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College of Education alumna named state’s 2017 top school psychologist

Amy Pierce is pictured (left) receiving the GASP award from her supervisor Danny Hicks at a recognition ceremony held by Banks County School System.

Georgia Southern University College of Education alumna Amy Pierce (‘08,’10) was named School Psychologist of the Year by the Georgia Association of School Psychologists (GASP) during the organization’s 47th annual fall conference in Jekyll Island, Georgia held Oct.16-18.

This annual award recognizes an outstanding school psychologist in the state by examining the individual’s range of psychological services, job performance, respect of fellow coworkers, students and parents, and a demonstrated pride of the school psychology career.

The school psychologist for Banks County School System in Homer, Georgia, Pierce is a two-time graduate of the University with a master’s and specialist degree in school psychology. Prior to earning her graduate degrees at Georgia Southern, Pierce was working in the community mental health field in Maine.

“I loved my job,” she said, “but I felt I wanted to pursue something more.”

Relocating to southeast Georgia, Pierce chose Georgia Southern to assist her in reaching her new career goals. The school psychology program not only trained her for her career but provided a long-lasting network that she still utilizes today.

“I always felt like my cohort was a very close-knit group,” she said. “We have all stayed in contact over the years and collaborate with each other regularly, making us all better professionals. Additionally, the school psychology professors [at Georgia Southern] have always been so supportive, and they continue to be great colleagues to this day.”

School Psychology Professor Terry Diamanduros, Ph.D., said all the program’s faculty were very excited to learn of Pierce’s award.

“We are proud of Amy’s accomplishments since she graduated from the school psychology program at Georgia Southern University,” said Diamanduros. “She was a stellar student in the program and that level of excellence has continued in her work as a school psychologist in the field as well as her role as a school psychology internship field supervisor and her service on the Georgia Association of School Psychologist Executive Board.”

Pierce serves on the GASP Executive Board as the Regional 5 representative and is the current co-editor of the organization’s newsletter, The Dialogue.

In a letter of recommendation supporting Pierce for the award, her supervisor Danny Hicks, Ed.S., director of student services for Banks County School System said that she is a “valued consultant, professional trainer and researcher of varied school-based activities and projects related to improving student achievement.”

He also noted that Pierce is known for her willingness to volunteer to take on additional school-wide responsibilities, supervise school psychology interns and promote school psychology as a career by attending job fairs at the local high school.

“I was immediately impressed with her enthusiasm for the practice of school psychology, her interpersonal skills and dedication to the school system,” said Hicks.

Pierce said she is both honored and overwhelmed by the recognition.

“There are so many wonderful school psychologists in this state who work daily to improve the lives of everyone they come in contact with,” she said. “I have worked very hard during my short time as a practitioner, and I have the utmost respect and passion for the field of school psychology and my fellow school psychology colleagues.”

The GASP strives to provide school psychologist in the state of Georgia with the highest level of support and professional training to enable them to remain effective in a dynamic educational environment. The only state professional organization representing the field of school psychology, GASP provides valuable resources to their members including research opportunities, PLU hours, NCSP credits, regional and local workshops and conferences.

To learn more about a career in school psychology and the Ed.S. in School Psychology degree program, visit http://coe.georgiasouthern.edu/espy

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