Family and School Liaison

by Pam Chamberlain, submitted 2013

Christie (née Espeseth) Badry supervises the Family-School Liaison Workers and the Children's Health and Mentorship program for the Battle River School Division. She facilitates the successful anti-bullying program Empathy Rocks, and she trains and supervises mentors and liaison workers who work in schools across the division. Christie also works one-on-one with at-risk youth who are struggling with grief, anxiety, or addictions, and acts as a link between workers, teachers, and parents.

It's a challenging role that requires not only a solid background in psychology, which Augustana provided, but also strong interpersonal skills. "Book smarts are important for a job like this," Christie says. "But they aren't enough. If I'm working with a 15-year-old kid who is suicidal, I have to be able to talk to him."

The job also requires a sense of humour. "If I act like a stick-in-the-mud, kids won't open up to me," she says. "The best thing I can do to develop a relationship with them is to make them laugh."

Humour doesn't only work with kids: "If I'm light and gentle with the people I supervise, they respond," she explains. Humour also helps her cope when the work is difficult. "It's hard to hear sad stories every day and not want to cry."

"Every day I work to find new ways to apply my psychology background to the real lives of students and families," Christie says. She adds that the best part of her job is helping people find their own answers.

Over the past two years that she's been a supervisor, Christie has worked to find her own answers too. "I've learned that a boss has to be gentle, ask questions, and listen. Taking a service attitude towards leadership makes me the best I can be."