Beginning on March 4, 2019, each week we'll be adding a profile and photo of a Zone-level winner here!
Special thanks to our Media Specialist of the Year program sponsor, Credit Union of Georgia! #CCSDfam
Cherokee Innovation Zone
Our school media specialists are extraordinary, and we’re profiling our Innovation Zones’ Media Specialists of the Year to celebrate them. Please read all about the Cherokee Innovation Zone honoree, Anne Nechvatal of Cherokee High School!
Anne Nechvatal has made a lasting impact on the profession of media specialist, with countless colleagues throughout CCSD and statewide naming her as inspiration and mentor.
She’s thrice been named her Innovation Zone’s Media Specialist of the Year, and, in 2017, went on to earn the Cherokee County School District, Regional and State titles.
Ms. Nechvatal has plenty of experience and education (including master’s and specialist degrees focused in her field), but she also has something more important: boundless joy for her daily work and the students and teachers she serves.
“After a lifetime spent around educators, I have never seen the equal to Anne,” one colleague said, raving about the lessons Ms. Nechvatal creates for classes when they visit the media center, the way she has transformed it from a hushed library to a bustling center for all media, and her willingness to wear any hat needed from debate judge to “breakout” challenge leader. “I will never see the role of media specialist the same. Anne has redefined it for me, just as she changed the space for students at Cherokee High School.”
That “breakout” challenge is one of her most recent creative collaborations, for which she worked with Cherokee High’s Advanced Placement (AP) European History teacher. Using the class textbook, physical artifacts, and library books, they created “clues” for students to use to solve questions related to the lesson at hand in order to “unlock” a treasure box with a reward inside for the winning team. “The students loved this activity and asked for more lessons designed in this manner,” she said.
In her own words: “I feel like the students are my customers, and I want to offer the best customer service possible. I try not to ever let them go away empty handed.”
Creekview Innovation Zone
This Zone's winner was named the CCSD Media Specialist of the Year; please read about her on the main page.
Etowah Innovation Zone
Our school media specialists are extraordinary, and we’re profiling our Innovation Zones’ Media Specialists of the Year to celebrate them. Please read all about the 2019 Etowah Innovation Zone Media Specialist of the Year Pam Morris of Bascomb Elementary School!
No day is the same for media specialist Pam Morris, due to the many roles and responsibilities she has taken on at Bascomb Elementary School.
She hosts “Media Mornings” activities for students to participate in before-school STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) activities in the media center. She produces the student “WBOB” morning news show and takes its news crew on an annual field trip to CNN in Atlanta. She serves as chair of the Reading Bowl Club. She’s an active member of the school’s leadership team. She assists with schoolwide special performances and PTA events.
And all of this is in addition to her media specialist responsibilities ranging from helping students and teachers find and use resources, organizing book fairs twice a year, scheduling visits from guest authors and creating media center lessons and collaborative classroom lessons.
Principal Kathleen Chandler said not only does Ms. Morris, who has earned master’s and specialist’s degrees in the field, do this all exceptionally well, but she also focuses on the future value of her impact on students – one of the reasons she was selected as the Etowah Innovation Zone’s 2019 Media Specialist of the Year.
“Pam connects student learning to real-life examples by showing children how their knowledge applies in the real world,” Principal Chandler said of Ms. Morris, who began her career in 1991 and joined CCSD in 2007. “She does this through engaging books and lessons, as well as technology integration. Pam is a model media specialist, who has created a stellar media center for our students and teachers!”
In her own words: “My vision for the media center is for students to create meaning from information and apply it to their everyday world.”
River River Innovation Zone
Our school media specialists are extraordinary, and we’re profiling our Innovation Zones’ Media Specialists of the Year to celebrate them. Please read all about the River Ridge Innovation Zone 2019 Media Specialist of the Year: Jacqueline Zaski of Arnold Mill Elementary School!
Arnold Mill Elementary School Media Specialist Jacqueline Zaski sees her role as an educator who uses the media center as her classroom.
This viewpoint of herself as an educator first leads Ms. Zaski to collaborate closely with teachers throughout the school in developing the best lessons possible for all students. It’s one of the reasons she was named the River Ridge Innovation Zone’s Media Specialist of the Year.
“Jacquie has a vision for all students and will help them, not just with media center questions, but with anything she can do to support and encourage them to excel in school,” Principal Dan Fuller said. “She truly understands where elementary school students are in terms of their social, emotional and academic development… and she is seen as a leader and a resource to students, parents and teachers, not only in our media center, but throughout the entire campus.”
Ms. Zaski, who has earned master’s and specialist’s degrees, works with her fellow educators to use the latest in educational trends, like gamification and Minecraft. She develops Rigorous Curriculum Design units, and coordinates joint lessons with teachers on topics from research to reading skills to STEM activities. She attends teachers’ Professional Learning Communities meetings to show them not only new technology, tools and tips, but also that she is available and interested in collaborating with them.
The media center, under the leadership of Ms. Zaski, who also won her Zone’s Media Specialist of the Year title in 2013, has been transformed from a traditional library to a “Future Ready” classroom. There, students can check out resources, use technology, participate in lessons, chill with a book in the “reading cave”… and be themselves.
In her own words: “Building collaborative partnerships with teachers is key to an effective media program.”
Sequuoyah Innovation Zone
Our school media specialists are extraordinary, and we’re profiling our Innovation Zones’ Media Specialists of the Year to celebrate them. Please read all about the Sequoyah Innovation Zone 2019 Media Specialist of the Year Mia Temples of Hickory Flat Elementary School!
Hickory Flat Elementary School Media Specialist Mia Temples is in a league of her own, according to her Principal.
“She is a role model, a tech-savvy guru and a shining light,” Principal Whitney Nolan said. “Through her vision, she builds relationships and rapport with both students and staff members, while ensuring that materials, resources, and instructional strategies are relevant and provide appropriate rigor.”
Her experience, education (including master’s and specialist degrees), dedication in and out of the media center (instructional leadership team, Reading Bowl team co-chair, school news crew coordinator, spelling bee coordinator) and incredible care for her students and community led her colleagues to name her the Innovation Zone’s Media Specialist of the Year… for the second time.
Ms. Temples stays ahead of education trends through her devotion to personal professional development; just in the last three years alone, she’s earned Nearpod, Common Sense Educator, Microsoft Innovation Educator, Seesaw Ambassador and MindSet Certification. This school year, she earned a Constellation Energy grant that funded the creation of the media center’s first collection of children’s graphic novels.
She also serves as the Cherokee County School District’s elementary media specialist liaison to ensure the concerns and suggestions from her colleagues are heard at the District level.
In her own words: “Gone are the days of the librarian being solely a curator for books. Our teachers and students need more support than ever if we are going to successfully prepare both for 21st-century learning.”
Woodstock Innovation Zone
Our school media specialists are extraordinary, and we’re profiling our Innovation Zones’ Media Specialists of the Year to celebrate them. Please read all about the Woodstock Innovation Zone 2019 Media Specialist of the Year Amy VanFossen of Woodstock Elementary School!
Woodstock Elementary School media specialist Amy VanFossen is a “difference maker,” according to her Principal, and she earns the praise of colleagues, students and parents alike.
“What I found to be Amy’s best asset is her strong instructional background and passion for serving teachers and students,” Principal Matt Freedman said. “She has worked diligently to create an inviting space for students to grow and learn. Every lesson is engaging and uses technology to help students excel. Ms. Van Fossen has been an asset to Woodstock Elementary and continues to lead with a caring and passionate heart.”
Ms. VanFossen’s dedication has earned her the Woodstock Innovation Zone’s Media Specialist of the Year title, which follows accolades including being named her school’s 2016 Teacher of the Year. Her degrees include a bachelor’s in education from the University of Georgia, master’s in library and information science from Valdosta State University and specialist in instructional technology from University of West Georgia.
During her last five years as media specialist at the school, Ms. VanFossen has significantly expanded the use of instructional technology and, with a fellow educator, three years ago established a Technology Club and has earned the center Common Sense Digital Certification. While focused on using technology to its fullest, Ms. VanFossen doesn’t overlook the simpler joys of the library… like her end-of-the-year “Camp Out and Read” event, during which children can quietly enjoy turning the pages and reading the words of books under the glow of flashlights and fairy lights.
In her own words: “Upon entering the media center five years ago, I decided that my No. 1 objective was to provide our students a safe place to learn, read and grow their technology skills.”