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Kristen Berwald holding a plaque from the Washington State Association of School Psychologists

Kristen Berwald is the 2020 State School Psychologist of the Year

Posted by Devin Felix on 1 March, 2021
Did you know that we’ve got the 2020 Washington School Psychologist of the Year right here in the Issaquah School District? Kristen Berwald leads the district’s Birth-3 transition and Childfind programs, and she was chosen for the honor by the Washington State Association of School Psychologists back in October. 

Kristen and her team conduct screenings and evaluations with children ages 3-5 years old who have been identified as possibly having developmental delays to determine if they are eligible for special education services. Children who qualify for special education services may be recommended for the district’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) preschool or other therapy services as part of an IEP (Individual Education Program).  

“Contact with my team is the first experience many families will ever have with the Issaquah School District, and we take that very seriously,” she says. “It’s our goal to make sure these families have a good transition into the district.”

Kristen’s colleagues, who nominated her for the award, wrote this about her: “She is kind and gentle, works effortlessly with young children, leads her teams effectively, and does an excellent job building rapport and relationships with the families she serves. She takes her role very seriously, and she is always striving to do the very best she can do.”

In college, Kristen struggled to decide whether to pursue working in education or in psychology. Soon she discovered there was a career option that would blend those interests perfectly. She took a job in the Issaquah School District after graduating with a Masters and Certificate of Advanced Study (MA, CAS) and has been here since 2005. She says working with a group of excellent and committed colleagues has been a big part of why she has chosen to stay in the district. She is also a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP), a certification similar to the Board Certification earned by many teachers.

School psychologists play many important roles in a school district and work closely with educators, families and others mental health professionals to help ensure children learn in a supportive environment. 

“I really value education and I want it to be a positive experience and I want kids to get the services they need as early as possible so they can be a successful as they can be,” Kristen says.