Catching Up With SLJ’s School Librarians of the Year and Honorees

Awards, keynotes, published books, and more. Six previous winners and honorees updated us on their activities.
What’s new with our current and past School Librarians of the Year, and honorees? We checked in to find out. In short: SLIME and more SLIME, a conference in United Arab Emirates, awards, keynotes, published books, and literacy initiatives. Check out the details from six inspiring school librarians below. Meanwhile, nominations are open for this year's winner and honorees. Could it be you?

Tamiko Brown, 2017 School Librarian of the Year

Ed White E-STEM Magnet School, El Lago, TX This has been a fast-paced year filled with excitement, innovation, and leadership opportunities. For the past four years, I have focused on creating a makerspace and setting up Genius Hour on my campus. While these continue to grow, this year I also focused on being a literacy leader. The school principal, literacy coach, and I are collaborating to find ways to cultivate literate lives on our campus. For the first time, we are allowing books to be checked out over the summer. We are also taking a school-wide field trip to the public library and offering a Caught Reading Program as well as online book clubs and lunch book clubs. We are putting books we have read on display, planning author visits, and more. Also, the VEX Robotics team I sponsor and coach won our State Championship. Being SLJ's School Librarian of the Year is a great opportunity to bring the world to your library and bring your library to the world.

Jan Wilson, 2017 Hero of Collaboration

Gwinnett County (GA) Public Schools

The Explore Book Mobile

I have been promoted to a new position: Instructional Coach! This is a county position that allows me to collaborate and work with all the media specialists in our county. We have added a second Book Mobile to our fleet and named it Explore. It has a completely different design and will be traveling in a different area of Gwinnett County, GA, this summer, so we will have two buses in action. Our Book Mobile serves a different purpose during the school year—schools can reserve the bus for a nominal fee. When the bus visits the school, students can select a book to keep. This school year, over 12,000 books have been given away to students in our county. Some schools use this as a reading incentive and others use it as an event to promote reading and encourage students to begin a personal library. I will be presenting at the Georgia Library Media Association's Summer Institute in June. My presentation is titled "From A to V: Advocacy and Visibility.”

Todd Burleson, 2016 School Librarian of the Year

Hubbard Woods School, Winnetka, IL In November, my book The Green Screen Makerspace Project Book (McGraw-Hill) was published. Also in November, I was invited to present at the Sharjah International Book Fair in Sharjah, UAE. The American Library Association was invited by the Sharjah government to be a part of the conference, and I was joined there by Wendy Garland, elementary school librarian at the Avery School in Dedham, MA. We presented to librarians in the region on project-based learning, fluency, and poetry. It was a phenomenal experience. We will return this November and are planning a daylong professional development session for regional librarians, including UAE librarians of the year. We will also be presenting at the Sharjah International Book Fair again on projects we’re working on with our students. I was invited to keynote the Nebraska State Library Association's annual conference in Kearny, NE, in November. This summer I will keynote and present at the Boulder (CO) Valley School District's annual conference Innovate@BVSD. On April 27, I will take part in a panel discussion at the Technology in Early Childhood Center (TEC) Center at the Erikson Institute symposium called "TECPlay: How Is Children’s Play Impacted By Technology?"

Anita Cellucci, 2016 Finalist

Westborough (MA) High School I was just awarded a grant through the Shine Initiative to create a Student Wellness Advisory Team (SWAT) that will bring more mental health programming to my school communit including yoga, bibiliotherapy, mindfulness, and educational programming. Grant planning begins this month, and it will be implemented next school year. I was an AASL Social Media Superstars finalist in the category of Social Justice Defender. I am also candidate in the 2018 AASL election for Region 1 Director. I started a Facebook page and a connected group called The Empathetic Librarian. The group is open to educators and librarians to share wisdom about Social Emotional Learning—lessons, moments, issues, etc. I am currently a teaching lecturer for an online graduate course, Advanced Children’s and Young Adult Literature, in the School Library Program at Plymouth State University, NH. I am also working with local organizations to acquire grants for programming related to drug-free schools and to offer self-care courses and programming to those recovering from addiction and their families. Along with a few other teachers at my school, I’m working with the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which is conducting research on empathy. Massachusetts teachers implement lessons at their schools and give feedback. I am in the Amplifier Educators cohort to discuss implementing social justice curriculum in schools. The cohort explored these ideas with discussion, art, and webinars.

Laura Gardner, 2016 Finalist

Dartmouth (MA) Middle School I received a Service Award from the Massachusetts State Library Association for demonstrating leadership of school librarians within the state or nationally. I have also been reading up a storm and reviewing all my reads on Instagram and Goodreads (@LibrarianMsG). I have been fortunate to review for Kid Lit Exchange and am on the leadership team, reaching out to publishers to get more ARCs for our group. I have been encouraging more teachers in my school to read and share their reading with students. There are signs outside classroom doors with their current and recent reads. I also started a monthly teacher book club with eight dedicated members, as well as a #30booksummer initiative to encourage club participants to each read 30 middle grade/YA books over the summer and share them on social media using our hashtag. We will also meet up in the summer to chat about our books and share a meal.

Kristina Holzweiss, 2015 School Librarian of the Year

Bay Shore (NY) Middle School  Since I was named the 2015 School Librarian of the Year, I have keynoted at several events, including the New York Library Association School Librarian Conference and the Texas Library Association Tech Camp. I have also authored and coauthored two series of makerspace books for Scholastic. I was named one of the National School Board Association's "20 to Watch" in 2017 and a 2018 Library Journal Mover & Shaker. In 2016, I attended the National Week of Making kickoff celebration at the White House and established a nonprofit organization, Long Island LEADS, with my husband, Michael, to promote STEAM education and the Maker Movement on Long Island, NY. Last spring, our nonprofit presented the third annual SLIME: Students of Long Island Maker Expo, with 800 attendees from schools, libraries, museums, nonprofit organizations, civic associations, and companies. I also presented about "Making a Difference" with makerspaces at the World Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, NY. This spring, my book Hacking Your School Libraries, coauthored with Stony Evans, will be published by Times 10 Publications. We host our fourth annual SLIME at SUNY Stony Brook on June 16.
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Sandy Bucher

I have the honor of knowing Kristina and she is everything this article says and more. What I admire most about her, incredibly busy lady that she is, is that Kristina is always very interested in what others are doing and saying. When chatting at some of our meetings in the past, she always asked what I was up to in my Library and I always loved her enthusiasm and pride in our profession.

Posted : Apr 20, 2018 05:31


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