Celebrating 50 Years of Service to Children
Congratulations Kathy Gaskey, Kansas School Psychologist of the Year.
“I am pleased with an opportunity to write a letter of support for Kathy (Elder) Gaskey for Kansas School Psychologist of the Year. As a KASP member since 1982 (and former KASP President), I am well aware of the contributions of all of the well qualified nominees, and realize you have difficult choices to make in this selection.
I have known Kathy since her days here at PSU in the mid-80’s. In fact, she was in the very first ‘cohort’ when I began as Director of the School Psych program here at Pittsburg State University. I think her graduation date was 1985. I recall her academic work was outstanding, characterized by her typically conscientious approach to her work and her ability to differentiate essential from nonessential issues.
Kathy Gaskey was a leader then, and has remained so throughout her career. She first went to Topeka, then after several years, moved to her present district, Shawnee Mission. While at PSU, she was an excellent student, and one of the things I recall best about her is the degree of self-direction she showed. Kathy needed little supervision because she invariably knew what to do because she prepared herself for working a profession that demands self-direction. Other graduate students routinely sought her for academic advice as well as personal issues. She truly was one of the students that made a difference in the quality of an entire cohort. Her excellent academic skills and expectations of others set standards that influenced the other School Psych students. I think it’s a short putt to imagine the same dynamics at work in her schools, with teachers, administrators and others all ‘ramping up’ to a higher level so they will not disappoint Kathy at an upcoming meeting. And the beautiful thing of it is that Kathy does not accomplish this through any coercion or threat of SPED law. She simply sets a higher standard everyone wants to be associated with. When Kathy is involved, everyone involved expects to steps up a couple of notches professionally. She brings out the best in everyone, professionally and personally. You want to be on her team.
I have maintained a collegial relationship with Kathy across the past 25 years, and have been humbled by her continued contributions and leadership across the years as she married, raised her children, and continued to serve Kansas students. Her overriding honor is to do right by the students whose welfare is entrusted to her. Kathy is an excellent steward of that trust and responsibility. Many in the public schools become desensitized to the effects of labeling and the identification process. Not Kathy—she has always understood the nature and impact of her work, and is one of the most professionally responsible School Psychologists I’ve ever known.
Although Kathy has not been the designated supervisor for a PSU Intern, she has participated in Supervision with a PSU Intern on a couple of occasions, and of course confirming my opinion of her standard setting contributions.
In 31 years in Kansas School Psychology, I have never seen a KASP School Psych of the Year awarded go to anyone who seemed undeserving. Every single honoree (and those nominated as well) deserves recognition for tireless dedication, service, and leadership. And there is some data to support this claim. We currently have three National School Psychologists of the year from our Kansas. So we must be doing something right. As a matter of fact, I recall one of Kathy’s Practicum Supervisors was Debbie Post Potter, the most recent NASP School Psych of the Year from Kansas.
I do not know who else has been nominated for this honor, and am confident their contributions have been many. I do know that if Kathy Elder Gaskey is designated as KASP School Psychologist of the Year, it is a wise choice. She is the epitome of professional practice and a shining example for all of us. She has sustained a level of professional dedication and caring few of us can match. She has tirelessly worked for children’s mental health and academic success. The other aspect is that she will continue to be the best Ambassador that KASP could ever hope for in terms of representing the ideals of our discipline.”
Warm congratulations to Kathy from your colleagues at KASP!
Congratulations Dr. Nancy McKellar, awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dr. McKellar began her career over 40 years ago as an elementary school special education teacher, then as a Vision Consultant teaching in Missouri and Illinois. She returned to school getting her doctorate in school psychology at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. A few years later, she began her lifelong career at Wichita State University. She continues to maintain her licensure as an elementary teacher and teacher of the visually impaired.
Over the course of her career, Dr. McKellar has published over 30 articles on topics ranging from RtI to Inclusion to students in foster care. She is a frequent presenter at the state, regional and national level with over 75 paper presentations. She was the Co-Director of Project Lights, a grant from the US Dept. of Education which trained educators to work with students with autism spectrum disorders.
Dr. McKellar has worked on several projects with KSDE over the years, and has been a consultant to several school districts in and around Wichita.
In addition to her membership in several professional organizations, she has been a KASP member for nearly 30 years. Her service to KASP has included serving on various committees and as an elected board member. In 1994, our recipient served as KASP’s President and was awarded KASP’s School Psychologist of the Year in 1998.
A number of you know our recipient as their school psychology professor. For many years Dr. McKellar has been training and supervising school psychologists in our field. Her passion for working with children is also apparent in her many examples of community service, not only locally, but through her church in locations far away from Kansas, as in Juneau, Alaska!
Warm congratulations to Dr. Nancy McKellar from the members of KASP!
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