Although she began her job in April, Noblesville Schools’ new Mental Health Coordinator Michele Whaley said she is excited to continue developing social work and mental health initiatives district-wide. Current in Noblesville talked with Whaley about her background and what she plans to bring to the district.
Education: Master’s degree in social work from Indiana University, credentialed as a licensed clinical social worker, bachelor’s degree from Ball State University in psychology and Spanish
Career: Whaley has spent much of her career at Indianapolis Public Schools serving as a student/family care coordinator, behavior specialist and school social worker. Whaley also has worked with anti-bullying, crisis prevention, criminal justice and community support services. She is a board member for the Indiana School Social Work Association, and later this year, she will serve as the group’s president.
What attracted you to Noblesville Schools?
“I was immediately interested in Noblesville Schools when I learned of their committed focus on ensuring mental well-being of all students and staff. My hope was to become part of a district dedicated to creating a continuum of support services for students and families.”
What are you most excited about in your new role?
“I am looking forward to creating sustainable and effective mental well-being services for all students and staff. I’m also very excited about developing and supporting the roles of our new school social workers.”
What are your goals for district mental health?
“Our ultimate goal is to create a continuum of mental well-being supports that meet the diverse needs of all students and staff. By building connections with staff and families, and by fostering equity and inclusivity, we can reduce barriers to academic success.”
What do you plan to bring to the district?
“First and foremost, a passion and dedication to all Noblesville students, staff and families. I also come with a strong knowledge base of how mental well-being services can be integrated into and supported throughout a school system.”
What are your initial plans as you start in your role?
“Clearly defining and rolling out the social worker services to schools and families has been an essential first step in my new role. In order to maximize the services and supports available to students and families, it has been important for my time to be spent getting to know the culture and needs of each school building as well as exploring community resources.”