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Lifetime Achievement Award: 2015
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The Randy A. Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award has been established to honor the work Randy Fisher. who was selected the first Executive Director of SSWAA and served from 2001-2006.  Randy led our organization during its fledgling years and witnessed a tremendous growth in membership.  During his final year as Executive Director, SSWAA had over 3,300 members -- quite an accomplishment for an organization that only began in 1994! The award will continue to be given in his honor at subsequent conferences.  His spirit and passion for School Social Work will live on for many years to come.


2015 Awardees:  Beverly Van Dyke & Donna Secor-Pennington

April 17, 2015

This year we are pleased to recognize 2 incredible School Social Workers for the Lifetime Achievements! As Randy Fisher noted:  "Donna and Bev have been school social work practitioners for 29 years and 36 years respectfully. Their combination of being school social workers for their entire social work career and their service as volunteer leaders in the field of school social work at the state, regional and national levels demonstrates the characteristics valued and honored by this award. In addition both Bev and Donna have contributed to the professional development of others by presenting at numerous professional conferences, workshops and in-service opportunities. They have been generous with their time and service while in major leadership positions as well as being willing to work at all levels of service in the support of school social work."

Role with Michigan Association of School Social Workers

As leaders in the Michigan Association of School Social Workers, Bev and Donna were instrumental in the development of MASSW through some hard times.  "This was only accomplished with bold determination, professional knowledge, interpersonal skill, tremendous style, humor, and finesse. That wasn’t enough for either of these extremely accomplished School Social Workers..... Both were appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Education in Michigan in 1993.  They worked extremely hard on behalf of all students in need of support in Michigan schools."  Over the years, both served in numerous positions of leadership on the MASSW Board.

Donna and Bev have spoken at school districts across Michigan, at state regional and national conferences, on topics such as Positive Behavior Supports; School Violence Prevention; Intervention and Risk Assessment; Functional Behavioral Assessments; as well as working with gay, lesbian, and transgender students. "Donna has been awarded School Social Worker of the Year, from the Michigan Association of School Social Workers in 2000 also as the Distinguished Alumna, Michigan State University School of Social Work in 1995 and received the Career Achievement Award for her work with the Michigan Association of School Social Workers in 2011."  Bev  has been awarded the Graduate Fellowship award in 1971 Michigan School Social Worker of the Year award in 1995,  and the Career Achievement Award from the Midwest School Social Work Council in 2004. 

Role with Midwest School Social Work Council

"(T)they could do it all on the micro level for their individual students and schools, but they were determined to have a macro level impact to help students and schools across the nation. In order to start doing that, each was appointed to the Midwest School Social Work Council.  Their reputations as a couple of dynamos begin to spread." Both Bev and Donna have provided years of leadership and mentoring as they filled numerous offices on the Council.  "Mind you, they did these things while juggling parenting, working, and running a state professional organization."   Donna and Bev have always been "most welcoming and accepting of everyone, offering help in any way they could."   Fellowship was always provided in their room around a "box o' wine" and treats that often went late into the night with laughter, storytelling as well as some ongoing problem solving. 

Role with the School Social Work Association of America

"They were resolute in their determination that school social workers should have a voice and visibility at the national level."   In 1994, representing Michigan Association of School Social Workers and the Midwest School Social Work Council, Bev and Donna  hosted the first ever SSWAA “Box o’ Wine” hospitality  for all those who came from near and far to that little town of Edwardsville to form the School Social Work Association of America.  While many people came to Edwardsville to form SSWAA, Donna and Bev were among those who “rolled up our sleeves” and did the hard work of developing SSWAA’s initial Bylaws, Constitution and procedures.  

Bev, a "financial wizard", was instrumental in assisting the Board during SSWAA’s early developmental years as  Finance Chairperson as well as Secretary for 10 years. Donna has served as Vice President, Secretary, Midwest Representative, Legislative Chair, and Finance Chair.  As Vice President, Donna stepped in as Conference Co-Chair for the 2009 during a very difficult and challenging period for SSWAA.  Her dedication and commitment along with other like-minded leaders led SSWAA through these very dark and turbulent times to regain stability and strength. 

"They have worked tirelessly as individuals and as a team to improve the lives of students and practitioners nationwide."  "They both demonstrate very effectively and passionately their love for school social work. Their dedication and leadership within their home state of Michigan, the Council and SSWAA, reflect their long-standing commitment to serve the profession."

Thank you both for your years of dedication to the profession of
School Social Work and SSWAA!

 Information and quotes provided from numerous letters of recommendation.

   Donna Secor-Pennington, Beverly Van Dyke & Randy Fisher

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