The behavioral professional of year will be announced next month.

State behavioral health worker of year to be named June 8

Jarek Rutz Headlines, Education

The behavioral professional of year will be announced next month.

The behavioral professional of year will be announced next month.

One of 20 nominees from each district and a charter school will be named 2023 Delaware Behavioral Health Professional of the Year June 8 at a ceremony in Dover. 

School behavioral specialists are typically psychologists, counselors, social workers or nurses. 

They assist teachers by working one-on-one with students who might be disruptive, students who are disengaged due to something like ADHD, or any other behavioral interferences to a child’s learning. 

“Behavioral health professionals are critical to the success of our schools and communities,” said Mark Holodick, secretary of education at the Department of Education. 

These workers are often working with Delaware’s children and families when they are the most vulnerable, Holodick said. 

“They help them navigate struggles and find the resources and supports they need to be healthy and successful in school and life,” he said. 

Each finalist earns $2,000, and the winner will get $10,000 – $5,000 to pocket and $5,000 for the educational benefit of their students.

In 2021, the Delaware State Behavioral Health Professional of the Year Program was established by the 151st General Assembly and the first award was given out in 2022.

The inaugural winner was Rosa DiPiazza, a psychologist at Mispillion Elementary School in the Milford School District.

To be eligible for a nomination, the candidate must: have at least three years experience as a behavioral health professional, hold a certification or licensure credential through the Department of Education and/or the Professional Regulation Board and continue to serve in a behavioral health position for the award year. 

This year’s finalists are: 

Carlton Adams – social worker at Appoquinimink at several locations 

Heather Richards – psychologist at Brandywine’s Harlan Elementary School

Emily White – mental health counselor at Caesar Rodney’s Fifer Middle School

Tara Gambale – psychologist at Cape Henlopen’s Sussex Consortium

Jennifer Marciarello Benson – behavior interventionist at Capital’s William Henry Middle School

Trudy Small – nurse at Christina’s Downes Elementary School

Courtney Waters – family support therapist at Colonial’s New Castle Elementary School

Cynthia Hovan – nurse at the Academy of Dover Charter School

Nicole LaPearl – psychologist and special services coordinator at Delmar Middle and High schools

Jessi Ford – counselor at Indian River’s Showell Elementary School

Dana Carey – counselor at Lake Forest North Elementary School

Sharon Dolby – counselor at Laurel Elementary School

Ally Zanks – counselor at Milford’s Lulu Ross Elementary School

Mark W. Wells – social emotional learning coach and counselor at New Castle County Vo-Tech

Ivy Truitt – counselor at POLYTECH High School

Lauren Lee – psychologist at Red Clay at several locations

Evan Wagner – counselor at Seaford’s Blades Elementary School

Jessica Krambeck – psychologist at Smyrna’s Early Childhood Program

Catherine Schilling – mental health counselor at Sussex Technical High School

Trisha Stiles – counselor at Woodbridge High School

Find photos of the honorees online here.

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