Jim Persinger’s Personal Page

For those who want to know more about my education, professional background and affiliations, here’s my vita.

Aside from candidates in the School Psychology Program, I don't meet (face to face) many of those who take my online classes in spring or summer.  Here are a few professional and personal things to let you know me a bit.

I earned a B.A. and an M.S. at Emporia State University in ’88 and ‘90, and then studied at the University of Kansas (M.S., Ed.S., Ph.D.) while working in education for about nine years.  I primarily worked as a school psychologist after earning an Ed.S. in 1992, but throughout my career have concurrently had roles of preschool coordinator, program evaluator, and briefly, a teacher for students with autism.  I completed my Ph.D. in 1999, serendipitously at the same time a position opened in ESU’s Department of Psychology and Special Education, and started as an assistant professor in 2000.

I have been Director of the School Psychology Program since 2002.  For most of my career at ESU, I have taught courses across the Secondary Education, Adaptive Education, Educational Leadership, Clinical Psychology, and School Psychology programs.  At present, I’m almost exclusively a trainer of school psychologists, and teach intelligence assessment to clinical psychology candidates as well.  I was promoted from Associate to Professor in spring 2012.  In 2015 I was named a Roe. R. Cross Distinguished Professor, the highest honor afforded to faculty at Emporia State University.

My wife Keely and I met as students at the University of Kansas, and have been married since 1994.  She’s been a school psychologist in Abilene, Junction City, Manhattan, Flint Hills Coop (Emporia), and Eureka.  She ultimately switched hats, and is coming up on her 11th year as Director of ESU’s Center for Early Childhood Education.  Our daughter Emma is in high school and son Aaron will soon move on from elementary school.

I love the field of school psychology, but also have a few outside interests.  My main passion, as you can probably infer from the garage shirts I often wear on campus, is long-distance motorcycle touring, usually with camping gear strapped to the back.  My bike is five years old and has 65k on it, so I do really well, working my way through a bucket list of U.S. roads to ride and wonders to see while I’m healthy enough to pull it off.  I do my own personal iron butt run at least once a year, most recently Cody, Wyoming (entrance to Yellowstone) to Emporia, 1050 miles, in one exhausting day, and a campsite on the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park to home (960 miles, technically not an Iron Butt day).  Love it!

My idea of a perfect vacation is a three-day ride through the Ozarks at breakneck speeds, scraping floorboards along the way, or a week hitting every scenic drive in New Mexico or Colorado.  But motorcycle aside, a great vacation is to tour museums, art galleries and historical sites.  I never could fathom why somebody would pay to go someplace like a Jamaican resort for “fun and sun” all day.  Why would I want to pay to get sunburned and sweaty?  Living in Kansas, we can do that for free much of the year.

My many professional affiliations are in my vita.  I am in my 16th consecutive year of service to KASP on its executive board.  I served as 2008 President of the Kansas Association of School Psychologists, and organized the most heavily-attended KASP conference ever.  My most prominent professional service activities at present involve serving as KASP webmaster since 2006, trying to create a statewide network of PREPaRE-certified crisis prevention/intervention professionals in order to create a Kansas response team, and with ESU emerita Sharon Karr taking the lead, are trying to help get the NCSP parity bill passed in Kansas.  In addressing the crisis intervention piece, I was the first PREPaRE certified trainer in Kansas and have helped train around eight dozen individuals so far in crisis response:  there are several on the KASP board with this training, and together we intend keep offering this throughout Kansas.  I’m also a certified Safe Space trainer and in 2014-16 am helping GLSEN-KC offer those trainings throughout the state.

My research interests are diverse:

·          I am working to pilot a sociometric approach for use with Tier 1 of RTI:  a quick snapshop of a classroom, done in two minutes, which can with validity and reliability ascertain which children are likely to have increasingly social and emotional problems barring intervention.  I have presented on the topic at national conferences and will continue this line of research for several more years.

·          I am a huge advocate for school-based mental health services and particularly for population-based services (i.e., an emphasis on prevention).  An example of a paper I published on this topic is here.  I have another one on supporting LGBT families that was the feature story in the Communique’.

·          Mindfulness for children is a big interest of mine, and something I’ve done workshops on at conferences in recent years.  I hope to run some local groups and gain some measure of mindfulness training as “inoculation” against the stresses of childhood.  You’ll see some great resources I put together for a workshop, featured at the bottom of this page.

·          Long ago I researched theory and technique in use of role-playing games as social skills intervention with socially maladjusted and seriously emotionally disturbed juveniles, adult international students adjusting to campus-life, and gifted students of all ages.

·          In the heyday of the full inclusion movement, I extensively studied and have published on Kansas teachers’ definitions of inclusive education.  Practicing classroom teachers have somewhat different takes on inclusion, and actually operate from a very different philosophical and values foundation, than “inclusion experts” do.  You folks who worked in the schools during the 1990s, and experienced the “inclusion for all” push, know what I’m talking about.  Ask me about this topic, and I’ll randomly rant for 30 minutes without taking a breath.

Final note:  I am proud to say that my brother Jeff was in the Air Force for 25 years.  Aside from fun spots such as Bosnia, he also did multiple tours of Iraq and Afghanistan throughout 2007-10, and though recently retired has continued doing work in the region.  At this very moment, he’s in Kuwait.  Regardless of how you feel about our nation’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, offer your support to the troops.  He’s on the far right in this pic here, in the traditional pose the men strike when at a famous location.


A few pics from over the years, just for fun:


Roe. R. Cross Announcement April 2015 with President Schonrock, my father Jim Sr. surprised me there.

Our epic Disney once-in-a-lifetime (because who can afford more often than that?) Disney trip 2015.


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First day of my school psychology

internship, 1992.

First week as a professor, 2000.  A correlation = causation fallacy would suggest that work in higher education creates grey hairs, receding hairline and need for trifocals.


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If you know who this is (hint:  Sync magazine named him the #1 nerd of all time) you are indeed nerdly.



I’m usually clean shaven, but sometimes things get carried away during no-shave November.


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My brother, back from many years overseas, and I got together in summer 2010 in Las Vegas.

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Meeting Penn and Teller after their show:  Absolutely amazing performance.  My favorite is their goldfish trick.




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Heading to the top of Colorado’s Pike’s Peak Summer 2011


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Arizona’s Petrified Forest, Spring 2012


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Highway 55, New Mexico, Spring 2012:  Didn’t pass a building, gas

station or another vehicle for nearly two hours.  Fun, but…anxiety producing.



White Sands Missile Testing site in Arizona 2012. 



Cross Monument Valley, Utah off the bucket list, May 2013.  I made it a few hours into Colorado before a cold front moved in and shut things down for the night.  It was 17 degrees when I headed out at 5 a.m. for the 14 hour ride home the next day, coldest I’ve ever been caught in.  Thank you, heated gear!



Badlands National Park, South Dakota Summer 2013… Spectacular.  Hot!



June 2013:  Riding Custer State Park and Needles highway there is even more thrilling than the monument.



Approaching Devil’s Tower National Park, Wyoming 2013.  Mr. Happy joined me for that trip.



Going over the Bighorn Mountains, June, 2013:  As pretty as anything in Colorado, but zero traffic.  One of the best rides of my life.



What’s been labeled the Most Beautiful Highway in America, Beartooth Highway, Wyoming.  The difficult route into Yellowstone they advise motorists to avoid.  Late June 2013, and it just opened two weeks earlier due to snow and hazardous roads.  Sweet!



Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park, leaving Yellowstone.  June 2013.

J.D. Rockefeller Parkway, once of the most beautiful roads I’ve ever seen in my life.  90 minutes of unending views like this.



Last long ride of 2013, in September:  Going over Monarch Pass, Colorado as snowstorm moves in.



The only camper in sight along the Gualupe River in Kerrville TX May 2014.  I love west Texas for the Twisted Sisters.



The entrance to one of the ranch roads that makes up the Twisted Sisters.  Paradoxically, a good sign.



Big Bend National Park:  One of the least visited National Parks in the country, May 2014.