Presidential Perspective


July 2022 

Dear ISPA Members, 

I’d like to start by saying thank you for putting your trust in me to lead ISPA for the next year. It is a great honor and one that I do not take lightly. I hope to follow in the footsteps of the many outstanding previous ISPA presidents. Speaking of, I would like to thank Sharon Gwaltney for her excellent leadership over the past year. Sharon navigated many challenges during her presidential year and she handled her responsibilities with the utmost care and thoughtfulness. I would also like to welcome Dr. Katherine Campbell as ISPA President-Elect. I look forward to working with Katherine and Sharon as the presidential team this year to continue to provide excellent leadership not only to ISPA members but to all school psychologists in Illinois. 

My relationship with ISPA began when I was in graduate school at Loyola University Chicago. I had the very fortunate opportunity to learn from several long standing ISPA leaders and professors in my program and started to understand the value of what a state association can bring to our daily practice. I have continued my ISPA membership and been eager to participate in ISPA leadership as our state association has the potential to play a significant role in the way that we provide services and in the resources that are allocated at the state level that help us to serve students. It was not just my own experience in graduate school and as an ISPA member that helped shape my perspective on association membership. I grew up watching my father volunteer his time as a member and leader in several community and professional organizations over the course of his career and into his retirement. While his field is different from mine (the security industry), I learned that valuable connections are made and critical advocacy occurs as a result of participation in these associations. Since joining the ISPA Governing Board several years ago, I have seen first hand how hard ISPA works to advocate for legislation and resources that will allow school psychologists in Illinois to best serve students.

Over the course of the past year, while serving ISPA in the President-Elect role, I thought a lot about what I hoped to achieve during my time as president. Without a doubt, the past two years have been challenging in ways that many of us have never before experienced. There has been a need to adapt on a near constant basis and often, that meant putting aside long-term goals in order to address the immediate needs. While pandemic related issues continue to influence our practice, we are in a much different place than we were two years ago. In some ways, things have returned to pre-pandemic operations while in other ways, we have adapted to new ways of doing things. With this in mind, it has been my strong desire to refocus efforts on ISPA’s strategic goals while keeping in mind the lessons we have learned a long the way. I believe my presidential theme of Renewal through Reflection captures this sentiment appropriately. ISPA spent a great deal of time pre-pandemic identifying and refining the priority areas of 1) aligning practices in Illinois with the NASP Practice Model; 2) supporting school psychologists and other stakeholders in Illinois; 3) addressing shortages of school psychologists in our state; and 4) developing leadership and striving for organizational excellence. In my time as ISPA President, I plan to help the organization refocus our efforts with a focus on social justice and leadership development. I hope to help lead ISPA in ensuring that our organization puts social justice at the forefront of our work and that we are recruiting and developing strong leadership so that ISPA can continue to best serve a diverse community of school psychologists for many years to come. 

It is difficult to think about future work to support school psychologists without acknowledging the many ways in which educators and students in Illinois are impacted by recent tragedies and political division in our state and in our country. ISPA intends to lead from a data-driven perspective that centers student needs. We will continue to advocate for our profession and our students with these values in mind. 

Finally, I would like to encourage any ISPA members to please reach out if you have any questions or feedback to share. ISPA would not exist without our members and we aim to provide high quality advocacy and professional development that meet your needs. 

Thank you, 

Bridget Bucklin, Ed.S., NCSP
Illinois School Psychologists Association 
[email protected]