Varjas Named International School Psychology Association President-Elect – Georgia State University News | #schoolsaftey

story by Claire Miller

College of Education & Human Development Associate Dean Kris Varjas has been named president-elect for the International School Psychology Association (ISPA), effective July 1.

The International School Psychology Association is an international, non-governmental organization that “provides training, resources and a global community to school psychologists or those interested in the field,” according to their website.

Varjas will serve a two-year term as president-elect, then will serve two years each as president and past-president.

“I’ve been involved with the International School Psychology Association since 1996, when I was a graduate student, and my doctoral advisor is a past-president of ISPA,” she said. “Following in her footsteps means a lot to both of us.”

Before becoming associate dean, Varjas served as director of the college’s Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate and Classroom Management from 2011-2022. Her research efforts include school- and community-based projects investigating staff and teacher well-being, mental health, trauma-informed practices, creating safe and affirming classrooms, bullying/cyberbullying, social-emotional learning and school climate. She also studies international and national mental health promotion, developing culture-specific prevention and intervention programs and the use of mixed methodology in school psychology practice. Varjas is the co-author of a book entitled, “School-Based Mental Health Services: Creating Comprehensive Culturally Appropriate Service Programs.”

She has received awards from the Georgia Association of School Psychologists (GASP) and Georgia State University for her work with diverse populations in the U.S. and internationally. Varjas was a qualitative methodological scholar on the joint International School Psychology Association-Society for the Study of School Psychology Committee on International Research Initiatives in 2007. She is a member of the Society for the Study of School Psychology (SSSP), where she served on the Task Force on the Further Diversification of the SSSP and the SSSP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Varjas served as chair of the National Association of School Psychologists’ (NASP) LGBTQI2-S Committee for seven years. During her tenure, she led the development of three position statements focused on creating safe schools for LGBTQ+ children and youth. She also served as the American Psychological Association (APA)-Division 16 representative to the writing group for the APA and NASP Resolutions focused on sexual and gender diverse children and youth in schools.

For more information about the International School Psychology Association, visit

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