Degrees and Certifications:
This passage is too long, and some won't read it; so here is a summary: I am John Bryan, New Bridge Middle School's new school psychologist. I appreciate this opportunity to work with brilliant teachers and staff, with engaged and caring parents, and with amazing children carrying our hopes and dreams.
Congratulations! You have stumbled upon the new New Bridge Middle School's school psychologist page. I am an old dog learning new tricks each day. I am originally from Long Island, New York. I earned a bachelor's degree with a major in psychology and a minor in fine arts. I began graduate school in New York, where I considered a career as an elementary school teacher. However, I discovered a thing called "school psychology."
I completed graduate school in Georgia with a Master's and a Specialist's degree in School Psychology around 1997. Since that time, I've worked in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Oklahoma. I've worn some different (albeit similar) hats. I have been a psychologist, lead psychologist, special education coordinator, coordinator of special education discipline, administrator of the Extended School Year program, and compliance specialist.
Also, I have served as a guardian ad litem, am trained as a mediator at the North Carolina District and Superior courts, and I hold a law degree. I did law school at nights in my late thirties because I was bored and had a passing interest in the philosophy of law. So, you can just imagine how fun I am! [insert concerned emoji face here].
I consider myself a child advocate. My greatest shortcoming may be a possible strength. Although I long believed being a father was my destiny, some of our prayers are simply not in the cards. As such, I view each child as a blessing, regardless of personal or perceived challenges. I treat each child as my own while holding the knowledge that this beautiful blessing is the parents' child - and I am merely a conduit assisting the child fostered by the guardians' dreams and intentions.
I also consider myself a parent advocate. Raising children is challenging, and education and special education can be a daunting labyrinth. My goal is to shepherd the parents through the process. Once in Oklahoma, I had a teacher friend who carried her own child's psychological report in her purse. I asked why she did this, and she said, "Because I don't understand it." Her sentiment was profound, and it greatly affected me. A complicated psychological report or fancy words are not good enough. Providing parents with better understanding ought to be my mission. However, a single psychological report will likely not provide all the answers. Rather, it is a piece of a puzzle considered in light of numerous sources of information.
I also consider myself a school advocate. Some argue that special education rules often hinder a child's ability to receive support. However, I argue that special education laws are sometimes the only thing protecting a child's rights. I fear lack of familiarity with some rules contributes to push-back. G.K. Chesterton proposed "Chesterton's Fence", which suggests systems ought not be dismissed before their purpose is understood. For example, fences can be built to keep things in, or keep things out. They can be used as a demarcation between two parcels of property. They can be built to battle erosion. Or they can simply memorialize past generations (e.g., my great grandparents built this fence stone-by-stone). When possible, I hope to assist in understanding why certain rules exist and how they may be designed to serve the child's best interest and to protect the child's fundamental rights.
If you reached the end of this introduction, you may have too much time on your hands - but I appreciate your indulgence. I write better (more fanciful?) than I speak so likely, I won't be using so many $5 words; much more nickels and dimes.