The NC School Psychology Association (NCSPA) recently renamed their highest honor—the Lifetime Achievement Award—in honor of Dr. Jim Deni, a long-time faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Appalachian State and one of just 6 past recipients of the award.
The honor was announced at NCSPA’s Fall Conference in Charlotte in October by NCSPA President Heather Lynch Boling, a 2007 alumna of Appalachian State’s MA/Specialist in School Psychology Program. The decision to rename the award in Dr. Deni’s honor was made in recognition of his numerous contributions to the public schools of North Carolina and to the training of over 400 school psychologists as well as his many years of staunch leadership and service within the association, having served four times as NCSPA President and chaired innumerable committees and task forces. Assisting Boling in announcing the honor were Lynn Makor, Consultant for School Psychology at the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), and Dr. Matt Hoskins, Implementation Specialist and Data Analyst at NCDPI and another 2007 graduate of AppState’s School Psychology Program. Offering extensive and often impassioned remarks in support of the renaming of the award, Boling, Makor, and Hoskins cited Dr. Deni’s tenacity in advocating for the welfare of children, his tireless efforts to ensure that school psychologists are “at the table” when important decisions are being made about their role and the children they serve, and his gift for instilling a “valuable, collective mindset of never being content with the status quo and never accepting a situation that is in the interest of adults and not of students.” NCSPA represents more than one-half of the 800 school psychologists employed in the state of North Carolina.