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2014 Early Career Award - Rachel Binnix

Remarks from OSPA Awards Committee Co-Chair Cindy Thompson

I would like to welcome everyone to the 2014 Ohio School Psychologists Association Fall Awards Banquet. I am Cindy Thompson, co-chair of the Awards Committee. Today we are here to honor two school psychologists for their excellence and achievements in the field of school psychology.

Our first award is intended to acknowledge the accomplishments of school psychologists in the first five years of their career. Winners of this award demonstrate a commitment to the practice and promotion of school psychology, research, and advocacy. Membership in local, state, and national organizations, presentation of research at professional conferences, and participation in volunteer and advocacy events are all considered.

Today the OSPA Awards Committee would like to recognize the Fall 2014 Early Career Award Winner, Rachel Binnix. Rachel is being presented this award because of her commitment and dedication to becoming an exemplary early career school psychologist. Rachel has achieved experience in mental health services, behavioral and academic interventions, and is highly involved in her regional association, even prior to becoming a ‘full-fledged’ psychologist. For her commitment to the profession and participation in professional development and student advocacy, the Ohio School Psychologists Association Executive Board is honored to present Rachel with the 2014 Early Career Award.

Remarks from Rachel Binnix

It is such an honor to be the recipient of this award. I would like to thank the OSPA executive board and the awards committee for making this possible for early career school psychologists. As I stand here today, extremely humbled that I am being recognized for this award, I am fully aware that I did not make this journey alone, and that this would not be happening without the support of so many caring, inspirational and wonderful people that have helped shape my life. With that being said, I would like to thank a few of these amazing people whose support is the reason I am up here today.

First, I want to thank a few of my district’s administrators including the special education director, Melissa Theis; the building principals, Doug Mescher and Barbara Gardecki; and the superintendent, Dr. Rusty Clifford; for believing in me and for helping me become a stronger leader. I feel very fortunate to be able to work alongside such a fantastic, supportive, group of individuals who allow me to be creative in my position as a school psychologist, and whom I learn so much from every day.

Second, I want to thank Dr. Susan Davies, because I am really only trying to do everything I was taught to do in graduate school. So if I am doing what is expected of me or anything beyond that, it is only because that is the way I was taught. So thank you, Dr. Davies, for giving me and all of your students a solid foundation that would allow us to go out into the real world as successful school psychologist practitioners.

Speaking of teachers, I am especially grateful for the teacher, the friend, the practicum and internship supervisor, and the mentor I have found in Lynn Brumfield. Lynn has taught me so much over the years. Most of all, she has taught me that caring about the students we work with comes first, above all else. At times, that means countless hours of work, outside of school hours, to be able to truly meet the social, emotional and academic needs of the students we work with. Lynn also helped me recognize the importance of being actively involved with the regional, state and national associations of school psychologists. I am so grateful to be a part of these organizations that I continue to learn from each and every day. I am also so appreciative that, within these organizations, I have found so many other school psychologists to turn to when I have stories to share or questions to ask.

Finally, I want to express my gratitude to members of my family including my current and most important teacher, my 15 month old daughter. She has taught me more and enriched my life beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I want to thank my sister for her love, support and encouragement to always strive to be a better person. I would also like to thank my parents who have been a positive influence, and who taught me the value of a solid education and a strong work ethic early on in my life.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank my husband for being so supportive through all of this. Without him, I would certainly not be standing here today. From graduate school, through internship and now as a practicing school psychologist, he has managed to stick with me through it all. Each year, I am almost certain that I have made promises suggesting that work will be less time consuming this year than it was the previous year. Those promises have not exactly held true, as this career is not any less time consuming now than when it first began. In fact, I am pretty certain I am finding more and more to do as the years progress, but I am so appreciative of him understanding my profession and understanding why I make the choice to do this every day. I do this because we, as school psychologists, are making a difference in the futures of so many children, and I am beyond grateful that I have the opportunity to do this and even more grateful that he gets it.

Thank you again for this recognition. It means so much to me, and I assure you that I will strive to be worthy of all it signifies in my early career and beyond.

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