Barbara A. Hardy-Gibson, PhD, is a retired psychologist whose career spanned 28 years of practice in K-12 schools and postsecondary education. Dr. Hardy-Gibson’s interest in psychology began at a young age after accompanying her father to his volunteer position at the St. Jude Children’s Hospital as a child. She began volunteering at the hospital as a sixth-grade student and quickly realized a passion for “helping those who help others,” recognizing that she could make a difference through supporting providers in addition to patients and their families.
Dr. Hardy-Gibson began her professional journey as a student at Mississippi State University, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in special education in 1975 and a master’s degree in special education with an emphasis in instruction for gifted, talented, and intellectually disabled children in 1978. In 1981, she was awarded her Doctor of Philosophy in psychology by the University of Southern Mississippi. She later completed a pre-professional internship in Devon, Pennsylvania. Dr. Hardy-Gibson started her career in Las Vegas, working as an office manager for two physical therapy offices before transitioning into area school districts. As a district employee, she primarily focused on conducting private testing, screenings, and assessments for students.
While in Las Vegas, Dr. Hardy-Gibson spent more than six years as a high school psychologist, where she offered intervention, educational and classroom support services to a diverse student population. She also spent several years based in New Orleans, where she served as a school psychologist for three years and a special education teacher for three and a half years. Before her retirement at age 51, Dr. Hardy-Gibson had spent 10 years as a school psychologist at the K-6 level at a school in Fairfax, Virginia. Her caseload consisted of more than 130 students with a broad scope of emotional and behavioral support needs, and she prides herself on the connections she was able to make with students and the changes that they affected in their lives.
Throughout her career, Dr. Hardy-Gibson made it a point to be available to her students at all times, including having lunch with groups of students during most school days. She considers the highlight of her career to have been watching her students grow personally and academically and having the ability to see them succeed in school and graduate. In addition to working directly with students, Dr. Hardy-Gibson communicated with parents in order to develop educational interventions and create unified support networks, and she found deep satisfaction in being able to help guardians better understand their children’s needs.
Outside her work at the K-12 level, Dr. Hardy-Gibson was an assistant professor at Louisiana State University and a sleep laboratory technician at Bowling Green State University and met privately with high-profile clients, including Tiger Woods and Steffi Graf. She has been published in Psychology Review and is the author of a chapter in a scholarly psychology book. Dr. Hardy-Gibson attributes her success to the support of her family and husband. She remembers her father purchasing a newspaper advertisement celebrating her completing a doctoral degree and her husband calling her weekly to count down to the end of her professional internship as highlights.
Dr. Hardy-Gibson is grateful for the opportunities for travel and relocation that her career has afforded her and considers travel to be a unique chance to learn. In the coming years, she hopes to continue to explore new locations and cheer on her favorite sports teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints.