NASW Foundation Homepage
NASW Foundation Board Members
NASW Foundation Programs
NASW Foundation Partners and Donors
NASW Foundation Contact
Make a Donation
NASW Foundation Events
NASW Foundation Fellowship, Scholarship and Research Awards
NASW Social Work Pioneers
NASW Foundation Sitemap

NASW Foundation National Programs

NASW Social Work Pioneers®


Pioneers Main Page
Search the Pioneers


Isadora Hare



Isadora Hare has had a social work career that spans more than 40 years and two continents. After a successful social work career in South Africa, first as a clinical social worker and then as an assistant professor of social work and director of field instruction at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, Isadora came to the United States with her family. In the Washington area she immediately made contacts with the local schools of social work and provider organizations, working as a school social worker in Fairfax County, VA and launching her national and international contributions to the areas of field instruction, school social work and services for vulnerable children.

For almost two decades (1979-1997) Isadora worked at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) national office and for much of that time she led the school social work program there. She
developed and implemented an exemplar approach to representing and advancing the needs of an NASW field of practice constituent group and its clients. Her single handed (as the sole dedicated staff member) success was responsible for, among so many other accomplishments, the sizeable, active, and loyal participation in NASW of a large proportion of professional school social workers. Isadora conceptualized NASW's "practice advancement" as a combination of networking within and outside of the profession, developing key resource materials and positions that clearly laid out and demonstrated the social work value added in the school setting, and representing the profession in settings (government, NGO, private) with articulate and realistic recommendations that were both visionary and doable at the time.

While at NASW she provided national and international leadership on the development and implementation of standards for school social work practice, organized stellar school social work conferences, and facilitated interprofessional collaborations among the many pupil services professional organizations in Washington, DC (e.g., school counselors, school psychologists, speech therapists). One outstanding product of her consummate collaborative skills, knowledge of the field, and superb writing, was a seminal policy document opposing corporal punishment and discipline in the school setting. She was a sought after speaker and consultant, including working with the Department of Defense (DoD) during the first Gulf War to examine support services that should be available at the DoD dependent schools in Wiesbaden, Germany.

At a time when others might think about retiring, Isadora took her social work perspective to new settings and new fields of practice. She currently serves as a Perinatal Health Specialist at the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). After leaving NASW she built on her experiences and expertise, working on adolescent health programs at both the American Psychological Association and MCH before moving into the growing field of perinatal service delivery. Throughout her career she has recognized the need for collaboration and cooperation among multiple systems and professions to best meet client needs and she is currently involved with programs that address maternal and infant mental health.

Her work on adolescent services including promoting of school health and mental health services looks beyond traditional roles and expectations for school social workers. It furthers an understanding of the many roles and settings in which social workers practice and the need to link them together. In recognition of this understanding and advocacy, Isadora authored the entry on "School-Linked Services' in the 19th edition of the Encyclopedia of Social Work.

No matter if in a social work specific position or not, working in public health settings, Isadora's commitments to the profession and ability to highlight how social work can and does contribute pervades her work. Her on-going role as a field instructor at MCH (something that is often no easy task in a bureaucratic setting) is another testament to her leadership and mentorship roles.

Isadora's numerous publications (over 35) create context for both the history and practice of school social work and are found in both national and trans-national publications. Although she did not
specifically move into an academic setting upon coming to the United States, she has pursued scholarship and study, even though it often has little pay-off in non-academic settings. The importance of adding to the knowledge base transcends her commitment to the profession, dedicating much free time to continued scholarship and volunteer efforts as a social work leader. Her publications cover education, international social welfare, politics and social work, school social work practice, education policy, children's issues and social issues.

Beyond her focus on the health and well-being of children and children and family services is Isadora's on-going involvement with the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), looking at the global roles of social work and the commonalities that exist across borders. She co-chaired the IFSW committee to develop an international definition of social work and then has worked to disseminate that definition through numerous publications and presentations, both in the United States and in international venues.

Isadora has been honored in numerous ways by colleagues in many settings. She was recognized as a "Leader in School Social Work" by the Editorial Board of Social Work in Education, and honored with a professional recognition award by the National Coalition for School Social Work. She received professional excellence awards from both Baltimore City Public Schools and the California Association of School Social Workers. The Midwest School Social Work Council provided Isadora with its "Advocacy and Support of the Profession for School Social Work. In addition she received a certificate award for "Social Worker of the Highest Category" from the Association of Social Pedagogues and Social Workers of the Russian Federation.

Across numerous auspices, work settings, fields of practice and scopes of practice, Isadora Hare has been steadfast in her commitment to the social work profession, her leadership to promote better understanding of what social workers do and why, and perhaps most importantly to improve the human condition.

Social Work Pioneer® - 2008