St. Vrain Valley School Psychologist Provides “Real World” Experiences for Psychology Students and Interns

Jacqueline Celaya with her dog, Bear.

Every year, Colorado Society of School Psychologists sponsors an annual award for School Psychology Supervisors. Jacqueline Celaya, school psychologist at Eagle Crest Elementary and Longmont Estates Elementary, was nominated for this award for her outstanding supervision of University of Denver Students. 

As a supervisor to psychology students and interns for the past five years, Celaya consistently provides a variety of opportunities for students to explore the profession and learn about the role of a school psychologist in the field. She gives students the ideal environment to learn and grow by encouraging and guiding them with “real world” on the job experiences and expectations. 

Celaya credits her transparency as one of the reasons she was nominated for the award. She enjoys talking about what it entails to be a school psychologist and likes to have honest conversations with her students and interns to get them prepared for what it’s really like on the job. 

“Graduate students learn certain things on how to be a school psychologist in a textbook kind of way. I enjoy teaching them the reality of how what they learned in school and in a textbook crosses over to the real world position,” Celaya said. 

Celaya, who has been with St. Vrain Valley School District for the past 9 years, enjoys her job as a school psychologist. She likes the fact that each day is different. She has a variety of responsibilities; from evaluating students to see if they qualify for special education services, holding IEP meetings, and testing students one-on-one, to brainstorming with a team of teachers on problem solving techniques, working with student behaviors and providing social emotional group lessons. 

“Working with special education students, getting to know them and watching them grow is the highlight” of her position, Celaya says. She has been lucky enough to watch a lot of her students grow from kindergarten to fifth grade. 

The advice Celaya has for those wanting to enter the field of school psychology is to “learn how to prioritize tasks and set boundaries.” She says the position can be “overwhelming at times and you can end up spending a lot of hours working at home, especially in the beginning.” After doing some self-reflection, she realized she needed a better balance between work and her personal life. Once she figured out a balance that was good for her buildings and good for herself, she felt much better overall. 

On her personal time, Celaya enjoys spending time with her dog, Bear, who is the center of her world besides her job. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends and playing golf.