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Devereux Center for Effective Schools Director Dr. Barry McCurdy to retire after 30 years of service


After 30 years of exceptional leadership and service, Devereux Center for Effective Schools Director and Health Service Psychology Internship Director of Training Barry McCurdy, Ph.D., NCSP, BCBA-D, is retiring in September 2021.

“I consider myself fortunate to have been a part of Devereux for 30 years. The organization has a rich history and culture. I feel like I have been able to contribute, at least in part, to that history, and hopefully, even helped to set the path forward.”
 — Devereux Center for Effective Schools Director Barry McCurdy, Ph.D., NCSP, BCBA-D

Dr. McCurdy has dedicated his entire career to improving the lives of children and adolescents with, and at risk for developing, emotional and behavioral disorders.

Since joining Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health in 1991, he has served in a variety of roles, including director of clinical and behavioral services at the Devereux Leo Kanner Center (now Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services), senior research psychologist and director of research and program development at the Devereux Institute of Clinical Training and Research, and most recently, director of the Devereux Center for Effective Schools (CES) and director of training for the American Psychological Association (APA)-approved Internship in Health Service Psychology, positions he has held since 1999 and 2009, respectively.

After 30 years of exceptional leadership and service, McCurdy is retiring in September 2021.

“I have been very fortunate to have had many opportunities to innovate within Devereux,” said McCurdy. “However, without a doubt, the innovation that gives me the most satisfaction and pride is the development of CES. In 1999, after having succeeded in attracting some grant dollars, I was able to hire a consulting psychologist and a research assistant. We initially referred to our new program as the Urban Schools Initiative because, at the time, our work was centered on the prevention of problem behaviors in urban schools. Later, we changed the name to CES as our work expanded beyond urban public schools to include suburban districts and other child-serving organizations.”

Professional achievements

In addition to the development of CES, which provides both indirect (e.g., consulting, technical assistance) and direct (e.g., operation of classrooms) services in a variety of settings, McCurdy says his greatest professional achievements are those he shares with colleagues across the organization, and include the following:

  • Development of New Directions curriculum: Completed in 1996, this was Devereux’s first skill-based training curriculum for front-line staff. Note: Since the initial development, this curriculum has been enhanced, and is now known as Essential Skills for Behavioral Health Professionals – EBD. This program is designed to enhance staff knowledge of the competencies needed to better serve individuals with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD).
  • Development of Building Essential Skills for Teachers of Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (BEST-EBD): Developed in 1999, BEST-EBD is a research-based teacher training program designed to help teachers effectively meet the needs of students with EBD.
  • Implementation of Devereux Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (D-PBIS): Launched in 2011, D-PBIS is a framework that combines several initiatives under one umbrella to create a seamless, multi-layered system of support for youth across all Devereux programs.
  • Adoption of Together Facing the Challenge (TFTC): Adopted in 2013, TFTC is an evidence-based model designed to improve practices in Devereux’s treatment foster care programs.

“The prestige and recognition of CES and Devereux’s APA internship program is due to Dr. McCurdy’s leadership over the past three decades,” shared Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical/Medical Officer Yolanda Graham, M.D. “He has trained, mentored and supervised so many school personnel and burgeoning professionals – his legacy will live on at Devereux, and within our field of behavioral health.”

CES Assistant Director Lisa Thomas, Ph.D., NCSP, who will be promoted to director upon McCurdy’s retirement, also noted, “Barry is a visionary. He has had a tremendous impact on the lives of so many students, educators, interns, postdocs and employees. “I am honored to have worked with him and received mentorship from him. The CES team will continue to achieve the mission he created of improving services for children with, and at risk for developing, emotional and behavioral disorders through the use of evidence-based practices.”

Future plans; parting advice

Upon his retirement from Devereux, McCurdy plans to take a part-time clinical professor position at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, teaching graduate students in school psychology.

He offers this parting advice for his CES team: “Remember our mission, and understand that the work you do positively impacts children. You have inspired me more than you know, and I will miss each one of you.”

Learn more about the Devereux Center for Effective Schools, and learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.


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