Joan Wood, a library media specialist at Lebanon Elementary School (Marion County) for the past eight years, has a library with a brand emphasizing that readers are leaders.
“So leadership is something that is inherent in our school and library culture,” Wood said. “I ask for students to step up and be responsible for how our library looks and operates. They don’t disappoint me.”
Wood recently went through an experience that reaffirmed her stance on the importance of leadership, she said.
Ben Revere, a former student, Mr. Kentucky Baseball and current National League outfielder with the Philadelphia Phillies, selected her and retired teacher Sharon Calhoun as his most memorable teachers. Both teachers were honored at a recent Phillies home baseball game.
“It is truly awe-inspiring to know that Ben feels that I influenced him,” Wood said. “I have other former students who are doctors, dentists, attorneys, parents, teachers, ministers, etc. To know what they have accomplished is such an honor.”
Wood isn’t alone as a Kentucky school library media specialist who is being noticed for leadership and hard work.
Other library media specialists have been honored recently with top honors.
- Melanie Bishop, Lemons Mill Elementary (Scott County) was named her school’s 2014 teacher of the year
- Amy Buss, Warren County school district Golden Apple Award Winner for exemplary service
- Karen Falkenstine, Simpsonville Elementary (Shelby County) was named her school’s 2014 teacher of the year
- Stacie Kegley, Kentucky PTA Outstanding Educator and Boone County PTA Outstanding Educator
- Jessica Pass, Kentucky Council for Teachers of English 2013 Teacher of the Year
- Julie Webb, Shelby County High School, was named her school’s 2014 teacher of the year
Kathy Mansfield, library media/textbooks consultant for the Kentucky Department of Education, said that library media specialists in Kentucky are certified teachers who have master’s degrees in library/information science.
According to Mansfield, that specialty degree provides them with the background necessary to collaborate with all content classroom teachers to provide support and training for school and district curricula implementation.
“When Kentucky librarians are recognized for effective teaching, it emphasizes the importance of their role in providing high quality instruction to students and high quality support to other teachers in the school.”
Wood, who has been an educator for more than 34 years, is excited and curious to see how recent education initiatives like Other Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (OPGES) will impact her work.
“I think that it sets high standards for us, but that it also gives us opportunities to attain our goals,” Wood said of OPGES. “My main concern is to provide the best possible services to my teachers and students. If OPGES supports me in doing so, then I’m all for it.”
Mansfield said that as Kentucky school librarians participate in the OPGES pilot in 2014-15, their impact on student achievement should become much more evident.
“Although more than 22 national studies, including some in Kentucky, have shown that full-time, certified librarians utilizing flexible schedules that allow for teacher and librarian collaboration have a positive impact on student achievement, showing that impact within each school has not always been quantifiable,” Mansfield said.
“Anecdotal evidence is widely available through students recognizing their librarian as having an impact on their learning and through classroom teachers, school administrators and parents touting the value of the librarian’s expertise,” Mansfield added. “OPGES, through student growth goal setting and professional growth goal setting, can help provide the type of measurable data that shows that positive impact on student learning.”