School Library Journal has announced the winners of this year’s School Librarian of the Year Award! The 5th annual award, sponsored by Scholastic, honors exceptional K–12 library professionals for outstanding achievement and innovative use of technology to engage students.
Over the past few years, we’ve had the pleasure of sharing the innovative works former School Librarian of the Year honorees, including Tamiko Brown from El Lago, TX, Todd Burleson from Winnetka, IL, Kristina Holzweiss from Bay Shore, NY, and Michelle Colte from Wahiawa, HI! We’re so excited to continue in the tradition of celebrating creative educators who are redefining what it means to be a school librarian today and are proving the powerful impact that librarians and libraries have on student success.
Learn more about this year’s impressive winners and see how they have transformed their library spaces using new programs and tools to collaborate with students, their peers, their communities, and beyond…
Ali Schilpp, Northern Middle School in Accident, MD
As the first and only Library Media Specialist to work at Northern Middle School, Ali Schilpp tapped into her 12+ years of library experience to create a unique, technology-driven space. Ali expanded learning beyond her rural community by developing a digital citizenship library program that fosters global connections with classrooms in other countries such as Australia and China, and she continuously seeks new opportunities to challenge her students—from writer’s workshops, and STEM challenges, to collaborations with notable authors including Chris Grabenstein. After securing numerous grants for her library, Ali installed a flexible seating makerspace that creates opportunities for interactive experiences with LEGO® robots, a green screen studio, a reading nook for therapy dogs, and more.
Michelle Carton, Tudor Elementary School in Anchorage, AK
As an elementary school librarian and founder of Global Education Alaska, the library program and organization, Michelle Carton empowers her students to become responsible, engaged citizens of the world through projects such as creating videos that encourage kindness and sustainable development. During Peace Week International, her students videoconferenced with schools around the world as a key initiative to engage in conversations beyond their community. Her innovative approach to learning has inspired other teachers, librarians, and administrators to implement their own global education initiatives, and Tudor Elementary students have incorporated these lessons outside the library to create change, collecting more than 2,000 books for students affected by wildfires in California.
Cassy Lee, Chinese American International School in San Francisco, CA
Cassy Lee, Learning Center Coordinator at the Chinese American International School (CAIS), gives youth participation the front seat. Students at CAIS can join the School Library Advisory Committee to help plan programming, or the News Crew to gain hands-on media literacy skills through the school’s video program highlighting campus life. Cassy also makes diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority by collaborating with colleagues to develop an identity-based unit plan and hosting PD sessions, in addition to challenging students to learn about different cultures by planning “The Human Library”—a half-day event featuring small group discussions with guest speakers sharing their stories and personal experiences with discrimination.
Grab your copy of the School Library Journal September issue to learn more about the School Librarian of the Year Award and these three outstanding educators. Congratulations Ali, Michelle, and Cassy!!