***Post written by Joe Palladino, Central Representative and Legislative Chair for WSPA***
I went to grad school in Ohio and the head of my department in grad school (Gladys Anderson, PhD) was a early member of NASP. As she told us NASP was formed by mostly Ohio School Psychology Association members and she felt it was important that all of us soon-to-be school psychs became members of NASP. Like the good grad student that I was I joined NASP that first year. It seemed like a good idea. I even went to the NYC Convention along with the next convention in San Diego. My first job was in West Virginia and there was no school psychologist association. I was invited to a meeting to help form the organization for West Virginia, and even though I worked with one of those participants (Alex Thomas) at NASP Conventions and became lifelong friends with another (Ron Sims), I only spent a year in WV before moving to Wyoming.
Wyoming did not have an association but there was interest at a CEC conference to form one. In the fall of 1978 the Wyoming School Psychology Association was formed, at a meeting at Jerry Lewis’s house in Cheyenne. Names I can remember from that first meeting were Lou Brown and Charlie Smith. That first attempt really just set the stage for the next step, which was another founding of the same organization a few years later. By that time, I had lost interest in organizing and did not attend that organizational meeting. That one did take and WSPA was off and running. I believe Sandy Dennis was one of those second-generation founders and was elected president. Those early founding members have either moved on, retired, or passed away.
A special education director from Rock Springs (Arnie Lange) got the idea to have a Summer Institute, and that became the next step in the maturation of WSPA. I stayed away because organizing and organization work did not seem like much fun. WSPA clicked along for a few years and I did go to a workshop put on by WSPA in Casper. There I met Floyd Benitz, a school psych from Mt. View, who was the WSPA president and had taken the next step of writing bylaws and organizing a bit more. He instituted Regional Representatives as a way of getting people involved, and it worked.
The next step I can remember was going to a Summer Institute held at C-V School in Jackson. That conference planner was Bob Bayuk. Carol Kramer was there and some others whose names I cannot recall. That really began the modern era of WSPA. Putting on two conferences a year was our “charter” and then the prospect of potentially changing WDE Certifications law to allow for Master’s level School Psychologists became our next rallying point.
I doubt that anyone remembers that the original name of WSPA used the word Psychology rather than Psychologist. That was because most of the member were not certified school psychologists, as certification only allowed for doctoral level school psychs. I hope that some of the other ‘OLD” members will fill in the blanks on these early years, and further hope that you all have not been too bored by my musings about the history of WSPA. I am hoping to address the certification fight in another blog, and would like those participants like Servio Carroll, Bob Bayuk, Pat Loper, Carol Kramer, JoAnn Bartsch, Charlie Smith, and other to do the same. It would be nice to have some sort of good history of WSPA.