Tori (Hall) Posey '18 Makes an Impact as a School Psychologist
A personal experience can be the catalyst for someone’s educational journey.
For Tori (Hall) Posey ‘18, her fascination with psychology began with her mother.
“My mom was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was in high school, so I went to appointments with her. Through doing so I learned about neurology, and I was instantly intrigued,” she said. “I also knew that I wanted to work with kids, so to combine those two interests and become a school psychologist, currently with Akron Public Schools, was perfect for me.”
In order to obtain her psychology degree, Posey chose Malone for a few reasons.
“I liked the idea of having a faith-based education to inform my learning. I already had a faith-based worldview, and I wanted to support and develop that at a smaller school; especially because I came from a smaller high school. Malone checked a lot of boxes for me,” said Posey.
Malone checked more boxes for Posey than just academics, though.
“While my professors and classes stick out in my memory– like Dr. Eb, who is amazing– I got to experience living on campus for a year and participating in traditions like the Davenport Derby. Making connections there was really great; because the Malone community is smaller there are so many opportunities to develop strong relationships.”
Posey’s cumulative Malone experience led to her current position within Akron Public Schools, where she makes an impact every day.
“As a school psychologist, I do evaluations on students to see if they qualify for special education support and services. I consult with teachers to develop intervention plans for kids who may be struggling, occasionally I do crisis intervention, and I also work with our intervention assistance team to develop progress monitoring tools to figure out why a student isn’t progressing and to get them the help that they need,” said Posey. “I wanted a bit more flexibility than a typical teacher, which I have with this role. This role also allows me to focus on something specific, rather than trying to do everything in teaching multiple students. I get satisfaction out of helping specific students who are really struggling.”
Just as Posey enjoyed the community of Malone, she finds community a vital part of helping students.
“I serve three elementary schools. Akron is a very large district, and, with all its pros and cons, I really love it. There is usually only one psychologist in an entire district, but in Akron there are 30 of us. Elementary students are my passion, and I wouldn’t be able to serve them alone,” she said. “A student can be brought to my attention by teachers or parents, but usually I come to work with a student after being made aware of them by my intervention assistance team. We see behaviors and academic struggles, but parents also see behaviors that we don’t see while they’re at home.”
Despite her position often presenting many challenges, the joy that comes in successfully helping a student makes all the difference for Posey.
“There are a lot of systems in place in the education world that can make it hard for children to get what they need. On the other hand, it's so exciting to see a student be successful because we’ve implemented interventions that are working. It’s amazing to see students flourish because we are able to identify their needs and then meet those needs.”
Part of that success stems from Posey’s commitment to, and trust in, the Lord.
“I really believe that the Lord has given me favor with parents and students. He’s given me the ability to give them truth in love, and I am also able to love the students for who they are. I have a different lens than a teacher that sees a student everyday, and I’m able to show them love for who they are through that.”
Serving young students is so much a passion for Posey that she volunteers her time to do so as well at her church, Apostolic Church of Barberton.
“I am also the Sunday School director at my church and that’s a huge part of my life. Doing that and my day-job goes hand in hand, and I think that my job as a psychologist has helped inform me in my volunteer work. We have children at my church with disabilities and my job has allowed me to make suggestions for our teacher so that we can make Sunday School work for them. It's my favorite thing; my passion project.”
As she looks to the future, Posey acknowledges the base she was given at Malone, and hopes to carry that into the future.
“Malone made me look at different worldviews, because even though it's foundationally Christian, Malone helped broaden my horizons. I was strengthened through that, and I learned how to work with a variety of people. I hope to keep doing so as best as I can.”