Paul Brazzel is SDSU School of Social Work’s new Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Coordinator. He has a bachelor in psychology from Oregon State University and a Masters of Social Work (MSW) and PPS credentials from San Diego State University. After completing his undergraduate degree, Paul began to work in a youth and family service center in Portland, Oregon and found this work meaningful. Paul said, “It was a life changing experience because without knowing the theory, it showed me what trauma looked like.” Through this experience, he became aware of the social work field and how he could make a greater impact in peoples lives with an MSW degree.
While in graduate school at SDSU, he decided to get his PPS credential and completed his second year of field internship at Lemon Grove School District (LGSD). Paul enjoyed working with students. Paul returned to Oregon after completing his MSW degree and worked at the same agency that had inspired his work in the social work field. Soon after he decided to return to live in San Diego and found meaningful work in foster care as a case manager and later as a family therapist. Paul felt that his overall experience in different settings truly prepared him for his work as a school-based social worker. A year later he was informed about a school social work position at LGSD and was hired to return to do what he loved—social work in schools. Paul has been working in Lemon School District for more than 15 years and values the many skills that he has learned throughout this time. He shared that Trauma Informed Care and Restorative Practices in schools have been instrumental in his school social work career and practice. Paul has collaborated on several research projects in the LGSD through the Student Response to Intervention Model. Through this framework, he looks at student growth from different intervention models based on teacher rating scales regarding attendance, academic, and student discipline referral benchmarks.
Paul shared the importance of fostering relationships with other school social workers and being part of one’s own professional network. He is a member of the California Association of School Social Workers (CASSW) and shared how this professional network made him aware of the PPS coordinator position at SDSU. He encourages students and graduating students to become members of their professional network because there they will find other likeminded individuals that are passionate about the social work profession in addition to work opportunities. Paul shared that he has been a field instructor for many PPS students since 2003 and how much he loved working with them and seeing them grow professionally. Paul has only been the PPS coordinator since late January and he has enjoyed the interactive classes, learning about student field internship through site visits, networking with other field instructors, and from that experience, understanding each student’s perspective in their placements.
Paul would like students to know the importance of networking for career longevity, in addition to supervision and self-care. Paul believes there are two types of self-care that are important, “the feel-good self care and the have-to self care.” His “have-to” self care include supervision and positive contributions to education and his “feel good” are surfing, being in nature, biking, and traveling.
written by: Claudia Gonzalez
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