William James College Graduate Named 2024 School Psychologist of the Year by the National Association of School Psychologists

Headshot of Wendy Price, PsyD

Accolades for Wendy Price PsyD, a 2015 graduate of the School Psychology doctoral program at William James College and school psychologist at Whitman-Hanson Regional High School in Whitman, Mass., are deep and enduring. Over the course of her 23-year career (built upon her first position out of graduate school), Price has demonstrated a remarkable ability to design multi-tiered supports for students and foster productive communication and collaboration among teams. Her genuine empathy and unwavering commitment to understanding the needs of others have made her an invaluable asset to her district and the wider school psychology community—as evidenced by her being named 2024 School Psychologist of the Year by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

 “I am humbled and deeply touched to receive this incredible honor,” said Price, in an acceptance video accompanying the December 6 press release announcing the organization's prestigious annual award. “I love being a school psychologist practitioner…and the job has changed incredibly over [the past two decades],” Price said, detailing the seismic shifts that have occurred during the course of her tenure: “Students are now facing challenges that didn't exist before the development of social media. There is a stronger emphasis on equity and social justice issues; in addition, social emotional learning and mental health and wellness have come to the forefront in education—[rendering] our job more important than ever.” 

The NASP SPY Award seeks to recognize the exceptional contributions and dedication of school psychologists who go above and beyond to support the well-being and success of children—not unlike the 1,200 high school students with whom Price works. 

"Dr. Price is the type of school psychologist that every student deserves to have and is a model for what every school psychologist should strive to become," said Dr. Matthew Dubois, President of the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association (MSPA), a state-wide organization that named Price School Psychologist of the Year in mid October. 

“I've been fortunate to have had the support of my district administrators [who have] encouraged me to expand my role and have supported my leadership and professional development journey,” said Price of Jeffrey Szymaniak, superintendent; Dr. Christopher Jones, principal; Dave Floeck, assistant principal. She also thanked Dr. Nikki Schneeweis, Colleen Madigan, Lauren Mathisen, Colleen Farrow and Laura Lander for their enthusiastic support over the years. 

“I've also had the good fortune of learning from the best colleagues and mentors as well,” said Price, calling her school psychology colleagues at Whitman-Hanson “among the best in the country” before recognizing others at UMASS-Boston and William James College—especially Drs. Joan Struzziero, Jason Kaplan, Andria Amador, Melissa Pearrow, Barbara Miller and Gail Macklem.

“Wendy has achieved so much, and being named School Psychologist of the Year on a national level is a crowning achievement,” said Struzziero, noting that no practitioner from Massachusetts has ever received this award. “As the past president of the National Association of School Psychologists, a position she held during the year of COVID (2020-21), Wendy served as steward of this massive organization during the time of its most critical and unprecedented need,” Struzziero added.

In her remarks, Price pointed to her affiliation with both MSPA and NASP as having offered, “numerous opportunities to develop my leadership abilities, improve my advocacy skills, learn more about the practice and the field of school psychology and how to best help kids,” before acknowledging that nothing she does in her professional life “is not supported, recognized and celebrated by my wonderful family.”

Price pursued a seemingly unconventional path to her current position. After earning her BA in developmental psychology, Price stayed home with her children for nearly a decade before seeking a field that matched their school schedule. A chance meeting with a school psychologist, while working as a paraprofessional in a local elementary school, served to set her on a path in education. Price spent more than a dozen years working with students (while concurrently working toward her MEd and CAGS in school psychology), before deciding to pursue her PsyD from William James. As part of her clinical training, Price did a one-year clinical internship at Walden Behavioral Care (a preeminent eating disorder clinic) that ultimately informed her practice working with high school students. 

“I've been able to be a bridge between eating disorder facilities and [Whitman-Hanson Regional High School],” said Price, pointing to numerous vulnerable students she has been able to support by working in concert with their care providers to craft a transition back to school. A common thread in her ongoing conversations with young people hinges on her belief that one’s physical and mental health need to be healthy and stable before any academic learning can occur—a mantra that bears repeating in today’s post-COVID landscape.

“When we opened the schools again [after a period of online learning], there was a large population of kids who had to start from square one, and we had to coax them back,” said Price who is thankful for her school’s transition program—one that partners with families to promote healing, wellness and academic success for teens returning to school following a prolonged absence.

“For over 20 years, Wendy has been an extremely dedicated and conscientious school psychologist whose commitment to students in the field is remarkable,” said Kaplan of his classmate at UMASS-Boston. Price, who was in her 30s when she went back to graduate school and 50 when she earned her doctorate, is quick to dispel the myth that one’s education—and by extension career path—need unfold in a certain timeframe.

“You’re never too old, or too far away from your training, to go back and learn more—especially in school psychology,” Price said, citing a dearth of practitioners across the country. For everyone from recent high school graduates to mature students, Price offers some parting wisdom: “For anyone with an interest in psychology, who wants to work in schools and make a difference in kids' lives, school psychology is absolutely the perfect profession.”

NOTE: The achievements of Price and Dr. Stephen Brock, who was honored with the NASP Lifetime Achievement Award, exemplify the highest standards of professional conduct and serve as inspirations to their colleagues. The awards will be presented at NASP's annual convention, slated for February 14-17 in New Orleans.


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