Librarian. Teacher. Tech-Nerd. Life-Long Learner.
My teaching story began when I was in high school. I was an awkward teenager from a broken and mostly chaotic home looking for a teacher that would get me…that would see me. Everywhere I turned no one representing me, and I was dismissed and brushed aside even by the most loving teachers. And that is when I knew I needed to be a champion for the kids out there like me. The kids that no one gets.
During the first five years of teaching, I was blessed to work with a diverse range of students. In my first year of teaching, I worked mostly with Homebound students who had a range of medical and life challenges. It was an amazing and humbling experience to be exposed to all four grade levels of ELA, and get to work with kids who needed the most help. After a couple of sabbatical positions, I landed at Hammond High Magnet and became a part of a dynamic team of educators who were tasked with implementing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. I worked tirelessly to develop the curriculum for the Diploma Programme Literature HL course and the pre-diploma program to prepare students, and once we were authorized the fun began! Teaching IB was a dream, and I found that if you have high expectations students will soar! After three years of seeing my students thrive in the programme and post-secondary life, I began to dream of how I could do more. How could I help more students? And that is when I determined to become a school librarian.
Even though I was sad to leave the classroom, I was finally able to convince the right person to give me a shot to be the Hammond High Magnet IB Librarian. Thankfully, my MLIS program at LSU prepared me to grasp that we are at a point in time when the world is changing, and if the library is to stay relevant, then it had to change too. I encountered many challenges in the five years as the IB Librarian; however, I was able to gain invaluable experiences. In the first year, I transformed my library from a quiet, outdated academic library into a bustling hub. Students loved having a safe space to hang out in the morning, during lunch, and in the afternoon. The cliche saying, “if you build it they will come” became my mantra. I offered library programs like book talks, poetry slams, coding, gaming, college application night, video conferencing, breakout box games, and more. Furthermore, I built up the outdated collection with students requested books and resources like manga, graphic novels, YA literature, and audiobooks. At the same time, I expanded the resources to meet the teacher’s classroom needs and collaborated with them to ensure the resources got in their hands. I welcomed students to be themselves, and I offered to co-teach with teachers. We worked together as a team to transform the library into the heart of the school.
To me, a school librarian is an unrecognized transformational leader in any school and the library should be the center of learning. I am passionate about literacy, technology, makerspaces, and transforming libraries to bolster student success in school and life.