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MASP 2021-2022 PRESIDENT-ELECT

MASP will be holding an election for the position of President-Elect! Voting begins June 1st and ends June 15th.

According to MASP's Bylaws (which can be found on the Member Services page), the President-Elect will:

  • Serve as an officer and member of the Executive Board.
  • Serve as chairperson of the Executive Board in the absence of the President.
  • Succeed the President when (s)he can no longer serve, assuming the duties of President until the time of the next regularly scheduled election.

Per MASP By-Laws, voting rights are reserved for regular and retired members only. Members must be in good standing with their membership paid for the current membership year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). MASP's Election Policies and Procedures also stipulate a person must become a MASP member at least three weeks before the start of the election to be eligible to vote (2020-2021 membership must have been paid by May 10, 2021).

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 maspelection@gmail.com.

Thank you to the Nominations and Elections Committee for running this election: Jim Babcock, Amanda Buckley, Cheryl O'Heir, Mary MacLennan, Abi Ordway, and Kim Shur. 

Voting begins June 1st and ends June 15th.


MEET THE PRESIDENT-ELECT CANDIDATES

Lisa Backman

What is your professional experience? 

Since 1999, I have been a school-based practitioner at RSU 14 Windham-Raymond School District. My professional experience includes providing diverse responsibilities to multiple schools. I currently serve approximately 12,500 learners in kindergarten through 5th grades. Additional experiences include teaching assessment course on-line and on-campus for St. Joseph's College of Maine. For multiple years, I have participated on two MASP committees (GPI, Professional Standards) and currently on the executive board. These positions provided opportunities to participate in the MADSEC director's rep board meetings. Additional experiences include providing professional development for my district, MASP, MADSEC, and the DOE.

Why you are interested in serving as President of MASP? 

To be completely honest, MASP president has never been a professional goal until my active participation in the association. My engagement with other Maine and NASP professionals and the opportunities to share practical experiences with the educational community have built the confidence to seek this position. Through the MASP professional work, and my life-long commitment for positive student outcomes, my passion for school psychology and commitment to the profession is strong. As MASP president, my goal would be to strengthen our profession by representing, supporting, and celebrating some of the hardest working professionals in the field of education. My broad professional experiences have evolved beyond the “traditional” school psychologist specialist, which is a valuable asset.


How would you describe your leadership style and past leadership experience?

Professionally, my goal is to lead by example and continuously learn from other influential, confident leaders. After the 2020 School Psychology of the Year recognition, one of my principals insightfully described my school leadership style as “student-focused, ethical, resourced, and collaborative”. Another principal also shared that my leadership goal is to educate and assist students, families, and colleagues. As an effective leader, I would also add that I am a diverse thinker, self-reflective, and value constructive feedback. I appreciate structure, fresh ideas, and active progress toward outcomes rather than time spent on glorifying problems.


Since 1999, I have been a school-based practitioner at RSU 14 Windham-Raymond School District. My professional leadership lends itself to providing diverse responsibilities to multiple schools. For example, my work has included RTI/MTSS consultant, providing academic and SEL professional development, and participation in many school and district-level committees. Additional experiences include participating on two MASP committees (Government & Professional Relations, Professional Standards) and the executive board, which provided opportunities to participate in the MADSEC director's representative board meetings. I also provided professional development for my community, MASP, MADSEC, and the DOE.


What experience do you have with diverse communities, what is a current primary concern, and how do you anticipate MASP supporting this concern?

My personal and professional experiences and advocacy have always concentrated on equitable access for diverse learners with disabilities. However, my focus has evolved from professional development to personal self-awareness and advocacy for all diverse communities. Some of the professional development opportunities have included understanding the culture of poverty and workshops on the assessment of English Language Learners. Each one has provided me with culturally sensitive information to assist in interviewing families and comprehensively assessing students. However, the most impactful professional development was at the Atlanta NASP convention that intentionally weaved the thread of social justice through each session. I recall a presenter highlighting her objective with an example of band- aids. She asked her audience to stand if they could buy a band-aid that matches their skin type. Some people remained seated. The week of workshops also enlightened me about implicit biases and how to look at standardized tests critically for cultural bias. Back home, I felt so passionate that I developed a presentation for my school about implicit bias. This past year, NASP and my school district have provided additional workshops that pushed my comfort level and knowledge about social justice. Personally, my family had challenging racial discussions this past summer as my nephew is black and his sister is bi-racial and recently became a cop. This was the first time we openly discussed their experiences moving to Maine from Panama. I was never prouder of both of them and realized that my presentation to my staff was too safe. Ultimately, I learned that we cannot be quiet and we need to ask tough questions to seek equity for all.


Ensuring that all members in all communities are empowered and have equitable access to educational rights continues to be a global concern. So, how could I better assist MASP as a “Disruptor”? First, I need to support MASP’s strategic goals that already address social justice in Maine. For example, an exceptional national speaker provided members with relevant and timely professional development for supporting LGBTQ+ students. However, there is a lot of continuous and intentional work yet to be done. Two primary areas are fostering protective factors in regards to mental health risks and providing equitable instructional opportunities for learners in diverse communities. As school psychologists, we have an obligation to support diverse communities by identifying social injustice trends in data and pushing status quo’s comfortable boundaries.


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?

Our profession is vast and relies on our ability to build consensus. Every one of us is a problem- solver and decision-maker and the best decisions have consensus. This work may range from professional standards to our participation in IEP meetings. While they are few and far between, there have been times when I reflect on the day and recognize that it was one where I did not “make any friends” due to following our professional and educational policies and regulations. Outcomes and decisions may not please all. However, the process to achieve them must be respectful and responsible. As a leader, one needs to have strong knowledge of the policies or components of the controversial topics. Knowing the barriers to the outcomes is critical. Yet, knowledge is not enough to build consensus. Clear, concise, and transparent communication is essential in the process. Communication also includes listening to others and their perspectives. Often, perspectives are working toward the same outcome but communication may interfere with the process. Collaborative and authentic problem-solving may then generate expected or unexpected decisions that all can accept. Ultimately, when all members actively work toward the greater good, I believe in the process and feel a consensus can be achieved.


Given the current shortage of school psychologists and the increasing number of school psychologists retiring, what ideas do you have for recruiting new school psychologists to Maine? What suggestions do you have to avoid burnout in order to retain school psychologists?

In Maine, the ratio of school psychologists to the students served is beyond the NASP recommendation of 1:500. Despite being fortunate enough to have a team of school psychologists-specialists in my district, my ratio currently hovers at the national average of 1:1211. Our professional responsibilities and these caseloads have high risks for impacting the effective delivery of academic, social-emotional, and mental health services. We are lucky to be in a state with leadership that recognizes the shortage and is actively working toward building our profession. We also have to do our part. As a MASP Professional Standards co-chair member, the school psychologists shortage has been an ongoing focus of our goals. Personally, I have supervised University of Southern Maine school psychology practicum students currently working in Maine. I have also participated in NASP sponsored professional development that focuses on our professional shortage. The recent NASP Regional Leadership Meetings provided me with concrete actions that could support the retention and recruitment of school psychologists in Maine. A couple of my favorite ideas were to have MASP members participate in high school work fairs and offer information at other associations conferences. I genuinely look forward to learning more at NASP’s Public Policy Institute in July.


Burnout is more real than ever right now. Throughout the pandemic, one of the most insightful podcasts discussed “surge capacity”. This article helped me realize that my ‘personal operating system’ may have been hacked by the pandemic. In the past year, our professional work has been harder, more time-consuming, and exhausting. My hope is that we learn to accept our limits and support each other professionally and personally. We need to trust our knowledge, have confidence, set realistic expectations for ourselves, and allow ourselves to seek help or support. But first, don’t forget to have fun. Learn from our ‘littles’, go out and play!


Jayne Boulos


What is your professional experience? 

I have a wide variety of experience with MASP, NASP and with School Psychology in Maine. I work with preschoolers through age 21. I have experience in leadership. 

Why you are interested in serving as President of MASP? 

I think MASP does a terrific job engaging members and giving professional development opportunities but we have so much more work to do. As an organization little has changed in our role since we got the title changed. We need more diversity on our board. Board members should be elected and changed. There is a strong contingency of folks who like the status quo but we need to be able to move forward and be much more progressive.

How would you describe your leadership style and past leadership experience?

Known to be the most effective leadership style is one primarily based on bottom up versus top-down approaches. I embrace a participatory, collaborative, bottom-up style, rather than a top-down authoritative approach. My past leadership at both state and national levels has prepared me well for this position. I have worked closely with MASP leadership over the past 20 years so know very well the ins and outs of this organization. As your recent past delegate to NASP, I worked closely on revising the NASP practice standards and working with national leaders on topics important to our profession. Since professional development is a key component of MASP, I will lead an effort to collaborate with School Psychology Supports, a platform which is offering frequent education on diverse topics presented by both national and state level speakers at no or extremely low cost. I will lead MASP by reopening lines of communication and support amongst members. I will lead MASP in an effort to increase overall membership; to increase committee participation by allowing members to elect their own chairs; and to foster an organizational culture characterized by acceptance and flexibility. Ten characteristics of motivational leaders are: "listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people, and building community” (Robert K Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership). I am committed to and strive toward all of these characteristics.


What experience do you have with diverse communities, what is a current primary concern, and how do you anticipate MASP supporting this concern?

Advocating for diversity begins with modeling it through diverse representation on our Executive Board. I will actively seek information from the membership around the state, as well as those certified School Psychologists, who are not currently members. As we amend our by-laws to increase diversity, we will also increase membership and the health of our organization. We must replace over representation by any particular school district or region on our Executive Board with a fair cross section of School Psychologists, especially those from northern and rural regions. My goal is to increase diverse representation at MASP, and thus address the unique needs of School Psychologists across our state.


Having worked in many public schools with large ELL populations, I have several concerns for this group including inadequate psychoeducational assessment practices, restricted access to effective instruction, and lack of understanding about language acquisition and its associated impact on academic achievement. To address these problems, MASP needs to support and advocate for the ELL community by offering professional development in three areas: 1) language acquisition to be presented in collaboration with speech and language clinicians, 2) appropriate assessment and standardized testing, and 3) effective interventions.

Having taught at UMASS Boston for over 11 years, I have extensive experience with a variety of school age and adult populations. In addition, I have worked with School Psychologist populations including those of various ages, career stages, and geographical regions. Maine people have rich backgrounds from their prior locations, and we can listen and benefit from that. We need to continue with professional development to establish Maine as a welcoming place to outsiders; we need to foster a shift in messaging and counter the "From away, go away." Under my leadership, our Executive Board will have more diverse representation; I will ensure that professional development is offered so our ELL students have benefit of appropriate assessments and interventions. Looking forward, my goals include providing a variety of types of professional development to address the needs of other diverse populations including the LGBTQ, the homeless, and our children and adolescents living at or below the poverty line.

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? I feel our current organizational structure needs some work in this area and currently, most members do not know what topics are being discussed or considered. First and foremost, in supporting collaboration and then building consensus, an organization must provide mechanisms of communication amongst its members. Conflicts and differences of option arise, multiple perspectives are healthy. We need structures in place that define the process. Restorative justice practices and trust building is needed. There needs to be a formal and fair way to offer a complaint and have that seen resolved, whether that is a complaint about ethics, racism, sexism, civil engagement or xenophobia.

Although MASP has recently reinstated access to a list of members and their work emails, the member exchange is not an option. This is an important mechanism through which members can inform and support one another by efficiently contacting all opt-in members with a single email. For example, had this mechanism been in place, it is likely that many more MASP members would have learned about a free excellent seminar on Orthographic Processing, attended by nearly three hundred diverse professionals. If members don’t like receiving emails, they can opt out, but under my leadership, the member exchange will be reopened allowing once again members to inform and support one another.

Consensus does not mean full agreement, but it does mean that opposing viewpoints are considered and heard. It is not possible to build consensuses when our membership does not know what the topics are. Building consensus begins with a commitment to transparency, honesty, fairness, non-judgment and active, earnest listening to all interested parties. In MASP’s case all members should be fully informed of the issues and provided equal opportunity to input their thoughts/opinions.

Recommending and advocating for specific policies that promote school psychology services should be one of our most important goals. This year our GPR Committee has done an admirable job in researching, tracking, understanding relevant education bills brought to our 130th Maine Legislature. The feedback I have received is that it is a huge undertaking; so many bills, so many parties involved, so many issues discussed at a variety of levels, all within a tight timeframe. In order to adequately advocate for MASP’s and NASP’s key legislative educational and mental health issues, I suggest we re-visit the hiring of a professional education-focused lobbyist to support our efforts. If we really want to make a difference for our Maine students, we have to engage a professional who can guide and support our understanding and help develop the framework to be effective. There are bills out there that MASP would be instrumental in helping shape the opinion of lawmakers (just as MePA, MEA, MPA, Maine’s Children Alliance, Speech and Language Assoc., etc.). This legislative session alone has bills addressing student hunger, provision of remedial and compensatory education for school disruption, use of seclusions and restraints, ensuring student success, examining reading programs in schools, pre-kindergarten funding, educational mandates, funding for integrating more diverse programming into curricula, and on it goes. We should be involved at a stronger level than our committee members/volunteers can possibly manage. Let’s tackle important, complex and controversial policies and issues together in a professional, effective, respectful manner.

Given the current shortage of school psychologists and the increasing number of school psychologists retiring, what ideas do you have for recruiting new school psychologists to Maine? What suggestions do you have to avoid burnout in order to retain school psychologists?

I initiated and worked hard on an Ad Hoc Committee to reduce the hurdles Maine put into place for certification. The recommendations of that Committee will hopefully be approved by the legislature soon, and as a result more School Psychologists will come here to practice. To prevent burnout, NASP recommended several strategies (2021). Those that are especially relevant in Maine include: implementing the ten domain NASP Practice Model, providing professional supervision, developing a range of recognition/reward programs, and advocating for better working conditions. We know from those applying to graduate programs here in Maine and those entering the profession that they prefer comprehensive integrated roles (i.e., the NASP ten-domain model versus the special education evaluation only focus). Yet, here in Maine School Psychologists primarily test under the auspices of special education directors. We can significantly lower burn out by ensuring that School Psychologists are fully integrated into their schools performing a variety of services. How do we get there? Education is clearly one of the ways. We need to have individual conversations with our special education directors, principals, and superintendents, as well as present at local and state-wide administrative conferences. MASP can help by developing a tool kit including a PowerPoint presentation and handouts that all members could use to educate their administrators. The Department of Education offers a seminar for all new special education directors. This seminar provides a prime opportunity for us to acquaint new directors with all of the roles that we can perform as well as advocate for professional supervision time and adequate working conditions.

To increase professional supervision, MASP would develop a bank of School Psychologists willing to provide general supervision and/or disability specific supervision. For example, there are psychologists, who specialize in autism, risk assessments, dyslexia, anxiety/depression, and visual impairments. Under my leadership, MASP would encourage, and if needed incentivize, supervision availability from these psychologists.

To increase our recognition of school psychologists, MASP would broaden its recognition beyond Executive Board members and generate several awards yearly tied to geographical areas and specialties. I also invite all members to submit their ideas on how we can further honor our colleagues. To reduce the effects of stress, I would incorporate into MASP professional development a series based on A Guide to Stress-Free Living by Amit Sood, M.D., which incorporates a wide variety of practices including attention training, gratitude, compassion, higher meaning, relaxation, and reflection.

In summary, I will continue to: work hard to reduce Maine certification obstacles, implement the comprehensive NASP Model of Practice, organize professional supervision, better work conditions, including access to appropriate workspace, sufficient testing materials, technology, professional development time, and clerical services, and introduce education on stress reduction. Last but not least, we need to relax and celebrate with one another through informal in-person gatherings where we might enjoy a hike, a sunset cruise, a picnic at the beach, and/or a volunteer effort. I will ensure that there is a balance of work and play.



Contact US

PO Box 852, Kennebunk, Maine 04043

maineasp@gmail.com

www.masponline.net




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