DMPS’ Gonzalez Wins Social Worker of the Year Award

SteveGonzalezDes Moines Public Schools is proud to announce Steve Gonzalez has won the 2014 ISSWA Social Worker of the Year Award.  He is the first Latino to receive the honor.

Gonzalez has served DMPS students since 1991 in a variety of ways as school social worker and he’s made a big impression on his coworkers.  Downtown School Principal John Johnson has worked with Gonzalez for the last five years.

“During his tenure as our school social worker, I have observed Steve go above and beyond his duties in a variety of ways,” Johnson said.  “It is very evident that Steve truly cares about our children and their families.”

Gonzalez serves in many capacities as a school social worker in the Des Moines Public Schools. During his career, he has had a wide range of duties, from working with young children at the Downtown School to young adults at North High School.

Gonzalez has been actively involved in providing after-school activities for students. After noticing Latino males struggling in school, he started a Latino group at North and he facilitated, along with a coworker, the first ever Mariposa Latina Group in Iowa. The focus of this groups centers on improving self-esteem, pride in Latino Heritage, educational achievement and providing post-secondary options for students. He also helped start the North High School Tae Kwon Do Sports Club. He served as an instructor, for 13 years, in the after-school club.

In addition to his duties at school, and as a member of the DMPS Grief Response team, Gonzalez has demonstrated his commitment to the youth and citizens of our community through his volunteer efforts with the American Red Cross Critical Incident Stress and Debrief team, the State of Iowa Disaster and Behavioral Health Response team, and he is a former Board member for the Young Women’s Resource Center and Two Rivers Martial Arts. Steve has been active with various Latino organizations, such as the Latino College Expo. He has helped teach a graded “skill streaming” class for at risk students with behavior and anger issues.

Along with two other social workers, Gonzalez was instrumental in developing Columbia Teen Screen Program for high schools in the Des Moines Public Schools. Teen Screen is a suicide prevention program.

Please join DMPS in congratulating Steve Gonzalez on a job well done.

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