Meet the GHS Psychologist, Social Workers, and Prevention Coordinator/Homeless Liaison
This quarter, we’d like to introduce to you our school psychologist, social workers, and prevention coordinator / homeless liaison, and the vital work they do. School social workers and psychologists provide services that strengthen staff, student, and home partnerships. They are professionally trained to address barriers to learning and overall social/emotional well-being and create strategies to help students manage issues such as anger, stress, anxiety, and to foster self-esteem and optimism. Our prevention coordinator/homeless liaison provides social work services to homeless and at-risk youth District-wide, and ensures delivery of mandated services to facilitate homeless students’ attendance and access to appropriate education.
Mary Button, Ed.S., NCSP - School Psychologist
Mary Button has been with the Ball-Chatham School District for six years as a School Psychologist. She previously worked with students receiving services under Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice, as well as in the Evans County School District in Claxton, GA; and Richmond Hill School district in Richmond Hill, GA. Mary was also enlisted with the US Army, stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington, and in Korea. Mary graduated high school from Warrensburg-Latham High School and completed her Bachelor’s degree from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Kentucky. She later earned her Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology and Master’s degree in School Psychology at the Georgia Southern University in Statesboro Georgia.
While she enjoys working with and encouraging students to learn, she said she often feels there is not enough time in the day to do all that she wishes she could.
Mary has three children: Shelby, Chelsea, and Darcy. On her own time, she enjoys bike riding, piano, and a variety of music genres, hiking, traveling, football, soccer, scuba diving, repelling, and, of course, Yorkshire Terriers and Miniature Long-Haired Dachshunds.
Fun fact: Mary enjoys the great outdoors, and has spent years repelling in the more mountainous areas she has lived. She’ll soon take her adventurous spirit to the ocean, as she is currently learning to scuba dive!
Marni Countryman, BA, LCSW- School Social Worker
Prior to joining Ball-Chatham as a School Social Worker in August 1998, Marni Countryman served as a School Social Worker in the Chicago suburb of Berkley, at MacArthur Middle School for four years. She completed her undergraduate work at SIU-Carbondale, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in May of 1988. She went on to complete her post-graduate work at Loyola University in Chicago where she earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work in May of 1992.
About her position at Ball-Chatham, she says she feels that her work is creative, challenging, and purposeful. “It’s also exciting and I am never bored!” she says. “ I hope I am making the world a little bit better through my work, even if it is by helping a few people at a time. I love seeing my students grow, mature, and start to become the people they were meant to be.”
Marni is married to Paul, and together they have two sons, Caleb and Keiler Countryman. On her own time, she enjoys traveling, seeing live music, entertaining, hanging out with family and friends, hiking, cooking, and shopping.
Fun fact: Marni is vegetarian, and has been for over 20 years!
Erin Lowry, BSW, MSW - School Social Worker
Erin Lowry has served the Ball-Chatham School District as a School Social Worker since April 29, 2003. She graduated from Barry High School in 1995 and earned her Associate’s degree from Lincoln College in 1997. She went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 1999, and her Master’s degree in Social Work from St. Louis University in 2002.
About working as a social worker in our schools, she says, “My favorite thing is getting to build relationships with students, families, and staff. I love getting to know students and having the opportunity to support them by helping them learn the social-emotional skills needed to be successful.” Erin continues, “I also love being a part of helping teachers meet the needs of their students. As a social worker, I get to be there for students in crisis and connect families with resources when they are in need. There is no greater feeling than having a career that allows you to leave such a positive impact on so many people.”
As much as she enjoys her work, it’s not without challenges. “One of the biggest challenges in my profession is the lack of mental health services for students and families in our area,” she says.
Erin is married to Frank, and together they have two children: Mady (12) a 7th grader at GMS, and Zak (10) a 5th grader at GIS.
On her own time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids, and extended family. “My kids are my pride and joy and I love being their mom. I am constantly on the go taking them to all their activities and being their biggest cheerleader,” she says. She says she also likes hanging out with friends, shopping, and going on vacations.
Fun fact: Erin grew up on a farm in the rural community of Barry, Illinois. Her graduating class had only 20 students in it.
Trish Link, BSW - Prevention Coordinator/Homeless Liaison
Trish Link has served the Ball-Chatham School District since February 20, 1993. Previous to coming to BCSD, she held numerous social service positions working in the field of crisis intervention including teaching parenting classes for those involved in the foster care system. Trish graduated from Southeast High School in 1974 and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from SIU Carbondale in 1978. She is a certified Liaison for McKinney-Vento, which protects the educational rights of children and youth in homeless situations.
About her position, she says her work is engaging, and she loves encouraging parents, grandparents, and guardians in the challenges facing parents and students today. Working with parents to help problem-solve issues that are getting in their way at home or school is one of her favorite parts of the job. “What I like most about my profession can also be the most challenging part,” she says. “Today’s demands on families make it difficult at times to make those connections to help implement change.”
She was married to my husband Dave for 38 years before his passing in 2017. Together they have two sons, Ryan and Tyler, both graduates of Glenwood High School. Ryan went on to earn his Bachelor's degree from UIS, and Tyler from SIUe. She also has three grandchildren: Helena an 8th grader at GMS, and Jaxon a 5th grader at GIS. Her youngest grandchild is Bryson who is 2 years old.
Her favorite pastime besides spending time with her grandkids/family is meeting up with her old high school friends for coffee or a meal. “I also like reading and doing projects around the house.”
Fun fact: Trish admits to watching, and really enjoying, Hallmark movies!