Remarks from OSPA Awards Committee Co-Chair Melissa Bestgen
Our final recipient is Sharon Rieke, who is receiving the Clyde V. Bartlett Distinguished Service Award.
Sharon Rieke has been a noted Ohio school psychologist for decades, impacting the lives of countless students and colleagues. Sharon has worked as a tireless advocate for the students in her buildings, providing trainings for staff, advice to parents, and evidence based supports to students. She was an early champion on positive behavior supports in schools, assuming the character of Shirley Holmes, Detective of Good Behavior. She ensured that the students in her setting for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities had an opportunity to participate in an annual talent show, which has
continued for 25 years. She has provided unparalleled training to many school psychology practicum and intern students through her professor position at the University of Cincinnati and as a field supervisor,
many of whom have moved on to become leaders in the field.
Outside of her school based endeavors, Sharon has served in numerous professional associations, including acting as President, Treasurer, Newsletter Editor, and OSPA Representative for SWOSPA; President, Legislative and Membership Committee Co-Chair, and member of the Fiscal Advisory Committee, Planning and Development Committee, and task force to develop an evaluation rubric for school psychologists. For her dedication to the profession, the OSPA Executive Board is honored to present Sharon Rieke with the 2017 Clyde V. Bartlett Distinguished Service Award.
Remarks from Sharon Rieke
I want to thank Dr. Michael Forcade, OSPA Fall Conference Co-Chair, for nominating me; SWOSPA Rep Lynn Brumfield and OSPA President Dr. Karen Stine for writing letters of recommendation, the Awards
Committee and the Executive Board for considering me for this award.
I want to share some mottos I’ve lived by in my professional life:
- “First, do no harm” – (Hippocratic Oath) Back at the turn of the century in 2000, it was my motto during my OSPA presidency. “Do no harm” meant don’t mess anything up!
- “Seek first to understand” – (Steven Covey, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’) To understand, we need to listen first. We need to listen to the parents, teachers and students to hear their concerns. We can’t be good at problem solving if we don’t understand the issues.
- “Be the change you want to see in the world” – (Gandhi) There were many times I could not sit by and let others dictate what our profession should look like. I determined what I wanted my role and function to be. I made changes to how we operated as a school psychology profession in my little corner of the world, and then took that same determination to my supervision role with the school psychologists at the Hamilton County ESC. I would stick my neck out to defend our practices and to respectfully refuse to let our psychologists get railroaded on the job by an administrator in a district who wanted to cut corners. I tried to live my vision of what I wanted my profession to be.
- “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” – (English Proverb which first appeared in the US in Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac) This means it’s easier to persuade others with polite requests and a positive attitude, rather than negativity. When trying to bring about systems change, I learned early on that building a positive relationship with teachers helped immensely when asking them to
change something in their classrooms or try out an intervention.
- “Bite the Bullet” - (Rudyard Kipling or any old westerns where the cowboy is having surgery) This means to endure a painful or otherwise unpleasant situation; or to accept something difficult and try to make the best of it. When talking with our school psych supervisees about the school district they were in, they would tell me about their frustrations of bringing about change for children. I would frequently ask if they liked their job and their placement, and if they had the stamina to stick it out, “bite the bullet” for at least 3 years to see if they could make a difference. To do this, they needed to have a very strong vision for what they wanted their profession to look like.
- “There’s the law, best practice and common sense” – (Sharon Rieke) One of my latest mottos means:
• There is a law for special education, follow it!
• We have many volumes of Best Practices, which are research-based, and these should be our “goto” for solutions. When the law does not specifically address an area of our practice, use the best practices in our field.
What have I given to our profession?
- My love of our field
- Never giving in to other’s views of what we, as school psychologists, should be and should do
- Advocating for what is best for children
- Promoting best practices with students, interns, and the school psychology staff, I worked with and supervised, for over 20 years
- Collaborating with others to forward OSPA’s agenda for promoting quality school psychology in our state by serving on the Executive Board for 18 yrs.
- Supporting and promoting our profession with OSPA for 40 years
- I won’t mention all the bottles of wine I have opened and poured!
I am humbled and honored to receive the Clyde V. Bartlett Distinguished Service Award. Thank you.