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2015 Social Work Award Recipients
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2015 NASW/Texas Award Recipients


The NASW/Texas Awards seek to honor the achievements of NASW/Texas Members throughout their professional careers, as well as honor the contributions of publicly-elected officials, public citizens, and members of the media to the values and mission of social work. Award recipients are nominated by their branches and selected through a review and voting process by the NASW/Texas Board of Directors. The 2015 Award Recipients will be honored during the Opening Plenary  of the 39th Annual State Conference at the Galveston Island Convention Center in Galveston, Texas, on Thursday, November 12, 2015.


Congratulations to the 2015 NASW/Texas Award Recipients featured below and to everyone recognized by their local branches for their contributions to the goals and mission of the social work profession.







2015 Lifetime Achievement Award

Tony carroll, lcsw


Each year, the Texas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers selects a social worker for this award to celebrate a lifetime of accomplishments. In honoring the Lifetime Achievement Award winner, NASW/Texas recognizes the best social work values and accomplishments demonstrated in the social worker’s lifetime. Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards demonstrate repeated outstanding acheivements, make contributions of lasting impact, demonstrate outstanding creativity, and receive recognition beyond the social work profession.


Tony Carroll has been a trailblazing psychotherapist providing culturally sensitive, compassionate care for LGBT individuals since the 1970s and 1980s when homophobia, violence and oppression directed against gay Texans was rampant. In addition, over the last four decades, he has emerged as indefatigable civic activist, a generous philanthropist, a passionate supporter of the arts, andmost significantly -- a leader in the struggle for full equality for LGBT people.


Tony has worked extensively with the AIDS Foundation Houston, training and supervising teams of volunteer caregivers. He went on to serve as a board member of many cornerstone institutions of the Houston GLBT community, dedicating countless hours to building community institutions: the Houston Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, the Houston chapter of Log Cabin Republicans, the Houston Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the Association for Family and Community Integrity, and the Montrose Counseling Center.

In addition to a thriving private practice, he gives workshops intended to provide LGBT people with the skills and tools to sustain and enhance long-term relationships. He has also developed a series of workshops for single people related to their selecting partners and forming relationships. This work has become the hallmark of his professional image. He has been selected as "Houston's Gayest and Greatest Therapist" by the readers of the monthly LGBT magazine, OutSmart, for almost a decade, and is regularly called upon to do media interviews on LGBT issues. It is clear and fortunate for the social work community that Tony's passion has broadened from striving for change in the individual through his work in psychotherapy to working toward broader societal changes.


Tony Carroll truly embodies through a lifetime of professional work that social workers pave the way for change.


Nominated by the Houston Branch

2015 Social Worker of the Year

Kathryn revtyak, lcsw


The Social Worker of the Year Award honors a member of NASW/Texas who exemplifies the best of the profession’s values and achievements. In honoring the Social Worker of the Year, NASW highlights superb accomplishments in the practice of social work. The Social Worker of the Year demonstrates outstanding leadership, advocates for clients, and takes risks to achieve outstanding results.


Kathryn Revtyak has made significant contributions to the social work profession. Throughout her career she has embodied the essence of social work values. She has served on several boards of directors, including the Annunciation House and Border Hope Institute of the Dioceses of El Paso while practicing clinical social work.  Kathryn is currently teaching at the University of Texas at El Paso in the Department of Social Work.


Kathryn started working at the Annunciation House in 1998 as a case manager working with the refugee population.  She demonstrated extraordinary case management, resource management, and leadership abilities as she advocated for one of our most vulnerable populations.  Through reflection and a self assessment of her passion, Kathryn returned to graduate school at the University of Chicago in 2001 to obtain her Masters degree in social work. 


Since obtaining her social work degree, she continues to manage her position as President of the Board of Directors of Annunciation House, while acting as Co-Chair for their annual fundraising event, and working as a social work educator at University of Texas El Paso. In addition, she is a clinician in private practice and a facilitator for Capacitar En La Frontera, a multicultural education program promoting healing on both sides of our border. She has been effecting change at all levels of practice which is evident in her direct work as a clinician in private practice, on a mezzo-level with groups, such as Capacita, and educating students and on a macro level as activist and organizer of convocations and response teams. 


Kathryn exemplifies our social work values through her profound integrity with a strong sense of social justice that is inspiring.  She is deeply respected by her colleagues and has mentored numerous aspiring social workers.


Kathryn Revtyak has made significant contributions to the social work profession and the clients she has served.  Kathryn embodies scial workers paving the way for change.

Nominated by the Rio Grande Branch


2015 Social Work Student of the Year

sara ferguson


The Social Work Student of the Year Award honors a student member of NASW/Texas who is enrolled at least halftime (as defined by their school) in a graduate or undergraduate Social Work Program and has made an outstanding contribution to the goals and mission of the profession. The Social Work Student of the Year demonstrates leadership, a commitment to social justice, the profession of social work, and clients, and the integration of social work knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values.

Sara Ferguson is an MSW student at The University of North Texas and during her course work she has demonstrated her amazing leadership abilities both professionally and personally. 


Sara has exhibited a passion for social work that goes beyond the classroom experience and aligns with the social work core values, especially service and dignity and worth of a person.  During a class project, Sara partnered with a local agency to bring a nationwide initiative, the 100,000 Homes Campaign, to Denton County for the first time. She volunteered to be on the fundraising committee in order to help provide monetary support for individuals experiencing homelessness.  Within a few months, Sara was able to single-handily raise over $7,000 for the project. 


Sara has a firm passion and belief in upholding economic justice and working for the most disadvantaged populations. She thoroughly puts her heart into the work. Her desire to impact the lives of others and the community is a trait that has made her very successful in her path to become a social worker.


Sara Ferguson has demonstrated through her activism that social workers truly pave the way for change.

Nominated by Texoma Branch


2015 Public Elected Official of the Year

judge susan steeg


The Public Elected Official of the Year Award recognizes outstanding service and contributions of an elected official who has shown leadership in the formulation of public policy, particularly policies that affect social justice, health care, education, civil and human rights, and social practice.

Judge Susan Steeg has served as Justice of the Peace for Travis County Precinct 3 since 2007. Prior to being elected as Justice of the Peace, Judge Steeg served as General Counsel for the Texas Department of Health until she retired in 2004. A lawyer for 30 years, Judge Steeg applies her experience in private, legal aid, and government practices to the varied cases that come before her.


Judge Steeg’s court is a model of what we, as social workers, want in place for children and their families struggling with truancy. 


As you may be aware, in Texas, our Justice of the Peace courts handle truancy cases, the very complex, thorny cases that truly need the help of a social worker, and not just a judge. When Judge Steeg came on board as Justice of the Peace, she identified funding that could be used for truancy case management. She also knew that her truancy cases are symptoms of much larger, more complex issues that must first be addressed in order for these students to succeed in school.  Judge Steeg recognized these challenging cases needed more than a visit with a judge in a courtroom, so she hired a social worker! With a social worker on board, Judge Steeg and her team also leveraged the resources of the University of Texas School of Social Work and the Texas State University School of Social Work to develop internship programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Now, her most challenging truancy cases are tackled not only by her, but also by a licensed professional masters-level social worker and interns.


Judge Steeg has shown a tremendous commitment to the cause of treating the symptoms that lead to increasing school absenteeism, as she used her station as a justice judge to better the lives of young people in her community of Travis County. Judge Steeg’s many procedural innovations have not only pushed the envelope of service delivery, but also have paved a road of proven evidence based practices in this growing field.


Judge Steeg has received many awards and recognition for her work. A few of her accomplishments include eliminating backlogs in the civil and criminal docket; streamlining government by implementing cloud-based case-management for JP courts replacing the 25 year old legacy system; reducing Truancy by implementing  the previously mentioned juvenile case management program to increase the success of our truant teenagers in completing their education; and improving access by obtaining bus services to the Travis County Precinct 3 campus which includes Health and Human Services offices. 


Staff that work with Judge Steeg state “we are incredibly lucky that our JP, Susan Steeg, takes the right approach to addressing the complex challenges that cause students to end up in her courtroom”.  Judge

Steeg should be commended for her great foresight that introduces 21st century ideas spanning various academic disciplines to an age old dilemma.”


It is evident that Judge Steeg embraces the value that social work paves the way for change. 


Nominated by Capital Area Branch


2015 Public Citizen of the Year

Dr. shelley dumas


The Public Citizen of the Year Award honors an outstanding member of the community whose accomplishments exemplify the values and mission of the profession of social work and who has acted with courage to make significant contribution to an area or population of concern to the social work profession such as: at-risk or vulnerable populations, quality of life in communities, or social issues.


Dr. Shelley Dumas holds a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Texas. She is currently the Director of Community Education with the Texas Center for Disability Studies, at the University of Texas in Austin. For the past 28 years, Dr. Dumas has worked with individuals and families, as well as national, state and local agencies and organizations in program development and evaluation. In the same arenas, she has delivered training and technical assistance, in person-centered practices, family support, self-determination, and inclusive community and education practices for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.  She served on the University of Texas doctoral dissertation committees in the areas of rehabilitation and social work. In 2002, she was named a member of the newly formed Texas Department of Mental Health-Mental Retardation Institutional Review Board, which reviews research proposals sent to that agency.


In August, 2014 through her values and courage, Dr. Dumas, was instrumental in approaching Chris Adams, the Deputy Commissioner of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, and bringing Person-centered Practices to those living in State Supported Living Centers (SSLCs). Her efforts are to assure that people with intellectual developmentally disabilities living at the SSLCs “receive better lives, not just better paper” by teaching the skills needed to have a conversation that will identify what is “important to and important for the person and the balance between.”


In November, 2014, Dr. Dumas received the National Award for Meritorius Service by the Association for University Centers on Disability, (AUCD). Dr. Dumas was given the Texas Association on Mental Retardation 2003 Award for Significant Contributions in Research and Education in the Field of Mental Retardation. She has published a research study on person-centered planning entitled "Perceptions of people with mental retardation and their family members in using a person-centered planning process to access services and supports”. 


Currently, Dr. Dumas is providing training and conducting research in the areas of self-determination and self-advocacy, person-centered practices, and family support. She is a founding partner of the Texas Institute for Person Centered Practices.


More importantly, she is the parent of Katherine Dumas, who lives at home in the Austin community and receives community services from a local provider through the Home and Community Based Services waiver.  Shelley’s personal experience of being a parent of adult with intellectual and developmental disabilities has provided her with the strength and drive to assure her daughter and others are able to become valued members of their communities.  


Dr. Dumas’ support of social work values and understanding the role of social work and her own efforts is evidence that social work paths the way for change.  


Nominated by Capital Area Branch


2015 Media Award

charles kuffner
blog, off the kuff 


The Media Award recognizes outstanding contributions in Print, Radio, Television or Online Publications that provide information to the general public and demonstrate leadership in their respective media area by: accurately portraying the social work profession; portraying issues of concern to social workers; increasing the understanding, awareness, and value of the social work profession to the general public; effectively communicating the impact of policy decisions on the lives of Texans; using social workers as resources for articles/reports.


Charles Kuffner has been an invaluable resource for social workers through his blog Off the Kuff which covers a variety of civic, social, and political topics. 


Charles readers can hear his passion, humor and fair-mindedness in his writings. Charles provides a depth of commentary on a number of issues important to social workers and our clients. He is then able to deliver his message with reason and empathy. He was named one of the 35 People Who Will Shape Our Future in 2008 by Texas Monthly, stating he delivers his message with a measured, reasoned, only occasionally outraged voice. 


Charles' writings include coverage and commentary of a number of issues important to social workers, such as advocacy for, eventual passage of and efforts repeal against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). HERO would extend equal rights protection to gay and transgender residents.  He reported facts as they developed, cheering on supporters, and making his own arguments to support, writing its not just about preventing discrimination. 


His advocacy is not limited to blogging.  He worked closely with parents of public school children to teach them about the many ways public policy in Austin has a direct impact on the quality of the public school in Houston.  He is also a regular guest on local television news panels and the Houston Chronicle features him regularly as a reader-blogger under the Kuffs World byline.


Connecting people to resources, helping them understand what they need to know to improve their lives and relationships is the essence of social work and is also the essence of Charles work on Off the Kuff and in the community.


Through mass media, reporting Charles Kuffner truly demonstrate how social workers pave the way for change.


Nominated by Houston Branch

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