Psychology students and faculty receive top awards from the North Carolina School Psychology Association

At the North Carolina School Psychology Association (NCSPA) fall conference in October, three Appalachian State University Master of Arts students and a Specialist in School Psychology faculty member were given top awards.

The N.C. School Psychology Association  renamed their highest honor—the Lifetime Achievement Award—in honor of Dr. Jim Deni, a long-time faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Appalachian. The award was presented in recognition of his numerous contributions to the public schools of North Carolina and to the training of over 400 school psychologists as well as his many years of staunch leadership and service within the association.

“It’s wonderful to see Dr. Deni and the School Psychology Program recognized in this way. The ongoing need for additional practitioners in the schools continues and the faculty in the program are making sure our graduates are well prepared,” said Neva J. Specht, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences.

The 2018 Practitioner of the Year Award was given to Jennifer Reilly ’09, a school psychologist with Guilford County Schools and a graduate from the MA/Specialist in School Psychology Program at Appalachian. Materials submitted in support of her nomination detailed her involvement in numerous school- and district-level training and support teams, as well as her delivery of professional development programs to over 4,200 Guilford County School faculty and staff members.

Amy (Boger) Lowder ’03, Lead School Psychologist in Cabarrus County Schools, received the 2018 Innovative Practice Award and is a graduate of the MA/Specialist in School Psychology as well.

Appalachian’s dual Master of Arts and Specialist in School Psychology degree program provides learning experiences grounded in the scientist-practitioner model that enable graduates to become well-rounded, effective school psychologists who practice competently and ethically in all domains of school psychology and who are prepared to work effectively with diverse populations in a variety of settings.

The North Carolina School Psychology Association (NCSPA) is a professional association of over 400 NC School Psychologists. NCSPA serves its members and society by promoting the rights, welfare, education and mental health of children and youth; and advancing the profession of school psychology. To learn more about the organization, visit:


About the Dr. Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology
Appalachian’s Dr. Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology serves 900 undergraduate majors seeking the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, as well as 80 graduate students in the master’s degree programs in clinical psychology, experimental psychology, school psychology, and industrial-organizational psychology and human resource management. Its newly established Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) program will begin admitting students in fall 2019. Learn more at

Jenny Reilly receiving the practitioner of the year award, and Dr. Jim Deni who received the liftetime achievement award.
Published: Dec 4, 2018 1:04pm