"The most valuable resource all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration, our growth is limited to our own perspectives." -Robert John Meehan
Over the last 10 years, I have worked countless hours in mentoring and coaching other educators in the implementation of digital tools into their classrooms. I lead PLC sessions, present at local RESAs, speak at state and national conferences, and collaborate in online Skype and Google sessions. Collaborating with educators is very powerful and I consider myself a lead-learner in any session I teach.
Mentoring Northwest GA Librarians
When I first became a school librarian, I had difficulty locating professional development options in my area. With the urging and support of a colleague, I co-founded the Northwest Georgia Media Specialists Consortium. Our first meeting had just 6 attendees, but our most recent meetings have had up to 60. Mentoring, leading, and organizing professional development sessions for the librarians in my area has been some of the most rewarding work of my 20 year career.
Expanding the library curriculum to include STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics) and project-based learning has been of great importance to me over the last several years. I have collaborated with teachers on projects for students that have involved green-screen, hydroponics, coding, and advanced mathematics. In a Title I elementary school, I helped co-found the school's first STEM club where we exposed students to coding, robotics, and engineering challenges over a 16-week period. Literacy is important across all content areas, so integrating STEM into the school library boosted the collaboration between librarian and teachers from all concentrations.
GLMA Region 1 Co-Chair
For six years I served as the Region 1 (Northwest Georgia) Co-chairperson for the Georgia Library Media Association. This position has helped me to build an incredible network of colleagues from around our state and beyond. It has also opened the door to other opportunities to lead within the educational community. One honor is serving as the author to a position statement on labeling/leveling with school libraries on behalf of the GLMA.
I started my career as an English teacher and moved into the library a decade later. Even with all of the technology initiatives, I believe that literacy is as the core of success for students. Throughout the years, I have supported literacy through teaching a variety of texts and genres, I have built two library collections that were of high interest to students in grades Kindergarten through Twelve. I have sponsored book clubs, created reading contests, and administrated reading incentive programs in a variety of forms. I believe in creating warm and inviting spaces within school classrooms and libraries that supports flexible seating and soft spaces to read.
Our lives are enriched with technologies and our students are digital natives. As educators, we must meet them where they are but also challenge them to harness the power of technology to support their learning. My first role with technology in the library media center was simply to catalog, house, and circulate it. In recent years, I have become an instructional technology expert, leading several school staffs in the use and implementation of various technologies to support the curriculum and their efforts in the classroom. I have led countless hours of training for both students and teachers. I have presented tools like Flipgrid, Buncee, O365, and Google Classroom at PLCs, conferences, and EdCamps around my district.
Empowering Student Voice
Students need to feel that they can take ownership of their own learning. In the school library, it has been my sincerest passion to give students the opportunity to make choices and to feel that their thoughts and ideas are valued. Through writing, art, technology, and makerspaces, I have given students a place where it is safe to share their voices.
Award-winning Teacher & Librarian
I have been fortunate to have my efforts rewarded in many ways throughout my career. I am a two-time school level Teacher of the Year, a three-time S.T.A.R. Teacher, and have received those titles at the district level in 2007. I have also written and earned several grants including the prestigious OMNOVA Grant. Throughout my graduate studies, I was named a P.A.G.E. Foundation Scholarship recipient and a Buncee Ambassador. Most recently, I was selected as the recipient of the GLMA's Intellectual Freedom Award for my efforts in advocating for a level-free library.