University of Maryland College of Education alumna Julie Grossman, (Ph.D. ’14) has been named the 2018 School Psychologist of the Year by the Maryland School Psychology Association.
“Julie has really gone above and beyond what is typically expected of someone in the role of a school psychologist,” said Jill Jacobson, assistant clinical professor of school psychology.
Dr. Grossman splits her time among three schools in Prince George’s County, spending a minimum of one day a week at each. In addition to her time in the schools and the related administrative work, she conducts research, teaches, authors articles, and has presented at more than 10 conferences, in addition to continuing her own education and professional development.
“The programs at Maryland taught me how to think like a scientist and a practitioner. It's one thing to teach you the skills, but they taught me how to think and problem solve like a school psychologist,” she said. “It lit this fire for me.”
Dr. Grossman’s drive and dedication to her work is a proud reflection on her alma mater, though not a shock to those who know her.
“Julie has always been extremely enthusiastic and passionate about school psychology,” said Dr. Jacobson, who knew Dr. Grossman first as a classmate, and again as a student in her internship seminar. “I'm not surprised she won this award. It's unusual for a school psychologist to do as much as she's done in her first years of working. I attribute that to her passion for school psychology and for her students and the staff she works with. We're absolutely thrilled to have one of our alums honored in this way. Our hope is for [our alumni] to become leaders in the field. Julie has done that.”
Dr. Grossman regularly spearheads mental health expos at the schools she works in, inspired by the campaign Mental Health Matters. Expo offerings have included assembly speakers, vendor tables for parents to learn about services in their communities, yoga, a coping strategy fortune teller station, a positivity table, coloring journals and more. While Dr. Grossman leads the events, she is quick to credit her village -- volunteers, donors, and family and friends who pitch in to help.
An effective school psychologist, she said, is available, approachable and shows she cares.
“If I’m not willing to put myself out there and initiate [relationships], I can’t expect others to take me up on wanting to be present.” Other keys, she said, involve knowing when a problem is beyond her reach and providing proper resources, and always remembering that she is part of a team.
But most importantly, Dr. Grossman said, “I’m there for the children. I work really hard because these children deserve it. When the kids know who I am, that means I’m doing my job.”
“I view this as a passion. I don’t have an end goal. I’m not working toward something other than helping children and helping them succeed in life.”