Alumna Laurie Klose serves as President of country's largest school psychologist association

LAURIE KLOSE PhD ’95, C.ESP ’92, C.EPP ’90
President, National Association of School Psychologists (July 2021-June 2022)

Taking the helm of National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) during a worldwide pandemic and in the wake of this country’s reckoning with social justice and racism isn’t quite what GSE alumna Laurie Klose had planned.

It’s times like these that Klose PhD ’95, C.ESP ’92, C.EPP ’90, leans into the grounding she found at Berkeley: learning how to learn.

“My Berkeley professors didn’t teach us specific skills. They taught us how to go learn. It’s a totally different way of thinking than just learning a skill,” she said. “It doesn't bother me that I don't know everything. I know how to go figure things out.”

That mindset is helping Klose navigate everything from making sure the 2022 NASP Convention, which is in-person in Boston, is COVID-safe, to supporting NASP’s 25,000 members, and being the public face of school psychologists whose role in schools is more important now than ever.

“Right now we have an opportunity with regard to important systems work, really questioning and pushing back on things that schools are tasked to do that are perpetuating inequalities,” she said. “I think the school psychologist is uniquely prepared to lead those conversations.”

One of her three goals for her NASP presidency is to revise the association’s position paper on assessing and identifying specific learning disabilities in order to accurately reflect current research in understanding the way learners interact with instruction and the ever increasing knowledge regarding brain function.

Another goal: finalize NASP’s official position on the presence of uniform law enforcement on school campuses. The association’s school safety program takes into account physical and psychological safety as well as safe learning environments that impact learning outcomes, Klose said.

School psychologists have a unique dual perspective on school safety: an understanding of educational systems as well as developmental outcomes for students. “There aren’t a lot of people who have both of those things with the depth and breadth that school psychologists have,” she said. “There's never been more awareness of what we're capable of than right this minute.”

Her third goal: facilitate implementation of recommendations from a report examining the diversity, equity, and inclusion of the profession of school psychology and the association itself. NASP recognizes that a key to providing effective services to children is the diversification of the school psychology workforce. A workforce that reflects the public school population is necessary to remain relevant and responsive to the needs of the students and families.

As a first generation college graduate who grew up in Texas, Klose has some experience with feeling like an outsider. While she was accepted to the University of Texas, Austin, just 90 miles from home, she was drawn to Berkeley’s School Psychology program (1,790 miles from home) because it was one of the few programs taking a multifaceted approach to the understanding of schools and the connection between individual children, families, communities, and educational systems.

“Even back then, Berkeley was talking about how all those things go together and impact outcomes for kids. Whether they're educational, emotional, sociological, professional, all those things really have to be considered when you think about any one child and how they're doing,” Klose said.

She was tentative about leaving home for Berkeley but was buoyed by her father’s encouragement.

“I'm so glad that my dad and I had that conversation. Probably the greatest gift he ever gave me was saying I should go to Berkeley because it had such a strong reputation. It would have been much easier to just stay in Texas, but I didn't,” she said. “And the rest is history.”