February 1978 saw the founding of the Missouri Association of School Psychologists. The sole purpose of the organizational meeting was to make school psychologist certification a reality. MASP’s first President, Mike Rupley, successfully arranged a meeting with Dr. Arthur Mallory, the Missouri Commissioner of Education. At the meeting, President Rupley strongly urged Dr. Mallory to establish a school psychologist certificate. Needless to say, it took many more years before the school psychologist certification became a reality in Missouri.
The early focus of MASP was obtaining school psychologist certification and providing professional development to its members. Dr. Jerome Sattler, Dr. Alan Kaufmann, and Dr. John Guidibaldi presented at the early conferences. Later MASP cooperated with surrounding states to create a regional Central States Conference. MASP has continued to provide high quality professional development to its members throughout its existence.
MASP’s early leaders included Dr. Jim Tichenor, the late Dr. Bill Beveridge, Dr. Allan Ensor and Dr. Randy King. In the mid 80’s, Dr. LeAdelle Phelps, Dr. Richard English and Dr. Randy King wrote the initial school psychology certification standards for Missouri. The MASP leadership team looked to National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) for technical assistance in writing Missouri’s first school psychologist certification document. Dr. Tom Fagan came to Missouri to speak on behalf of MASP to the state certification committee.
When the initial certificate was drafted, Dr. Beveridge, along with MASP leadership, made critical decisions that lead to the successful acceptance of the School Psychologist certificate in Missouri. During the mid 1980’s, MASP’s leadership was concentrated in the eastern part of the state. There was a need to recruit and shift the leadership to the center of the state to facilitate communication with Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the only university training program for school psychologists at the University of Missouri - Columbia. Dr. Beveridge worked on expanding the leadership base in the center of the state and building relationships with DESE and other associations across Missouri.
Dr. Alan Ensor’s ability to forge relationships within DESE provided the foundation for continued dialogue. Once the school psychologist certificate was drafted, it was Dr. Beveridge’s special gift of consensus building that served our profession with distinction. Dr. Beveridge collaborated with the Missouri National Education Association and other educational associations across the state to obtain passage of the school psychologist certification. Dr. Beveridge’s persistence, along with other MASP leaders, saw the School Psychologist Certificate appear in the early 1990’s.
Missouri’s first group of certified school psychologists became a reality in 1993. As school psychologists were certified, MASP experienced slow growth. A second training program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis was started in the mid-2000’s under the leadership of Dr. Don Gouwens and recently received status as a NASP approved training program.