the fact that we are losing skilled practitioners because of the way our current law is written, suggests to me that we need to put the right personnel talking to the Department of Education as well as needing strong advocacy at the legislative level.
How would you propose increasing membership engagement, especially in relation to participation in leadership positions? If elections are held as they are written in our by-laws, there should be new board turnover every two years which will encourage new ideas and new people to run for positions. The fact that we are having an election now is getting people excited to want to join and participate. I would argue, given all we have done for our special education directors that they could offer to pay for membership for every one of their school psychologists. This would be in the directors’ best interest as well. We cannot address their needs if there are many practitioners who are not part of our organization. We have talked for years about forming regional groups to address the needs of school psychologists in various parts of the state. Meetings definitely have to be offered virtually. My hope is that if members know there is a chance for growth and eventually leadership positions, then they will want to contribute.
Another way to do this would be to have more elected positions. The way our current practice is set up is that there are two state elected positions the president and president elect and one national election, the state Delegate. The president appoints all of the team (except for the Delegate) which has the potential for lack of diverse ideas and new people to come on board. When you have an executive board that is not diverse and has no turnover for several years, it leaves little opportunity for new people to feel engaged and want to contribute. Helping new people feel useful, respected and give them the ability to learn new skills through watching and understanding how the organization is run.
In addition, working closely with younger practitioners, including students and new graduates, letting them join committees to see what they like and guiding them into being future leaders. Certainly, a barrier to this is that our state is so diverse and spread out but having regional teams and virtual meetings as well as offering free membership could help pull people in.
How do you propose that we build consensus among members on important and sometimes controversial topics, especially as they relate to policy recommendations and advocacy? Consensus can be achieved through encouraging participation and everyone working with the same set of rules and expectations. By making sure members have all of the information and feel like they have an equal say in discussions is one way to let people know they are valued and included. In addition, everyone has to know what the problem/recommendation is. Giving members a chance to express their ideas to enable all to have a voice in the decision is crucial. After everyone has given their idea then it is important to narrow these down looking at pros and cons of each. Then put forth a solution. Even if people do not have their idea implemented, they will feel they had a say and likely there will be better buy in. Like all good strategies, you must go back and see how your idea is working-be willing to re look at other ideas if something is not working. Having a varied group of members with diverse ideas is both wonderful and a challenge. The important thing to remember is not to get defensive or take things personally if others disagree with you.
What is your professional experience? I have been providing psychological services in Maine schools for the past 30+ years. My experience has included work in residential treatment centers, public school districts and a charter school. I have worked both as a district employee and as an independent contractor. I am licensed as a Psychological Examiner and Certified as a School Psychologist-Specialist. I also earned my Diplomat from the American Board of School Neuropsychology after studying for a year under Steven Feifer, D.Ed.
My work in the schools has encompassed a broad range of services including assessments, developing and supporting RTI and PBIS programming, consultation with specialized programs, staff training and support as well as consultation with families. I have also conducted trainings on a variety of topics for multiple organizations. I became a member of MASP when it was initially formed and have been active in advocating for our profession, for children and for Maine schools. This work has included collaboration with the Maine DOE, the legislature and other professional organizations including MADSEC and MePA. I served 2 terms as Maine’s representative to NASP and am currently co-chair of MASP’s GPR committee.
Why you are interested in serving as President of MASP? I am interested in serving as President of MASP to further the development of the profession of school psychology in Maine and continue advocating for our children, families and schools. Over the years MASP has successfully elevated the status of our profession within the state and forged strong alliances with key partners in our field. MASP is now at the table in the development and implementation of policies, procedures and regulations and sought out as consultants and trainers. MASP regularly provides high quality training for our members and acts as a source of professional knowledge and support.
I believe this is a pivotal point in MASP’s development. There is much more to be done in expanding our roles in the schools, enhancing the development of MTSS across the state and improving our own training, certification and employment status, among other issues. There is increased interest by our membership in working collaboratively to move our organization forward. In order to meet this interest, MASP needs to continue fine tuning policies and procedures that open up communication and promote opportunities for increased membership engagement. I believe my depth of involvement in our professional organization and breadth of experience across the state leaves me uniquely qualified for this position. I have grown with MASP over the years, have helped forge important liaisons, have had involvement in our national professional association and am aware of the challenges facing our field. My goal is to build on the strong foundation that exists today and guide MASP into an even stronger future.
How should MASP determine the best ways to understand the needs of its members? I believe MASP should determine the best ways to understand the needs of its members through consultation with the membership. Employing a variety of formats is likely to be most successful in soliciting input from the broadest range of members. These formats could include direct discussions during gatherings such as the conferences, brief questionnaires passed out at conferences, on-line surveys and discussions, a clear path for members to express their needs to leadership, regional discussion groups, etc. As an example; at our last conference members completed forms identifying their interests and concerns. Their responses were collated and used by the GPR Committee in developing advocacy priorities for the upcoming school year.
What ideas do you have to streamline credentialing for school psychologists, especially for those seeking the 093 who are unable to earn the NCSP? Addressing the current credentialing difficulties will require balancing the need for streamlining the credentialing process with the need for maintaining the integrity of our profession. At the present time, there is no formal liaison between the Advisory Board to the DOE that addresses credentialing concerns and MASP. I see development of such a liaison to channel communication between members and the board as a priority. Once this is in place, then MASP can facilitate exploring options for streamlining within the existing regulations. This process will also provide a format for identifying the potential need for revision of the regulations themselves. If such a need is identified in conjunction with MASP, the Advisory Board and the DOE, this will facilitate a collaboratively developed revision that will have the support of stakeholders and thus be likely to be passed by the legislature.
How would you propose increasing membership engagement, especially in relation to participation in leadership positions? I believe a multifaceted strategic plan for increasing membership participation in leadership positions is needed at this time. When I was Maine’s representative to NASP, I participated in their restructuring process. This included a combination of recommendations from the existing NASP leadership along with multiple brainstorming and feedback sessions with delegates and other stakeholders. I think a similar process could be utilized by MASP. One potential outcome may be the development of a Membership & Leadership Development Committee. This committee could focus on recruiting and retaining members, keeping the pulse on membership concerns as well as providing a transparent process for encouraging more members to move into leadership positions.
How do you propose that we build consensus among members on important and sometimes controversial topics, especially as they relate to policy recommendations and advocacy? Having participated in policy and advocacy issues on the national level, I am aware of the diversity of opinions across the profession. While NASP has worked hard to reach consensus on major issues, there continue to be strong differences of opinion across the field. The same is true here in Maine. While it will not always be possible to reach full consensus on all issues, it is important for diverse perspectives to be taken into consideration, especially as they relate to policy recommendations and advocacy
Building consensus requires effective two-way communication between membership and leadership. As identified in my response to question #1, multiple formats and means of collaboration can be employed. Within MASP, it is important to seek the participation of members with diverse viewpoints at the committee and board level and to develop quick effective means for gathering and disseminating information and opinions on policy and advocacy topics. The current MASP leadership team has started revamping the communication procedures through proposing a new Communications Committee to facilitate more fluid and transparent communication. MASP’s GPR committee is exploring the option of hiring a lobbyist to provide earlier notification of upcoming legislation which would allow more time for broader membership participation before taking a position.