NASW Pioneers Biography Index

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation is pleased to present the NASW Social Work Pioneers®. NASW Pioneers are social workers who have explored new territories and built outposts for human services on many frontiers. Some are well known, while others are less famous outside their immediate colleagues, and the region where they live and work. But each one has made an important contribution to the social work profession, and to social policies through service, teaching, writing, research, program development, administration, or legislation.

The NASW Pioneers have paved the way for thousands of other social workers to contribute to the betterment of the human condition; and they are are role models for future generations of social workers. The NASW Foundation has made every effort to provide accurate Pioneer biographies.  Please contact us at to provide missing information, or to correct inaccurate information. It is very important to us to correctly tell these important stories and preserve our history.  

Please note, an asterisk attached to a name reflects Pioneers who have passed away. All NASW Social Work Pioneers® Bios are Copyright © 2021 National Association of Social Workers Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

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Sandra McCormick Photo
Sandra J. McCormick

Sandra J. McCormick, MSSW, MHA, FACHE, has been an outstanding social worker through a long career of more than 30 years. Her service has included the Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, and Health Care fields of practice. Early in her career, she was challenged to become a manager. Wisely, she sought added specialized education, earning a second professional degree in Health Care Administration. Since completing that training, she has become a model of the balanced social work manager focused on both the productivity of her institution and the nurturing and development of her community. Thus, her clients/customers and her profession have benefited.

Ms. McCormick, through most of her career, worked to position social work services as being essential to all people who needed help with psychosocial problem-solving. She succeeded in doing this in Wisconsin and internationally through building partnerships and helping to make them work on behalf of people in need. Two examples in this area are: I) Building and managing the LaCrosse International Health Partnership which brought together volunteer health professionals from the United States with colleagues in three cities in Russia, one city in the Ukraine and one city in China to develop and provide facilities and services to people in need; and, 2) Providing leadership in developing regional community service programs that made allies of the public sector, the professional social work community, and the private business community, in the interest of larger community development goals. In addition to these major groundbreaking activities, she made it a matter of professional duty to build ongoing communication channels with the business community by serving as a leading official in three private companies and by maintaining membership in the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary International, as well as the Rotary Club of LaCrosse.

The awards that she has received, the list of current Boards and Committees on which she serves and the list of professional affiliations present a picture of the depth of her commitment to the profession's place in the larger community and the acceptance of the embodiment of the profession that she has represented. That demonstration is an important contribution to understanding the esteem/self-esteem equation that is at the root of the image question that has and continues to concern the profession. She has pointed a way through her career.

Newly Inducted NASW Social Work Pioneer Hortense McClinton 2015

Nominate A New NASW Pioneer

Please note, Pioneer nominations made between today’s date through March 31, 2023, will not be reviewed until spring 2023.

Completed NASW Pioneer nominations can be submitted throughout the year and are reviewed at the June Pioneer Steering Committee Meeting. To be considered at the June meeting, submit your nomination package by March 31. To learn more, visit our Pioneer nomination guidelines.

New Pioneers 

Congratulations newly elected Pioneers!  Pioneers will be inducted at the 2023  Annual Program and Luncheon. Full biographies and event details coming soon.