The rarely presented “Friend of Children Award” from the Wisconsin School Psychologists Association (WSPA) has been given to Doug White, recently retired director of the Student Services / Prevention and Wellness team at the Department of Public Instruction.
“Doug taught me that a state agency can truly be a leader in positive systems change,” said WSPA President John Humphries, who served at the DPI for seven years after initially working as a school psychologist.
WSPA Past-President Betty DeBoer called White “a committed supporter of children” and noted his advocacy for school psychologists’ insight and professionalism.
Also instrumental in the award were White’s leadership in promoting alternatives to exclusionary discipline, in advancing Wisconsin’s drop-early warning system (DEWS), and in bringing the Youth Risk Behavior Survey online; as well as his authorship of many successful grants for matters such as school violence prevention, emergency management, and the new, unified vision known as the Wisconsin School Mental Health Framework (which will soon be revealed on the DPI's School Mental Health page).
In recent years, only two other people have received the group’s Friend of Children Award: U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (ret.) and former Governor Jim Doyle. The award recognizes “policy makers, elected officials, and public servants who have made a significant contribution to children, education, children’s mental health, and/or the field of school psychology.”