Lori Unruh, coordinator of Western Carolina University’s School Psychology Graduate Program, was recipient of a President’s Award for Exceptional Service to Children and School Psychology during the 2016 annual convention of the National Association for School Psychologists held in New Orleans in mid-February.

Each year, a reception is held during the convention for the NASP president, with other association leaders attending, Unruh said. Six to eight of those leaders receive the award during that event in recognition of their previous year’s work for the association.

‪Unruh has been involved with NASP leadership for six years, beginning as the elected North Carolina delegate to the Leadership Assembly, also serving for five of those years as a delegate representative on the board of directors. In 2014, she ran for NASP president, and though not elected, was appointed by the board to one of four strategic liaison positions, in which she has served for the past year.

Her work over the past years included responsibility for association activities related to addressing shortages in school psychology faculty, one of four key initiatives identified by NASP and named this year as a top priority. “Efforts are underway to collect national data on shortages and a task force has been set up to begin identifying strategies for addressing the shortages,” Unruh said.

“It was great to be honored in this way among my fellow NASP leaders and to know that the work I have been doing is appreciated,” she said. “I anticipate that I will continue to have many more years of professional involvement with NASP – including the possibility of another run for president.”

The award was her first from the national association. Unruh also is involved in the North Carolina School Psychology Association and was honored as the NCSPA Practitioner of the Year in 2002. She served as the state organization’s secretary, president-elect, president, and past-president before becoming the NCSPA’s delegate to the NASP.

“I continue to be involved with NCSPA as the chair of the leadership development and strategic planning committee,” Unruh said. “Professional involvement at the state and national level is very important and rewarding to me.”