February SotM - Dr. Archibald

By Joshua Thomas

The role of a school psychologist is one overlooked by many. They don’t teach, nor do they have the same responsibilities as a school counselor. The niche job of a school psychologist is centered around support, and Tucker High School’s February staff of the month, Dr. Alva Archibald, embodies the role to perfection. 

School psychologists work to foster an environment that supports diverse learners, strengthen the relationship between school and the home, and champion academic excellence. A school psychologist is indispensable to the well-being of not only students but all members of a school’s staff. As the lead school psychologist for the district, Dr. Archibald ensures that every psychologist is well-equipped to handle the demanding responsibility to the best of their ability. 

Becoming a lead school psychologist is an arduous journey. In addition to the typical educational specialist degree (30 hours beyond a Master’s degree), Dr. Archibald also helps mentor new hires, provide advice for psychologists, and conduct comprehensive psychological evaluations. It isn’t a job many could do with proficiency such as Dr. Archibald’s. 

Coming from St. Croix of the US Virgin Islands, Dr. Archibald completed several degrees at Florida A&M University. Like most school psychologists, she belongs to multiple schools simultaneously – three, to be precise – and has been working at Tucker since 2008. Being the lead school psychologist has given her a vantage point into the mental health of students. “The need for prioritizing student mental health has been important for a long time now, it's good that policymakers are beginning to understand that,” she says. 

Being a school psychologist for so long has given Dr. Archibald a broader perspective on all things academic, as well as a deeper appreciation for the value of teamwork. She often hosts meetings with the school psychologists that she assists to learn what is working or not working at their respective schools. She uses this information to improve other programs across the district, expunging any factors that hinder the well-being of everyone in the building. “We work best when working with unity,” she adds, praising Dekalb for its diverse student body. She believes approaching problems from different perspectives allows us to identify solutions that we may not be able to reach alone. 

The passion that Dr. Archibald holds for learning inspires her to immerse herself in different places while traveling, both abroad and domestically. A deep love for her job fuels her patience for nurturing students into the best versions of themselves. Dr. Archibald's final wisdom to the students of Tucker High School is:

“Set goals, follow them through, and always proceed as if success is inevitable.”