School Social Work Association of Nebraska

Follow us online for news and latest information


News and Updates

School Social Worker of the Year

The 2024 SSWAN School Social Worker of the year was presented to Kristin Schultz of Grand Island Public Schools on May 21, 2024.  Throughout this school year, Kristin was also awarded the GIPS District Specialist of the Year as well as the 2024 For the Love of Children Award, presented by the Association for Child Abuse Prevention.

Midwest Council

Midwest Council Members met for their February Board Meeting in Chicago. Pictured is representatives from all 11 states in the Midwest Council. Nebraska was represented by Whitney Brown, Andrea Phillips, and Avery Fleck. 

SSWAN held our Spring Conference this past February at UNO!

Membership for the 2023-2024 school year is OPEN! 

 Please navigate to Join SSWAN for more information.

**Remember that all current members must register and pay each year** 

A Message from the President: 

Fall 2023 

A Message from the President:

Greetings to all Nebraska School Social Workers!  

The excitement of the coming school year is starting to set in, along with the disbelief that the summer is drawing to a close.  I hope you were all able to spend time with friends and family during the last couple of months, making positive memories as well as taking some time to do some things just for you!  It’s important that we, “the helpers” walk the walk and talk the talk about prioritizing good self-care!

I would like to take a moment to thank outgoing SSWAN board members, Molly Schnabel (past president), Emily Arkfeld (Midwest Council representative and secretary), and Susie Jones (treasurer) for all of their leadership, dedication and service on behalf of SSWAN over the last several years. I am very grateful to them.

I would also like to welcome new SSWAN board members or board members in new roles within SSWAN this year.  These board members include: Whitney Brown (president-elect), Rachel Houston (secretary), Lily Glantz (treasurer), Abby Bjornsen (member-at-large).  I am very excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with all of these new board members.  

It is very important to me that our state’s School Social Workers see our organization as one that recognizes and honors the “calling” that they, as school social workers, have chosen, the calling to serve students, families, and school staff. I want SSWAN to be a place where School Social Workers come together to celebrate their common purpose of service to these groups, as well as feel heard, represented, and supported. SSWAN should be a community where all School Social Workers feel they belong, regardless of the size of the district or ESU they work for, whether they are serving in an urban or rural area, or whether they serve birth to 5, elementary, middle or high school students!

It is clear that our organization is already working toward this goal, as illustrated by our continued growth in membership, particularly that of first time members.  My goal is to continue to build on this momentum, by seeing more and more school social workers joining our organization, as well as members increasing their engagement and involvement in our organization.

I look forward to seeing all of you at our first meeting on September 14th, which will be held virtually.  During the meeting the board will join me in sharing all of the exciting things we have to offer our members during the 2023-2024 school year at the local, regional and state levels as well as the national level! 

Membership sign ups for the 2023-2024 school year will start August 1st. If you wish to join us, feel free to click on the Join SSWAN portion of our website!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any ideas or feedback you might have at

Carrie Erks, LICSW

SSWAN President

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center’s Community Health & Advocacy team is excited to continue to partner with SSWAN during the 2023/24 school year to implement statewide efforts to expand supports to schools for youth mental health training and resources to create positive & supportive school environments that are trauma informed & promote suicide prevention best-practices.  This partnership will include Children’s sponsorship of 25 new SSWAN Memberships, support in planning and implementation of the 2023 SSWAN Fall Retreat, as well as support for the annual SSWAN Conference. Children’s recognizes the amazing support, training and networking opportunities that SSWAN offers to its members and is thrilled to be continue to partner to enhance support of School Social Workers across the state.

“...the most powerful form of reward is relational. Positive interactions with people are rewarding and regulating. Without connection to people who care for you, spend time with you, and support you, it is almost impossible to step away from any form of unhealthy reward and regulation.”

― Bruce D. Perry, What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing