Carroll ISD’s lead school psychologist, Stephanie White, has always been passionate about helping students learn how to succeed in a school environment. A few years ago, she was able to make it her career.
“I had been a teacher as well as an assistant principal, and I had started encountering students with challenges that I didn’t quite know how to address,” White said. “So I started looking at other options to go back to graduate school to find out how I could help students. I came across school psychology and I decided to pursue it.”
The shift in careers required seven years of graduate school, where White received masters degrees in both special education and psychology. School psychologists are also required to complete a 1200-hour internship and specialist training in order to be certified, which White completed all the while working a full time job. As a licensed specialist in school psychology (LSSP), White spends a lot more time working, making sure that she does her job well and is able to help students in the best way possible.
“This job requires a lot more time and energy, as I’m working with students all throughout the day. There’s a lot of paperwork and report writing that we have to get done, and I often end up taking that home with me,” White said. “The needs of students are greater and how I help them is greater, so it requires a little more time and energy.”
As the lead school psychologist in Carroll, White works with the administration to make sure that there is consistency throughout the district in how the LSSPs handle different situations.
“I work more with the administration to make sure we have procedures and guidelines that lead the team to bring more cohesiveness to what we do,” White said. “Everyone has different ways of doing things, but we want to have some consistency throughout the district. I assist with any problem solving that needs to occur for specific students or situations that come up as well as provide mentoring or training for new LLSPs as well.”
White’s work schedule can often be hectic as she works with several different students, along with meeting with administration to improve the program.
“Two days are never ever the same, which is kind of fun and definitely rewarding,” White said. “Some days I’m doing counseling and seeing students, some I’m in meetings with teachers and administrators, coming up with solutions for students and some days I’m doing assessments of students.”
White knows that what she’s doing is making a difference in many struggling students lives.
“I want to help students find success at school and just being more comfortable interacting with their peers or teachers,” White said. “Just seeing students be more successful in school makes this whole job very rewarding.”
Although Carroll has five school psychologists within the district, there are more LSSPs retiring than are entering the workforce. White hopes to inspire to more students considering psychology to specialize in school psychology.
“It’s an extremely rewarding career, and a lot of job security which is good,” White said. “We learn a lot about education and how students learn and we bridge the gap between psychology and all of the science related to the brain and how it functions. The need for school psychologists is just so great because mental health concerns have increased so much with youth today. We need to have additional mental health support in school settings.”