FHSU’s Paige wins 4th major award from nat'l school psychologists

FHSU press release
Fort Hays State University's Leslie Paige

Fort Hays State University’s Leslie Paige has won the Presidential Award from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) for the fourth time.

Paige, director of the Office of Scholarships and Sponsored Projects at FHSU, was honored at last month’s NASP annual convention for her exceptional service in the field of school psychology. The immediate past president of the professional organization, Paige has been an active member since 1979. She also won Presidential Awards in 2001, 2007, and 2017.

This year’s convention was held online, and more than 9,000 were able to participate – the most ever in the 52-year history of the organization.

It’s a common practice for the reigning president to honor several members with the presidential award for their work during the previous year.  While Paige’s year as president ended in June 2020, she has been busy with responsibilities as the immediate past president.

“The first half of my year as president was very typical,” she said, “and the second half was like building a plane while we were flying it, with the online pivot because of the pandemic.”

Paige was surprised and honored when the president of NASP contacted her before the official announcement during the convention and told her about her award.

NASP represents more than 25,000 school psychologists, graduate students, and related professionals throughout the United States and 25 other countries. It is the world’s largest organization of school psychologists and works to advance effective practices to improve students’ learning, behavior, and mental health.

Paige said one of the most rewarding aspects of her time as president was how everyone pulled together during the pandemic.

“In a crisis, we can’t be expected to do work as usual. We have to be able to provide support for people,” she said. “For years, a lot of graduate educator faculty and school psychology programs believed you can’t teach psychology online. I have always thought, ‘Yes you can.’ This spring, in an incredibly short amount of time, we were able to continue our advocacy work through webinars. It was the worst of times and the best of times.”

Paige has held other leadership positions on the NASP board of directors, including treasurer and secretary. She has chaired and co-chaired numerous committees, including awards, leadership development, ethics, professional development, and publications. She has also been a member of the PREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training Curriculum workgroup and the Strategic Planning committees.

During Paige’s year serving as president, the NASP launched several initiatives in the areas of social justice, equity, and diversity.

During her final few months as immediate past president, Paige will help complete ongoing initiatives. Beginning with the organization’s new year in June, Paige will begin serving as chair of NASP’s Professional Growth Committee. She will also help plan the 2022 convention.