The New York Association of School Psychologists (NYASP) unanimously chose Dr. Carolyn McGuffog, Director of Educational Services for the Pleasantville School District, as the recipient of its Gil Trachtman Leadership Award in School Psychology. The award recognizes “a school psychologist who has made a significant contribution to the field of School Psychology by virtue of teaching, research or supervision.” Dr. McGuffog received the award at a special luncheon on October 25 as part of NYASP’s annual conference, which is being held this year in White Plains.
Dr. McGuffog began her career in Pleasantville over twenty years ago as a school psychologist – first at Bedford Road School and then at Pleasantville High School. In this role, she evaluated students, supervised interns, led counseling groups, and consulted with classroom teachers and the special education staff. In July 2005, Dr. McGuffog became the Director of Educational Services, creating and supervising in-district special education programs for high needs students to replace costlier, out-of-district programs and providing instructional leadership and professional development to her staff as well as general education teachers. Dr. McGuffog, who earned a Ph.D. in Psychology and an Ed.D. in Education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, also educates future school psychologists as an adjunct professor at Fordham.
Pleasantville High School psychologist Dr. Debra Green nominated Dr. McGuffog for the NYASP leadership award, recently renamed in honor of Dr. Gil Trachtman, who was chairman of the NYU School Psychology Program and her mentor. The nomination was supported by statements from colleagues and parents, including the following: Tara Klein, co-founder and past president of the district’s Special Education PTA (SEPTA), noted, “Dr. McGuffog’s innovation, leadership and proactive stance towards delivery of services are unparalleled.” Bedford Road School principal Peggy Galotti said, “I have worked with Carolyn for the past twenty one years and she is without a doubt one of the most innovative and brightest professionals in the field of education.” Superintendent of Schools Mary Fox-Alter summed up, “On both a personal and professional level, Dr. McGuffog has developed a stellar reputation. She is an extremely distinguished psychologist, an excellent adjunct professor, a gifted presenter and an incredible educator. Her impact on the lives of children has been exponential.”