Nebraska alumna named school psychologist of the year
28 Jan 2022
April Turner, alumna of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s school psychology program, has been named the 2022 School Psychologist of the Year by the National Association of School Psychologists. She will receive the award on Feb. 16 during the NASP 2022 Annual Convention in Boston, MA.
Turner holds multiple degrees from Nebraska. She earned a master’s degree in educational psychology in 2006, and a doctoral degree in school psychology in 2012, both from the Department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education and Human Sciences. She was selected for the award for her commitment to the profession not only through her advocacy work addressing the needs of children, families, and schools, but also her work on improving the pathways for future school psychologists through leadership development.
“This award represents the collective work of so many mentors, teachers, professors and colleagues who have mentored and supported me throughout my career from graduate school at UNL to present day,” Turner shared in a statement. “I hope to continue to amplify the skills, knowledge and expertise of school psychologists while advocating for school psychology practices that support social justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.”
NASP's School Psychologist of the Year is awarded for excellence in the provision of school psychological services and is selected from nominations by states across the country. Turner is currently the School Psychological Services Supervisor at the Maryland State Department of Education in Baltimore. Prior to this position, she served as a school psychologist in Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) for 9 years. In both her practitioner and administrative leadership roles, Turner's focus has been on evidence-based service delivery and effective use of data-collection and decision-making systems to support student success. In addition, her commitment to professionally advocacy has helped to build and strengthen sustainable pathways to leadership for school psychologists.
"This past year and a half have been difficult on many levels," shared NASP President Laurie Klose. "Despite all the challenges we have seen in schools, April's tireless dedication to the field of school psychology, desire to support students, and uplifting of her colleagues secured her place as NASP's 2022 School Psychologists of the Year. I am proud we have someone as committed as Dr. Turner working in the field."
In BCPS, Turner served in a comprehensive role in which she worked with general education and special education students, addressing the individual and systemic barriers to student success through both academic and mental and behavioral health interventions. Turner also worked to increase family engagement and involvement by focusing on communication and community buy-in. In the face of the dual struggles of COVID-19 and racial injustice, Turner was instrumental in organizing an affinity support group for school psychologists of color to navigate working virtually and managing racial inequalities and stressors.
Turner's contributions to the profession, engagement in leadership development, and advocacy for the success of all children is evident in the programs, services, and collaborations she has engaged in, and also in the accolades from her colleagues. Her commitment to secure the future of the field is evident through one colleague's statement: "The record of her achievements is lengthy, but even so it pales in comparison to the personal impact that Dr. Turner has had on our careers as a mentor, colleague, and friend." It is clear why she is a successful leader as she "leads with integrity and compassion," as shared by another colleague. Turner will no doubt continue to impact the field and success of students, as others state that "she stands out as a bright, engaging, and strategic thinker who consistently uses her voice to speak for those who may not have the power or privilege to do so" and is a "tireless advocate for the field of school psychology."
The National Association of School Psychologists represents 25,000 school psychologists throughout the United States and abroad. NASP empowers school psychologists to improve students' learning, behavior, and mental health. Its vision is that all children and youth access the learning, behavior, and mental health support needed to thrive in school, at home, and throughout life. Further information about school psychology, NASP, and the School Psychologist of the Year is available at www.nasponline.org.
The Department of Educational Psychology at Nebraska seeks to enhance human functioning and support diversity in educational, individual and social contexts through the application of psychological science. Created in 1908, the department was one of the founding departments in Teachers College, now the College of Education and Human Sciences. Graduates of the department are leaders in educational psychology, educational neuroscience, learning, cognition, and quantitative and qualitative methodologies who hold positions in university settings, industry, schools, hospitals, community mental health clinics and private practice. To learn more about the department, visit https://cehs.unl.edu/edpsych/.
College of Education and Human Sciences