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National certification
national certified school social workertm

National certification for school social workers (NCSSW) centers around the nine (9) competencies associated with the National School Social Work Model. The national certification competencies were derived from the Practice Features in the National School Social Work Practice Model. The performance indicators were developed by a diverse team of school social work professionals and academics representing all regions of SSWAA. The portfolio for national certification underwent further validation through public review (October 2017) and SSWAA Delegate Assembly review (July 2018). SSWAA Board approval of the document was obtained in December 2018. National Certification launched in April of 2021 and applications are being accepted. Portfolios will be evaluated by experts in the field that have worked and/or taught in the field of school social work. The evaluators have completed a training and have been normed in the evaluation process.

Please consider the following requirements before registering for National Certification.  Applications will be reviewed to ensure that each candidate meets the following requirements:  
•   MSW 
•    At least 4 years post-MSW  experience as a School Social Worker or SSW educator in higher education
•    Current active licensure or certification in the state for a school social work position
•    Active SSWAA membership at the Full or Premiere level


The steps to obtain national certification include:

  1. Complete the application submitting proof of employment in the field and a cover letter

  2. Once the application is approved, pay the fee of $250 and receive an email with a link to access the course

  3. Begin working on your National Certification Portfolio

  4. Access the online course where you will upload your portfolio and submissions

  5. Orientations will be offered by SSWAA's Professional Development Coordinator on an individual basis with the candidate.

  6. Begin working on your National Certification Portfolio 

*Because the National Certified School Social WorkerTM course is self-paced, refunds are not available.  Individuals can apply for an extension if circumstances interfere with completion of the National Certification process within the one-year time frame. A committee will review the request and make a determination if circumstances warrant an extension.  Extensions may be granted for 6 months or 1 year with an extension fee; extensions are not automatic and may be denied.

Primary School Desks
National Certified School Social Work - Discussion Panel, 2022

Listen in as a panel of Nationally Certified School Social Workers discusses their experience of obtaining National Certification. The panel will share what to expect before, during, and after the process, as well as share lessons learned and tips if you are considering candidacy. Originally Aired November 28th, 2022.

School Bus & Children
NCSSWs Across the Nation! 
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The Map above shows states (in SSWAA red) that currently have NCSSWs!! 

(Map Update: Aug 2023)

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Tia Marie Brumsted

Tia Marie Brumsted is a clinical social worker, performance coach, and educational leader in the metropolitan DC area. She serves as the deputy assistant superintendent of health and wellness for the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education. She is a graduate of Spelman College and Smith College School for Social Work.

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tia marie brumsted

Tracey Parker

After ten years working in various mental health agencies, I started my MSW and graduated from University of Illinois 2001.  I currently work at Rockford Public School District 205, where I have worked as a social worker, a behavior coach, and a MTSS interventionist and currently work as a school social worker at Spring Creek Elementary school serving all students including students with Autism.  I also was a board member of Illinois Association of School Social Workers for 8 years.

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tracey parker

Sheri Koller

Sheri - with over 20 years experience - is an expert in the field of student mental health and suicide prevention. She is an experienced clinician who focuses on individual and family therapy, supervision, program development, advocacy, data analysis, crisis intervention and training. As a professor for seven years, Sheri educated hundreds of MSW students on mental health and human behavior. Sheri develops programs to address the complex mental health issues facing our schools.

Sheri Koller

Sheri Koller

Stacey Morrell

Stacey is an LCSW with 18 years of experience. Her experience includes emergency behavioral health medical social work, medical case management, addiction recovery, school administration, and school social work. She is currently a School Social Worker at Geneseo Middle School where she is responsible for individual, group, and classroom social, emotional, and behavioral instruction with an emphasis in Special Education.

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Stacey morrell

Lisa Dolan

Lisa is an LCSW and has been in a leadership position with Spotsylvania County Public Schools School Social Work Team for 20 years. She has worked in various settings within the community with a focus on attachment and trauma and mental health.  Professional accomplishments include being awarded the Touching Trauma at Its Heart Award from the Attachment and Trauma Network, having the opportunity to build SCPS social work team from five positions to 30 positions, and supporting new social workers.  

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Lisa Dolan

Summer Woodside, NC

Dr. Summer Woodside completed her undergraduate degree in social work at UNC Pembroke and her graduate degree in Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill. She later earned her PhD at UNC Greensboro in Specialized Education Services. She is licensed as a school social worker, school administrator, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Dr. Woodside is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at UNC Pembroke. She serves on the Scotland County Board of Education, Eastpointe Local Mental Health Entity board, and School Social Work Association of America board. She has published and presented on topics related to equity, mental health, and self-care in public education.

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Summer Woodside

Lou Paschall

Lou (Scott) Paschall received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee and her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from Middle Tennessee State University. She is a Licensed School Social Worker and a Licensed Advanced Practice Social Worker in Tennessee. She is currently employed as the School Social Worker in the Manchester City Schools. She provides School Social Work Services at three schools.  Her research interests are the ethical use of technology, supervision in School Social Work practice, and Social Work history. Prior to her employment in her current position, she worked as a School Social Worker in a neighboring district for more than 16 years.

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Lou Paschall

Capella Hauer

The objective of this course is for students to learn how to demonstrate ethical and professional behavior. This course really focuses on how to make ethical decisions and challenges students to critically think about difficult situations they will face in their practice and to see things from multiple perspectives. This class also provides students with a foundational understanding of the legal and ethical guidelines of practice in a human services field.

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Capella Hauer

Amy Mello Messenger

Amy has been a School Social Worker for the last 7 years with the Providence Public School Department.  Previous to that position, Amy was a Social Worker in Child Welfare for nearly ten years.  Amy participates in a fellowship with both the Childhood Trauma Learning Collaborative as well as the Trauma Responsive Educational Practices.  She also serves in a leadership capacity as one of the district's Lead School Social Workers. Currently, Amy coordinates both the Project AWARE Grant as well as the School Based Mental Health Services Grant at the district level.  This work includes increasing mental health literacy as well as increasing nationally recommended ratios for school based mental health professionals, including School Social Workers. She is a trainer of Youth Mental Health First Aid and is currently attending the Northeast Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports to be a certified trainer.  Amy does have a small private practice, providing home-based therapy services for children, adults, and families.

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Amy Mello Messenger

Christina Devers

Christina has practiced in the field of Social Work since 2001. She has been a School Social Worker with Prince William County Public Schools in Virginia since 2011.  She transitioned to School Social Work after spending the first ten years of her career working with children and adolescents in foster care.  She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Virginia and has also worked in the private practice setting providing play therapy to children and adolescents.  She is a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor, ACE Interface Instructor, and Certified Healing Centered Engagement Specialist.  She also holds a Pupil Personnel Endorsement through the Virginia Department of Education.  Professional accomplishments include recognition from the Prince William County Child Protection Partnership and presenting at the 2021 SSWAA Conference. 

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Christina Devers

Gloria Ho

Gloria is a licensed clinical social worker and received her MSW from West Virginia University. She has been a school social worker In Delaware for over 24 years. She works with students and families at Milton Elementary School in Cape Henlopen School District. She served as co-president and is one of the founding members of the School Social Workers Association of Delaware. She is an executive board member of the Delaware State Education Association and Chair of the Union’s Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee. Gloria sits on various committees supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. She enjoys combining her love of writing and research with her passion for racial and social justice issues.

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Gloria Ho

Rose Molina

Rose has been a School Social Worker for the last 15 year with a history of working in a State school, Charter school and most of her career for Providence Public Schools serving the same environment she too grew up in and graduated from. Rose carries certifications in Autism Education and Trauma Informed Education combining this work in a leadership capacity as one of the district's Lead School Social Workers. Rose serves in supporting teams in managing and supporting behavioral supports across the settings as a facilitator of the districts Behavior Assistance and Support Team (BAST). Rose is a part of the advocacy occurring at the district level to increase the School Social Worker ratios. Rose founded a non-profit organization called The Kindness Crew with her students and is very passionate in this work. Rose is also the co-founder of Team Rockstar Sports providing  outpatient therapy services in a unique format of movement based therapy groups as well as individual and family therapy. 


Rose Molina

Leanna Johnston

Leanna received Master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She began her social worker career in medical social work. She first worked at a pediatric skilled nursing facility for 9 years, and then at a children’s hospital for almost 7 years. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, the highest license attainable in the state of Nebraska. She has been a school social worker with Omaha Public Schools in Nebraska for 6 years, at both the elementary and middle school level. She currently provides social work services at three middle schools. Leanna is a member of her district’s crisis response team and serves as a mentor to new social workers in her department. She has also served as an instructor for social work students completing their practicum with her district.


Leanna Johnston

Aimee Cox Gibbs

Aimee is an LCSW serving in the Spotsylvania County Public Schools for the last ten years.  She has worked across many grade levels with a focus on students with behavioral and mental health challenges.  She currently serves as one of the lead school social workers for the high school level and is a mentor and clinical supervisor to new social workers in the division.  Aimee is a certified TF-CBT clinician and has helped bring trauma informed yoga and emotional regulation to schools within the county.  
Prior to moving to Virginia with her family, Aimee was a school social worker in Upstate New York for several years where she served as a clinical supervisor and was part of the district crisis team.  She also was the social worker for a group home setting for young men aged 14-21 years who were either stepping down from incarceration or were transitioning into independent living.  When Aimee is not working with the social worker team or the students in her school, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and two daughters. 

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Aimee Cox Gibss

Kenneth Rautiola

Kenneth has been a social worker since 1997.  He has worked in the State of Maine Child Protective Services and Children’s Behavioral Health, case management supervision, and school social work. He is currently completing his CAS in Educational Leadership, focusing on the utilization of social workers in his district.


Kenneth Rautiola


Nicole Morse

Nicole Morse 

Nicole completed her undergraduate degree in social work at Southern Connecticut State University. She went on to get her masters in social work at NYU and is currently in the process of completing her DSW. Nicole has been a certified school social worker for ten years. Her experience has spanned elementary, middle and high school. Nicole has also worked to support students who are 18-21 in a transitional education program. Currently, Nicole is on a district crisis team providing crisis response, risk assessment and support to building social workers. 

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Talley Westerberg

Talley Westerberg 

Talley is an LICSW and is credentialed as an Experienced Educator in School Social Work. She is passionate about providing mental health services in the public school setting to reduce the impact of students' emotional, behavioral, and economic barriers on their academic achievement and well-being.  Focusing on resilience, she implements interventions in a coordinated team of trauma-informed stakeholders and leverages her knowledge to advocate at the policy and education systems levels to create lasting change for our most vulnerable 21st century learners.  Talley is dedicated to training fellow educators about student mental health, supporting children experiencing homelessness, reporting suspected child abuse and neglect, trauma responsive practices, and suicide prevention.  

Teresa Wahl

Teresa Wahl

Teresa Wahl

Graduated with my MSW from UW-Madison and have been a School Social worker since 2008. I first worked in Stevens Point Public Schools at the elementary level for 9 years before moving to the Chippewa Valley. I am currently the School Social Worker at Chippewa Falls Senior High School. I provide a variety of services: group and individual counseling, family and homelessness services. I run Cardinal Market, our school food pantry.


Katherine Konle

Katherine Konle

Katherine received her Master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She began her career in foster care and adoption but her heart has always been in education. Her experience has spanned from elementary through high school, and she is currently serving an elementary school in Southeastern Wisconsin. She holds an Advanced Practice Social Worker license in the state of Wisconsin. Katherine is passionate about supporting all learners with an individualistic approach. She is focused on student mental wellness and developing proactive practices to support this need.

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Anna Jeakins

Anna Jeakins

Anna received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Nevada, Reno. She began her work in schools in 2017 and has worked at the elementary, middle, and high school level. Currently, Anna is working with the Project AWARE grant focused on strengthening systems and increasing access for school-based mental health services. She provides leadership in her district by actively working to help create systems and protocols for school social work services and workforce development. Anna is also a member of the district school social work lead team, a mentor for new school social workers, and a social work intern supervisor.


Jacqueline Brown-Pinkney

Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) Brown-Pinkney

Dr. Brown-Pinkney is the Assistant Coordinator of Social Emotional Learning and Lead School Social Worker for Effingham County School District, where she has been employed for 30 years.  She completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work at Georgia Southern University (GSU) and a Master of Social Work at Savannah State University (SSU). In addition, she earned a Master, Education Specialist, and Doctoral degree in Education Administration from GSU.  

She is a certified School Social Worker (SSW), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Social Work at Savannah State University. 

Dr. Brown-Pinkney is the 2023 SSWAA National School Social Worker of the Year and the 2022-2024 President and 2022 School Social Worker of the Year of the School Social Workers Association of Georgia.  She has written several grants and presented on many topics, including McKinney-Vento law and homeless services, School Social Work Services, Suicide Prevention, and Self-Care.  

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Lesley Gilpin

Lesley Gilpin

Lesley is a graduate of Western Kentucky University (BSW) and the University of Kentucky (MSW and Rank 1).  She is entering her 24th year working as a Certified School Social Worker, currently at The Providence School in Jessamine County.  She became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in 2021 and is active on the Kentucky Association for School Social Work board.  She is passionate about demonstrating a growth mindset for her students and expanding the reach of mental health services in schools.  Lesley has a particular interest in topics such as alternative education, grief, trauma, educator self-care, and issues facing LGBTQ+ youth.  

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Michelle Quinlan

Michelle Quinlan

Michelle received her Master’s degree in Social Service Administration with a concentration in school social work from The University of Chicago in 2005. She is a certified school social worker, currently working in a middle school in a southwest suburb/exurb of Chicago, Illinois. Her previous experience includes working in elementary schools, alternative schools, and a therapeutic day school. She holds a Clinical Social Worker license in the state of Illinois. Michelle is passionate about helping all students reach their fullest potential.


Stephanie Baker

Stephanie Baker

Stephanie Baker is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Registered Play Therapist in the State of Virginia. Stephanie completed her undergraduate and Master of Social Work degree at Virginia Commonwealth University. Stephanie is currently employed as the School Social Worker Clinical Services Provider at Federal Programs Early Learning Preschool Department with Henrico County Public Schools and has been in that position since 2016. Stephanie is passionate about supporting the underserved student and family population within Early Learning Preschool Program. Stephanie provides professional development to teachers and staff that focus on enhancing social-emotional responsiveness and providing trauma-informed care within the classroom to support the students in the preschool community.

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Sopheap Mitchell

Dr. Sopheap Mitchell

Dr. Sopheap Michell, DSW, LCSW, PEL is a Nationally Certified School Social Worker from IL. Dr. Michell finds fulfillment in working with teens, spending time with family & friends, engaging in professional development, participating in district-level committees, mentoring new School Social Workers, and supervising LCSW candidates and interns. She has worked in the school setting in IL for the past sixteen years and, prior to that, in a hospital for thirteen years. 


A Dedicated School Social Worker:

Alumna Jackie Brown-Pinkney Receives Prestigious Recognition

By Sandra Bennett, Georgia Southern Magazine

"It’s little wonder that Jackie Brown-Pinkney (‘93,’04,’06,’15) is celebrating a remarkable year. Over three decades, she has devoted her professional life to assisting students in Effingham County, Georgia, as a school social worker within the public school system. Her dedication to children has earned her national recognition from the School Social Work Association of America. The organization honored her with the prestigious title of 2023 School Social Worker of the Year."   

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