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Madrid-Waddington school psychologist tops in region

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MADRID – Madrid-Waddington Central School’s school psychologist has been named practitioner of the 2011-2012 year for St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis counties by a state association.

School Psychologist Jennifer A. Ragan began her career at Madrid-Waddington Central School as an intern in 2009. She said she can’t imagine working anywhere else.

“I started here while I was still finishing graduate school,” said the Canton native. “The staff and families and the students at Madrid-Waddington have been nothing but supportive of me and the work I do. I would never leave. It’s full of wonderful people that allow me to do the work that I love.”

It was during her practicum and internship at Madrid-Waddington that she found her mission as an educational psychologist.

“My goal is to target social thinking abilities and weaknesses and use them to help students navigate through the school day more effectively,” said Ms. Ragan.

“The program was introduced to me by my practicum supervisors. When I came to Madrid-Waddington, I saw a need for programming that was more specific to students who have social cognitive deficiencies.”

Because of her efforts, that the New York State Association of School Psychologists recognized Ms. Ragan for the regional award.

But Ms. Ragan said she could not have done it without the support of her fellow staff members and the administration.

“The district was very willing to supply me with necessary materials to start groups focusing on that. We started with one group. We have now increased to three or four groups.”

Daily evaluations, individual counseling and observations are among some of Ms. Ragan’s other duties, which Elementary School Principal Matthew Daley — who previously worked alongside Ms. Ragan as the district’s academic intervention services coordinator — said she excels in.

“She goes over and above in anything she does,” said Mr. Daley, at Tuesday’s board of education meeting, where Ms. Ragan was recognized.

Ms. Ragan received tenure effective September of this year.

“She is now nominated as one of the top school practitioners in the state, but I believe she already is,” said school Superintendent Lynn M. Roy.

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