School Psych Spotlight – Tiphanie Keefe

Tiphanie Keefe is a school psychologist in the spotlight this month. Tiphanie is a native Minnesotan, but was raised in Iowa and has moved often since graduating from Luther College with her BA in psychology. She loves to travel, learn, and feel like she makes a difference. She embodies these joys by serving on the local United Way board, church council, and through being a shareholder member of her local school district.  She enjoys advocating for positive discipline practices at home, and she is becoming more involved in politics. She loves kids, animals, and nature. (more…)

School Psych Spotlight – Jim Stoycheff

Our newest school psychologist in the spotlight is Jim Stoycheff. Jim is lives in Waterloo, IA with his wife, Gayle, who is a Senior Travel Consultant with AAA Travel of Iowa. He has two daughters. Elizabeth, the oldest, is an Associate Professor of Journalism at Wayne State University in Detroit. His younger daughter, Lindsey, is in her first year of residency of OB/GYN at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix.

Jim is a Wisconsin native, and he obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin Platteville. He obtained his graduate degree in School Psychology from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.

Jim began his career in 1977 with Green Valley AEA 14 in Creston, IA. He and his family moved to Waterloo in 1979, and he started working with AEA 7 (now merged into AEA 267) where he has become a leader in school psychology practice.

Jim’s role has varied over the years. He has worked in typical assignments serving K-12 students in urban and rural schools. This role focused on child find responsibilities, initial evaluations, reevaluations, and providing support to special education programs. Jim said that his role slowly transitioned into his current position, which is a specialty position. Jim presently serves students with moderate to profound developmental disabilities at River Hills School in Cedar Falls, IA, and he provides consultative and professional development training services with the Autism Resource Team. This role allows him to focus on consultation with special education staff on instructional strategies to address challenging behaviors. Jim told us that his specialty role has been the most personally rewarding part of the job because it provides him with the opportunity to work closer with staff and students in a more collaborative manner.

When asked if Jim would change anything about his job, he wrote, “I cannot say I would change anything about my current role, but If I were to return to a more typical role in K-12 schools, I would like to see increased emphasis on working more directly with kids and classroom teachers.”

Jim’s advice to new school psychologists comes from one of his close friends and mentors, David Wacker who is associate director of Iowa’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities in Iowa City. Wacker said, “Remember to help as many kids as you can and take the data to prove it” (2016).

School Psych Spotlight – Austin Beer

Austin Beer is a veteran (11 years) school psychologist currently working for Grant Wood AEA, although he also worked for Great Prairie AEA once upon a time. Austin’s current role with Grant Wood AEA is as a Child Find Lead and Mentoring and Induction Lead. This means that Austin spends his time supporting agency and LEA staff in their use of Child Find data to understand current evaluation practices, the quality of services, and to identify learning and professional practices that need improvement. He also supports new staff through mentoring and new staff professional development. Through his mentoring experiences Austin has developed some well defined advice for new school psychologists. He stated, “Stick with it. Understand what sphere of influence you have, and where you want to spend your energy and capital at the current moment to have the most impact. Never give up, because on the other side of a challenging teacher, administrator, IEP team, or parent is a student in need of targeted, high quality instructional practices, which occur when teams work together analyzing data to understand student needs.” (more…)