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Trish Quistgaard receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Trish Quistgaard of Bemidji received the Minnesota School Psychologists Lifetime Achievement Award. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

The Minnesota School Psychologists Association has recognized Trish Quistgaard of Bemidji with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Quistgaard, a school psychologist in the Bemidji School District, received the award Jan. 29 at the MSPA's Midwinter Conference in St. Paul.

Quistgaard said she felt honored to even be nominated for the award, and is overwhelmed to be recognized by school psychologists around the state.

"It made me really glad that I chose the career that I did," Quistgaard said. "It's been a very rewarding profession."

"It's a great compliment to her and the achievements that she's made over her years as a school psychologist," said Bob Vaadeland, who is the district's assistant superintendent and director of special education. "She's a shining example of a great professional person."

As a school psychologist in the district, Quistgaard primarily works with students in special education and their teachers doing assessments of the students and helping staff plan programs to meet students' special needs.

When she first started on the job with the district in 1981, Quistgaard was the district's only school psychologist and served all the district's schools.

Now, the district has three school psychologists and Quistgaard primarily works with the elementary schools, early childhood program and mental health day treatment programs.

She said one of the highlights of her job is being able to see youth grow and acquire both academic and behavioral skills and make positive changes in their lives. She also said she enjoys helping families connect with resources to support their youth. Additionally, she said she enjoys being part of the district's special education team.

Quistgaard also is a member of the Children's Mental Health Team of the Beltrami Area Service Collaborative. She said the team has played a role in bringing school-based mental health services to Bemidji schools and other schools in Beltrami County. The team, she added, also has looked at service gaps for children with mental health needs.

Quistgaard received a doctorate in school psychology from the University of Arizona in Tucson. She worked as a school psychologist in Tucson for three years and then worked at Upper Mississippi Mental Health Center before becoming a school psychologist in the Bemidji School District.