Wake County School Social Worker named NASW North Carolina 2017 Social Worker of the Year
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Posted by: Valerie Arendt
(RALEIGH, NC) – Drew Pledger has been named the 2017 Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC).
The NASW-NC Social Worker of the Year Award is an annual award given to a social work professional who has demonstrated commendable social work practice and involvement with NASW and other professional, civic, and community organizations.
As a school social worker and Coordinator of Mental Health Services for Wake County Public School System (WCPSS), Drew Pledger, LCSW, ACSW, BCD has provided ongoing support to the county regarding issues around mental health services, best practices, supervision skills, crisis response and prevention. He came to WCPSS school social work department five years ago with an extensive wealth of knowledge in caring for the well-being of students and staff. Schools have come to rely on Mr. Pledger’s direction and expertise when dealing with complicated mental health issues.
“He has an unwavering desire to positively impact our world and help those in need. Drew is always the voice of reason,” says Darlene Johnson, Director of School Social Work for WCPSS.
Mr. Pledger serves as a Crisis Response Team Lead for the entire county school system which includes 177 schools and 160,000 students. He coordinates the mental health response for emergencies such as student and staff deaths and weather related events that disrupt student learning and determines how to communicate with families about follow-up and mental health support.
Mr. Pledger has prior experience in foster care, juvenile justice, and mental health but began his career as in a group home for a mental health center.
He received his Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina and worked in private practice providing psychotherapy for over twenty years but answered the call to lead mental health services as a school social worker with WCPSS.
Mr. Pledger was elected and served as a board member for the National Association of Social Workers.
Dr. Angelo McClain, CEO of the National Association of Social Workers says of Mr. Pledger, “Drew used his extensive and varied social work background to inform his leadership role on the National Board. He urged and emphasized cooperation and partnership with our Sister Associations to build a spirit and community of “we-ness”, because he believed by working together we could achieve more for social workers, the profession and the people social workers serve.”
Mr. Pledger was a founding member and Board Member of the National Clinical Social Work Association. He has been President of the North Carolina Society of Clinical Social Work (NCSCSW) and has also served on the Governor’s Crime Commission and as Chairman of the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Governor’s Crime Commission.
He is the recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award by the Governor for service to the state and was also recognized as the Clinical Social Worker of the Year by NCSCSW.
Of the social work profession, Mr. Pledger says, “It remains inherent for all of us to remain committed to our core social work values to support all people regardless of their status or any other issues that might cause them to be identified as different. I am so very proud to identify myself as a social worker and proud of NASW’s leadership. This organization provides a beacon of hope and a reference point around which we can rally and at times check our own moral compass.”
Mr. Pledger will be honored as Social Worker of the Year at the NASW-NC Annual Ethics Conference and Awards Luncheon at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh on Friday, March 24, 2017.
The National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC) is a membership organization that promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW-NC also seeks to enhance the effective functioning and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities through its work and advocacy.