Jack Bardon Award winner

Service to the field, one's institution and one's colleagues is a professional responsibility as well as an essential part of professional growth and development.

This award is given for accomplishments relating to:

  • Major leadership in the development, delivery, or administration of innovative psychological services
  • The development of policy leading to psychologically and socially sound training and practice in school psychology
  • Sustained professional organization contributions

This year's winner is Frank Worrell, PhD.

Growing Up In a Family With a Culture of Service

It is a great honor to win Division 16' s Jack Bardon Distinguished Service Award. I know that there are many individuals who give a tremendous amount of time and service to Division 16 and to school psychology, and I am grateful to the selection committee for deciding that I was a worthy recipient. The honor is magnified given the person whose name graces this award. I never met Jack Bardon, but I have been familiar with his name since I began studying school psychology. Dr. Bardon made substantial contributions to the school psychology specialty, including working hard to keep doctoral and non-doctoral school psychology unified, and this goal is one that is also important to me. Many students and colleagues have asked me why I spend so much time in providing service to the profession. There are many ways to answer this question, including the importance of giving back generally, and the maxim, “to whom much is given, much is expected.” Although both of these are answers that I can also give, in this brief piece, I provide the context in which my commitment to service developed.

Pre-University

Both of my parents were born in small fishing villages on the north coast of Trinidad and although they lived in or near Trinidad and Tobago's capital from shortly before my birth, they never forgot the villages that they came from. Dad's village was called Toco, and it was the largest village in that region of the country, and when I was in elementary school, my parents became founding members of an organization called the Toco Old Boys and Girls Association (TOBGA). TOBGA raised funds to provide scholarships for students from Toco and the neighboring villages, so that they could attend secondary schools outside the region—there were no secondary schools in the Toco region at the time—and to provide support to needy families. When a secondary school was built in Toco, TOBGA's fundraising provided additional financial support to the school in addition. I learned to type in order to support TOBGA, as my aunt was the association's secretary and could not type. My two older sisters served as TOBGA's typists before I did.

Although we were not wealthy, my mother had a strong belief in “service in support of community.” Thus, in addition to the work that was done for TOBGA, my parents were actively involved in service activities in organizations (e.g., the church) and in neighborhood programs (e.g., providing meals for the needy), and my siblings and I grew up engaged in these activities. In my sixth year of elementary school—Trinidad and Tobago has seven years of elementary schooling—I asked the Principal for access to books that were contained in several locked glass cases at the school. The school had no library or librarian, and the Principal indicated that I could have the key to the book cases in exchange for coordinating student access to the books, so became the de facto librarian for my elementary school. I served in several other roles during my adolescent years at church, the YMCA, and the school that my mother worked at. In my secondary school, in addition to participating in several clubs, I also served as Choir Secretary and Editor of the school magazine, The Saint . In my household, service was as routine as homework and chores.

In the University Setting

When completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario, as many students do, I was also involved in several organizations, but I was most engaged in the Mustang Marching Band in which I held several offices, including the office of President. As President of the marching band, I was a member of the advisory committee for the Vice President for Student Affairs in the student government, which introduced me to the concept of professional service. My doctoral program at UC Berkeley continued this trend. Each student in the school psychology program at UC Berkeley has to serve on one of the four standing committees—Admissions, All Program, Program Advisory, or Social—and the second year cohort also serves as the Conference Committee responsible for putting on the program's annual conference. My advisor and mentor, Nadine Lambert, also encouraged students to serve on Graduate School of Education (GSE) Committees, and I served on the GSE's Committee on Teaching Effectiveness and Improvement and on the Dean's Council of Student Advisors. I also started and coordinated a school psychology program newsletter, which I served as Editor for, a schoolwide colloquium series, and a GSE Chorus.

Service as an Academic

Both institutions in which I have held faculty positions—Penn State and UC Berkeley—indicate that service is a part of the expectations for promotion and tenure, but UC Berkeley also highlights service as an important contribution of the university to the local community and the professional communities that staff and faculty belong to. Throughout my time as a student at UC Berkeley, Dr. Lambert was actively involved in service to the GSE, UC Berkeley, the UC system, the American Psychological Association, and school psychology, more generally. Indeed, one of the reasons that the division started giving out an award in Nadine Lambert's name was to recognize her contributions across a wide range of domains, including service. Thus, my graduate experiences mirrored and reinforced my experiences as a child and adolescent with regard to the importance of service. I became engaged in service to the Division in my third year as an Assistant Professor, and am proud that I have been able to contribute to the Division in this way.

School psychologists constitute less than 2% of the membership of the American Psychological Association, but our interests cut across all of the four directorates that make up APA—Education, Practice, Public Interest, and Science. It is critically important the school psychology's perspective be included in APA and I have been delighted to be able to contribute to Division 16 and to school psychology in this way. Although receiving this award is gratifying, the greatest benefit accrues from being able to give back to school psychology, a specialty that has given me vocation and the ability to help others while also indulging my passion for teaching and research.