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Pell Social Worker Named 2018 School Social Worker of the Year

Mary Sheehan, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), at the Claiborne Pell Elementary School in Newport, Rhode Island has been named the 2018 Rhode Island School Social Worker of the Year by the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.  Mary has been recognized by her peers, because she is a tireless advocate for the students at the Pell Elementary School.

A fifteen year veteran of the Newport Public Schools, Mary has been instrumental in the selection and implementation of a social emotional program, Open Circle, with thirty percent of the school teachers receiving training in the first year. Mary will be trained as a trainer this summer, to help implement the program in the other half of the school.  Mary has served as a mentor for all the Pell staff around Open Circle and other behavioral management issues, how to manage classroom behavior for trauma victims, and how to work with any number of social emotional issues students come to school with every day.

Mary has supported school wide implementation of Kelso’s Choice, a leading tool for teaching conflict management skills for children Pre-K through 4th grade; serves as a lead in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Tier II and Tier III behavior needs; organizes check-in and check-out programs for all students involved and sits on a data team looking at student behavior. Mary does all this and still manages to come to work with a positive attitude and a smile every day. Mary was recognized by the Newport Public Education Foundation in 2014 with the Noreen Stonor Drexel Unsung Hero Award for her contributions to the Newport community throughout her career, and the work she has done as the district's elementary school social worker for over a decade.  She is encouraging and supportive in all that she does.

Superintendent Colleen Burns Jermain praised Ms. Sheehan for her courage, dedication, and care she provides for the families of Pell Elementary School and the entire community of Newport. “Mary Sheehan does exemplary work and it is so appropriate she is getting this well deserved recognition. As a life long resident and product of the Newport School system, we are very fortunate for all she and her entire family do for this community.”

Kimberly Behan, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent and former Pell School Principal remarked, “Mary Sheehan is a jewel and one of the most dedicated teachers I have had the privilege to work with in my thirty years of teaching.  As her principal I relied on Mary's wisdom and expertise.  Mary is the an outstanding educator and is truly admired by her peers.  Children at Pell love to meet with Mary, she provides a genuine level of support to our students and families.  Mary is a true educator who continues her passion in learning by attending, presenting, and improving the newest supports for our children.”

Mary Sheehan has a Masters in Social Work from RI College; a Masters in Human Services from Florida State University;  and a Bachelor of Science in Health Studies from Universiy of New Hampshire. She is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in RI and has worked for Newport Schools for 15 years. Mary was the Coordinator of Even Start Family Literacy Program in Newport, Coordinator of Big Sisters, Recreation Therapist at Newport Hospital, and in Florida she served as an Intake Coordinator and a Counselor for Young Parents.

Mary will be recognized in a special educator celebration sponsored by RIDE at a September 23, 2017 Waterfire event.

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Marcin G. Rembisz
(401) 847-2100 Ext. 219