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2013 Social Work Award Recipients
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2013 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 2013 Awards Recipients will be honored during the Opening Plenary  of the 37th Annual State Conference at the Hilton Austin in Austin, Texas, on August 31st.



Congratulations to the 2013 NASW/Texas Award Recipients and to everyone recognized by their local branches for their contributions to the goals and mission of the social work profession.


2013 Lifetime Achievement Award

Catheleen Jordan, Ph.D., LCSW


After completing her MSSW at the University of Texas at Arlington, Dr. Catheleen Jordan began her social work career in 1974 as a child protective services worker. She spent the next 12 years in a variety of practice settings working with the most vulnerable client populations imaginable. She received her Ph.D. in 1986 at the University of California, Berkley and launched a career packed full of repeated outstanding achievements that have positively affected clients, students, the academic community, and public policy.



Dr. Jordan is known as a champion of both science and innovation in social work practice. She has consistently demonstrated outstanding creativity in the use of technology for online courses and is well known for her enjoyment and effective use of social media. It is rare to find social work faculty that excel as a teacher, scholar, practitioner, and advocate. As a teacher, Dr. Jordan not only delivers academic content in her classes but she also models the values, science, and practice skills that are needed to carry out the profession of social work. Since social work is an applied profession the integration, practice, research and demonstration of interventions in the classroom and the community are the most valued traits of a social work educator. Having served as the Director of the UTA School of Social Work Community Service Clinic for four years and in numerous other settings, she steps out of the ivory tower and maintains a hands-on approach to working with clients and interns and often continues mentoring both MSSWs and Ph.D.s post-graduation.



Dr. Jordan is politically active and works to encourage others to be as well. She follows and tweets about elections, legislation, and issues that are of utmost importance to the social work profession. She easily weaves together policy and practice on a daily basis. She has demonstrated her commitment to diversity in working with the NAACP and the University of Texas at Arlington’s Women and Minorities Committee. Strengthening resiliency has been a hallmark of many of her projects – from HIV-AIDS to homelessness to aging.



Her leadership as president of the Texas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers helped launch an increased awareness of evidence-based practice that has influenced our conference content. Her exceptional scholarship and leadership abilities have led to numerous awards and recognition over the years.



Dr. Jordan has a "work hard, play hard” philosophy. Her innumerable publications and presentations at the local, state, national and international level; mentorship through supervision and work with colleagues; serving as chair and as a member of Ph.D. dissertation committees and MSSW theses committees; her willingness to serve in substantive volunteer positions speak to the hard work. Her love of music, of social interaction, of sharing herself through social media speaks to her love of play.



Dr. Catheleen Jordan has achieved a lifetime of weaving resilience and advocacy!


North Central Texas - Fort Worth Branch


2013 Social Worker of the Year

Lee LeGrice, Ph.D., LCSW


Dr. Lee LeGrice has an exemplary professional history. She has worked in the field as a clinician and as a field supervisor for many years. She demonstrates a high commitment to service, social policy, administration, and research as evidenced by her success at Lena Pope Home, Inc. and the Mental Health Association of Tarrant County. In both positions, she increased capacity of programs through the acquisition of grant funds and effective fiscal and supervisory management.



Lee has demonstrated outstanding leadership though directing the implementation, organization and operation of family services programs for adults and children. She has served in leadership capacities for community boards and organizations such as the Community Advisory Board, the Brian William Norris Foundation, and the Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County.



Lee advocates for clients and client services through her commitment to best practices in social work through research and scholarship. As a measure of this, Lee has published peer-reviewed journal articles on effective strategies for at-risk juveniles. She has presented at local and national forums on issues related to best practices for children and families as part of her broader contribution to the field of social work.



Throughout Lee’s career in social work, she has taken numerous risks to achieve outstanding results. As an example, she developed and launched the first pilot project in Texas designed to privatize child welfare services with a budget of over 20 million dollars. Not only did the program show effective results for children and families, but there was over a 90% retention rate for care coordinators involved with the program.



Dr. Lee LeGrice is an inspiration as an administrator, an advocate, a field supervisor, and a clinical practitioner. She epitomizes the power of social work!



North Central Texas - Fort Worth Area Branch



2013 Social Work Student of the Year

Carliene S. Quist


Carliene Quist, an MSW student at the University of Texas, El Paso, has shown outstanding dedication toward integrating social work values and principles both in the classroom and outside of the classroom and in diverse communities. Carliene participated as a graduate assistant in the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Mexican Migrant Women Study in El Paso, Ciudad Juarez and Guadalajara, Mexico this summer.


She was instrumental in recruiting and interviewing migrant women for the study. Her perspectives were fundamental in advancing the research goals of the project. The research team commended Carliene on her effectiveness in interacting and working across cultures and disciplines. Carliene is passionate about advancing social work beyond international and bi-national boundaries.



This summer Carliene volunteered with the Voices and Images of Migrant Women Photovoice Project. For several Sundays she met with the participant’s children. She led reading, writing and interactive activities as a way to educate and engage the children in team learning. Her support was Instrumental in implementing the Photovoice project. The children loved la ‘Senorita o Maestro Carliene’.



She has contributed in many other community and scholarly efforts. Among the most salient contributions in the community and academia are: Advisory committee member for the Voices and Images of Migrant Women Photovoice Project; Social media consultant for the Frontera Women’s Foundation; Microsociety coordinator for La Fe Preparatory School; Unit director of the Boys and Girls Club of El Paso; Bilingual elementary school teacher for Teach America; intern operations coordinator for Casa Amiga Centro de Crisis; Fulbright Garcia Robles Research Fellow; and summer camp coordinator and assistant director for the Fast Youth Program in St. Joseph, MN.



In addition to actively participating in these endeavors, Carliene has rallied with activists and community members of both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border to call for gender and human rights, and to end the extreme violence in Mexico. She demonstrated remarkable commitment toward advocating for vulnerable populations by participating in a peace protest in Ciudad Juarez to end violence against women.



Through her advocacy efforts on behalf of children, women and immigrants and other marginalized and underserved populations in the U.S-Mexico border region, she has demonstrated an outstanding ability to weave resilience and advocacy!


Rio Grande Branch



2013 Public Elected Official of the Year

Senator Kirk Watson


Senator Kirk Watson has made significant contributions to Austin, to children, to women, and to Texas. He has acted with courage, demonstrated outstanding leadership and exemplified social work values and ethics. Kirk Watson is former mayor of Austin and has been described by Texas Monthly Biz magazine as "a man with a vision of what the community wants and the moxie to carry it out.” Watson was elected to the Texas Senate in 2006. He represents Bastrop County and most of Travis County in the Texas Senate. Among other recognitions, in 2009, he was recognized by Texas Monthly magazine as one of the state’s "10 Best Legislators,” and in 2010 he received the Pro Texana Medal of Service Meritorious Achievement Award from Baylor University.



Senator Watson’s priorities center on education and higher education, health care, economic development, 21st Century energy generation, environmental protection, transportation, budget transparency and state employees. He serves on the Senate committees overseeing Business and Commerce, Economic Development, Nominations, and Transportation and he is Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education.



As a cancer survivor, Senator Watson is also passionate about making sure that all Texans—particularly children—have access to health care. He has been active in numerous health organizations, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and he served on the original board of the Lance Armstrong Foundation.



Through his work in the legislature, Senator Watson exemplifies the values of courage and leadership at the heart of public service. He is a tireless champion for Texans in need of a voice at the State Capitol and can always be counted on to prioritize his constituents and the community he represents.



By his work on women’s health issues, domestic violence, the environment, education, and health care, Senator Watson has demonstrated an ability to weave resilience and advocacy into public policies that affect the most vulnerable people in Texas.


Capital Area Branch



2013 Public Citizen of the Year

Reverend Ann E. Helmke


Rev. Ann Helmke, an ordained Lutheran minister, helped to organize the San Antonio Gang Peace Summit and Seminars in the 1990s that have saved lives and grief for thousands of local families by significantly reducing drive-bys and other inter-group violence. The act of approaching gang leaders and inviting their participation required extraordinary personal courage and faith in a process that has resulted in a city that is notably safer for residents and has required fewer law enforcement officers than cities of comparable size.

This experience prompted her and others to found the peaceCENTER, the local and now national and international effort to promote expressions of peace in homes and in communities through written and graphic expressions. She now serves as the peaceCENTER’s "Animating Director.”



Rev. Helmke continues to bring peace, justice, and spiritual comfort to those in need of transformation as recently appointed Director of Spiritual Services at Haven for Hope, San Antonio’s comprehensive homeless shelter, with an annual clientele of hundreds of families and thousands of persons who are homeless, victims of abuse, disenfranchised, in need of mental health and substance abuse intervention, and often lacking in education and work skills, the very populations that are priorities for social workers.



Throughout Rev. Helmke’s career, she has committed herself to serving others and promoting peace. In Lauren Kramer’s article for the SA Express-News on September 4, 1999, she described Rev. Helmke as a "San Antonio woman (who) labors to find peace in our time.” She wrote, "It’s not every day that a farm girl from small-town Illinois develops a passion for the bright stars of a clear Texas night, and an even deeper desire and commitment to promote peace in the world. Look into Ann Helmke’s penetrating blue eyes and you see the disarming frankness of a woman who has found her calling and responds to it daily with unabashed enthusiasm.”



Rev. Ann Helmke continues to embody values, courage, and dedication. As the NASW/Texas 2013 Public Citizen of the Year, she has demonstrated extraordinary capacity to weave resilience and advocacy in pursuit of better lives for thousands of people.


Alamo Area Branch



2013 Media Award

Jeremy Schwartz and the Austin American Statesman Investigative Team
Brenda Bell, Dave Harmon, Eric Dexheimer, Tony Plohetski, Christian McDonald and Jay Janner


Jeremy Schwartz has been a reporter at the Austin American Statesman since 2002 and has covered military and veterans issues since 2009. He has reported from both Iraq and Afghanistan where he accompanied Fort Hood troops and has written extensively on claims backlogs at the Department of Veterans Affairs and behavioral health issues affecting veterans and active duty troops. He has been covering the military trial of the accused Fort Hood shooter for more than three years.



Mr. Schwartz and the team have provided excellent and insightful investigative research and reporting work done by a group of reporters and researchers known as the Austin American Statesman Investigative Team. Along with Jeremy, Brenda Bell, Dave Harmon, Eric Dexheimer, Tony Plohetski, Christian McDonald and Jay Jannerhey have tackled some of the tough topics our state and nation needs to face. In particular they have taken on the passive neglect of our veterans. They have challenged the timelines for care and the hidden nature of the problems of returning veterans and their families.



They have taken on the challenge of questioning the government’s role in assisting veterans, not just for the delays in providing care for the obvious injuries of the war but in responding to the subtler and more passive mental health needs of our nation’s veterans.



They have reviewed and reported on the dangerous and self-destructive behaviors of our returning soldiers. They reported on the elevated suicide and accidental death rates among our young veterans. They have examined the economic and medical shortcomings posing hardships on veterans and their families and have motivated societal support to challenge the government and society to expect more and to do more.

They have highlighted the gaps in the bureaucratic system, which resulted in the creation of a state Veterans Coordinator position and to calls for a Congressional hearing by US Rep. Bill Flores.




The profession of Social Work has a long history of working with military families and veterans. Mr. Schwartz and the team have been able to say, in a very public way, what social workers have been saying for a long time. We are indebted Mr. Schwartz for both his passion and his skill.


Capital Area Branch



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