Presidential Perspective

Piloting Postive Change


Dear ISPA Members,

What a crazy year it has been.  I do not know about you, but I’m exhausted, and it isn’t even December yet.  Why is that?  Why are so many colleagues and myself feeling the exhaustion of May... in November?  In this unique time, we are dealing with a lot of expectations.  The social-emotional needs of our students have skyrocketed, referrals are in massive numbers, and finding a minute to eat lunch at work is impossible.  So where does that leave us?  Exhausted, overworked, and burnt-out.

I am honored to be your ISPA President for this unique year.  The year after remote learning and after the pandemic closed down the world.  I am here to tell you that we can change the “exhausted, overworked, burnt-out” story.  My theme for this year is “Piloting Positive Change”.  This theme is built using the cornerstone of Positive Psychology.  Positive Psychology was founded by Martin Seligman (more information on Positive Psychology here).  This philosophy encourages you to identify your strengths.  Using your strengths to make positive changes, instead of focusing solely on your weaknesses.  I feel that using aspects of Positive Psychology will assist us (School Psychologists) as leaders in Piloting Positive Change in our profession.  This year, with this perspective in mind, our Governing Board has chosen to focus on four priority areas: 

1.)  Utilize and publicize the importance of the newly updated NASP Practice Model 

2.) Assist Illinois School Psychologists in marketing the critical components of our role to all of our stakeholders.

3.) Address School Psychologist shortages and assist stakeholders in determining solutions for these shortages

4.) Improve upon our ISPA organizational excellence/leadership.

I challenge/encourage you to be a part of Piloting Positive Change.  In order to survive daily exhaustion, we need to make a change.  I encourage you to talk to stakeholders, encourage solutions to assist in School Psychologist shortages, and rebrand the role of the School Psychologist using the newly updated NASP Practice Model.  Can you Pilot Positive Change in your community?  What personal strengths can you utilize in making this happen?  Join ISPA leadership in the charge of fighting for our profession and Piloting Positive Change. 

Additional Side Note:

I have had the honor of working with amazing people on the ISPA governing board for approximately 5 years now.  These people are working tirelessly to help all of the School Psychologists in our state in many ways.  Are you interested in being a part of this change at the Governing Board level? Reach out!  Our governing board has our hands in every aspect of Piloting Positive Change.  We welcome your ideas/inspiration to make our Governing Board, our profession, and our state the best it can be!  An easy first step is to Join a Committee.  Click here to see a list of committee options.  Seriously, I know you have strengths that would be beneficial to the Governing Board. We are excited to meet you.


How will you Pilot Positive Change?


Sharon Gwaltney, NCSP


Illinois School Psychologists Association

[email protected]