By Holly Jenkins
Special to the Rappahannock News
In a closed session of the School Board meeting Tuesday, the RCPS School Board approved the hiring of Kathy Sickler, MSW, LCSW for the position of school social worker.
This marks the first time Rappahannock County Public Schools has employed a full-time social worker.
RCPS said that having a licensed professional on staff will prove to be a valuable asset to assist students and families in times of need.
An experienced clinician, Sickler previously worked in a variety of roles including Clinical Supervisor, Mental Health Case Management Supervisor, Mental Health Case Manager, and Emergency Services Clinician in Culpeper. She earned a Masters in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelors in Human Services and Counseling from Old Dominion University.
Her nearly two decades of experience revolve mainly around working with at risk youth, and she has particular specialization in adolescents in crisis and substance abuse intervention. She is also working toward becoming trauma-certified as well.
“I am very excited about this new opportunity for Rappahannock Schools,” said Sickler. “I have worked collaboratively with the school system for the last 5 years and am thrilled to be joining the team as the School Social Worker. We have a lot of exciting and innovative ventures planned that will help to further strengthen the students, their families and the community at large. I am very much looking forward to beginning in this new role.”
When designing the new position of school social worker, RCPS Superintendent Dr. Shannon Grimsley envisioned that the position would serve three main roles. First, the social worker will facilitate the creation of a K-12 parallel curriculum that explicitly outlines social/emotional supports available at every level.
Secondly, the social worker will be on-site to provide immediate assistance, intervention, and treatment for students in crisis situations. And thirdly, the social worker will develop and manage an anonymous hotline to report incidences of bullying, threats, suicide-risk, and request for family services.
According to Grimsley, “This is an enormous step toward becoming a more trauma-informed school and community. Ms. Sickler will be an amazing resource for our children and families.”