Alumna Lillenstein Named School Psychologist of the Year

Posted on 2/3/2011 3:48:10 PM

IUP alumna Jennifer Lillenstein, statewide lead consultant and state lead for Response to Instruction and Intervention at the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network, received the ASPP School Psychologist of the Year (SPOTY) award for 2010 at the annual fall ASPP/PSU conference in State College, Pa.

The recipients of this prestigious award are selected based on commendable job performance, provision of complete school psychological services to children, an established respect among students, families, and colleagues, and overall ethical practice.

Dr. Lillenstein achieved her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She continued her education at IUP, earning an M.Ed. in Educational Psychology and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in School Psychology. Not long after, Dr. Lillenstein received her D.Ed. from IUP. She began her career as a school psychologist at Lincoln Intermediate Unit #12, where she became involved in early intervention program and non-public schools, emotional support and life skills support programs, and Mission Home Ministries’ Alternative School. After spending seven years with Lincoln Intermediate Unit #12, Dr. Lillenstein became the learning facilitator in Cornwall-Lebanon School District at Union Canal Elementary. A few of her accomplishments in this position included the establishment of a three-tiered Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtII) model for reading and provision of social skills training using the Second Step Violence Prevention Curriculum.

Three years later, Dr. Lillenstein continued her career at the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit #13, where she held the position of staff development and training specialist. In April 2009, Dr. Lillenstein accepted a position with Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN), where she assumed the role of educational consultant. This position led Dr. Lillenstein to her current role as the RtII statewide lead educational consultant. In this capacity, she coordinates statewide RtII training, provides RtII training resources to stakeholders, and collaborates with state education agencies across the nation to advance and continue implementation of RtII.

When not busy with work responsibilities, Dr. Lillenstein is the wife of fellow school psychologist, David Lillenstein. The couple resides in Lebanon, Pa., with their two daughters, Sadie and Keara.

Dr. Lillenstein’s candidate statement and numerous exceptional letters of support were received by ASPP and reflected the high standards set for SPOTY recipients. Daniel Thomas, a former PaTTAN consultant and peer of Dr. Lillenstein, noted, “I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with the most expert school psychologists in the Commonwealth. Even in this company, Jennifer is exemplary and a model of the skill sets required of today’s school psychologist.”

In her candidate statement, Dr. Lillenstein expressed concerns about educational equality and presented ideas on how to improve the disparity that exists in education. Dr. Lillenstein explained the importance of having a strong infrastructure to support teachers and implementers of universally designed programs, like RtII. She believes that partnering with NASP and ASPP could provide schools with useful resources when utilizing a universal design for learning (UDL) approach. Laura Moran, an educational consultant at PaTTAN, spoke of Dr. Lillenstein’s diligence in these areas, noting, “While her skills have greatly informed implementation of RtII and other student- and data-supported initiatives across Pennsylvania, this success has not been at the expense of the standards and practices of the profession. She brought extreme diligence in ensuring that all policies and procedures regarding RtII were in full compliance with the standards of practice and fidelity to the PA RtII model.” Angela Kirby-Wehr, director of PaTTAN–Harrisburg, noted that Dr. Lillenstein is “passionate” and “committed to promoting and fostering effective assessment, instructional, and intervention practices.”

Dr. Lillentein has had an impact on many lives, including those of the children and families she has come in contact with, as well as those of her colleagues. Joseph F. Kovaleski, professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, believes Dr. Lillenstein “truly exemplifies all of the qualities that we admire in our colleagues and has been identified as a national leader in our field.” Edward S. Shapiro, professor at Leigh University, went on to say, “I believe she clearly represents at the core level what the award is honoring—someone who is passionate about children, works to better welfare of fellow psychologists, works to engage schools, parents, and teachers in the collaborative process of improvement, and works to improve the lives of children and youth as her bottom line.”

It is for the exemplary work Dr. Lillenstein has accomplished as a school psychologist at the local, regional, state, and national level that ASPP is proud to award her the 2010 SPOTY. Clearly the numerous letters of support documenting her unwavering commitment to improving the lives of Pennsylvania’s children through the support of teachers, administrators, parents, and communities make her an obvious SPOTY awardee. Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Lillenstein!

Author Jon Flynn, B.S., is a first-year graduate student in the Master’s of Education program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Department of Educational and School Psychology