Dana Falls, FCPS Director of Student Services, has been awarded this year’s Outstanding Educator Award by the Maryland School Psychologist Association (MSPA). The award recognizes an outstanding educator who has supported quality school-based mental health services and the practice of school psychology.
Individuals eligible for the Outstanding Educator Award are administrators or school-based professionals who have worked in partnership with school psychologists to support a comprehensive school psychology program.
Falls is in his third year working for FCPS, having previously served for 13 years as the Carroll County Public Schools Director of Student Services. He is a former middle school principal and assistant principal and a former high school and middle school teacher.
Falls is a staunch advocate for school psychologists and understands the valuable role they can play when properly staffed.
Under his leadership, school psychologist positions have increased every year to address understaffing issues in FCPS. In three years, the school system has increased the number of psychologists by almost 40%, rising from 25.5 to 35.5 psychologist positions. With the increase, FCPS has been able to assign seven psychologists each to a high-needs single elementary school, allowing them to provide a comprehensive psychology program. This is a first for FCPS and the beginning of Fall’s comprehensive plan to have a psychologist placed in each elementary school as their only assignment, in order to provide quality prevention and early intervening services to our youngest learners.
Falls is a champion for student success and is committed to supporting the behavioral health of all students. He understands the direct relationship between positive mental health and the overall functioning of students and he drives himself and his staff to always put student needs first.
The FCPS Student Services Department’s mission statement begins as follows: “To ensure that every child succeeds, the Department of Student Services will promote a child-centered approach by combining empathy and support with personal accountability.