North Thurston educator honored

Assistant superintendent Maddy deGive named top supervisor by state counselor group

lpemberton@theolympian.comApril 3, 2013 

North Thurston Public Schools assistant superintendent Maddy deGive was recently named Supervisor of the Year by the Washington School Counselor Association.

“Dr. deGive is a phenomenal supervisor who has earned the respect and admiration of all the counselors in our district,” said Sharon LaBuda, a counselor at Timberline High School who was part of the team that nominated deGive for the award.

As assistant superintendent of Student Support, deGive oversees a variety of programs that help address children’s social and emotional needs in an effort to help them succeed in school. Those services include counseling, school nursing and parent education programs, among others.

“I oversee all of the Support Services for students in the district, as well as work around staff wellness,” deGive said. “I also oversee special education services. It’s a big area of responsibility and includes anything affecting kids such as transition from homelessness, the military or domestic violence. Generally, I do pretty much everything that doesn’t have to deal with instruction in the classroom.”

She recently spoke with The Olympian about her career and the award. Here are excerpts of the conversation:

Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Answer: I’m from the East Coast, and I’m actually a nurse and have a master’s in nursing. I also have a doctorate in education from the University of Washington.

I’m married to local pediatrician Henry deGive. We have three children who are grown and out of the home.

We moved to the area when my husband joined a pediatric practice in 1980. … And I actually started the nursing program at Saint Martin’s University in 1984.

Because I was involved a lot in community health nursing, Jim Koval, who was the superintendent of North Thurston at the time, called and asked if I would be willing to come to the district and develop a plan on how to utilize nurses.

… I started looking at how to deal with student health and medically fragile students. Somewhere, as coordinator, I assumed oversight of school counselors.

Q: Tell us about the award.

A: I was nominated by the Timberline High School counseling team. It was very nice of them and they highlighted the contributions I have made in advocating for school counseling and the school district. … I think that the recognition came because of my efforts and theirs and all of the counselors in the district who really came together around the district’s goal, which is to create a comprehensive system of student support for both academic and behavioral health.

Q: What was your reaction when you learned you received it?

A: I was surprised – I was really surprised. I knew that they did an award every year, but I hadn’t really thought about it much. I think my first reaction was, “I didn’t really want to be considered a supervisor.”

I think of myself as more of a facilitator and that allows me to work alongside some very special people in our district.

Q: What do you most enjoy about your job?

A: I think the most important part of my job is the capacity I have in working with others to help students and their families. Supporting staff also is a big part of my job.

I feel as if I work with the most amazing people every day, so as hard as some of that work might be, it makes it a lot easier because of the colleagues I have working with me.

Q: What tips do you have for others about the art of supervising?

A: Well, first of all, I think you have to build trust and you have to have the relationship with people first, and then from there you have to have credibility. You have to be at least informed, if not as expert as they are in their roles.

A lot of it is supporting them and maximizing their strengths – everybody has those.

Q: Do you ever get a chance to return to nursing?

A: I do. I very often open a school in the fall (and work as its nurse); or if for some reason if I have to cover a school, then I’m there. And I spend a lot of time with the school nurses and answering questions and concerns from parents and school staff around health related issues. That’s a lot fun.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: I’m just very grateful for the position that I have, and the opportunities that have been given to me to work with people who are so dedicated to children’s well-being. It’s very rewarding.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com www.theolympian.com/edblog @Lisa_Pemberton

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