A pair of social workers in the Richland School District Two in Columbia were recently recognized through their work with College of Social Work students at their field education placements. Alum Venesia Johnson received the Master of Social Work Field Instructor of the Year Award, while Leslie Roth earned the Bachelor of Social Work Field Instructor of the Year Award.
Johnson, MSW ’05, is a school social worker at Spring Valley High School. She was nominated by MSW graduate Raven Martin.
“I am grateful and truly humbled. It is my belief that it takes a team and collaboration to truly be successful, and it is great to be a part of a team that continually produces competent social workers who are grounded in maintaining their ethics,” Johnson says. “I am honored to be a part of that process. Being such an important part of a students’ educational journey truly makes me feel eager to continue to serve in the role of field instructor.”
According to Johnson, the most satisfying part of being a field instructor and working from students is growing and learning from one another.
“I am always excited when a student shares something new that they have learned in class, and we are able to put it into practice,” Johnson says. “It is my belief that learning is a two-way process, and I am always zealous not to only share my knowledge, but to learn from others around me. I am confident that once a student leaves their placement, that they are ready to make change and be successful in their future professional roles.”
Roth serves as a social worker at Conder Elementary and Pontiac Elementary schools.
“It is an honor to be given this award,” Roth says. “I have always been grateful to the field instructors who helped shape my practice as a social worker, so it is very rewarding to be able to continue to move our profession forward through working with students.”
Roth added that she enjoys working with students because they are always seeking to connect what they are learning in the classroom with their experience in the field.
“They make me reflect on my work through their lens as learners and give me new and innovative ideas for ways to support children and families in the school setting,” Roth says. “I am thankful to them for the contributions they have made to my school and to my own professional development.”
Field instructors at the College of Social Work provide on-site supervision, advisement, and instruction to BSW and MSW students in the field practicum and promote their development of social work skills, abilities, values and ethics.