Administrators at Clarksburg Elementary, Walter Johnson High Schools Win Media Awards
For the first time in its history, the Montgomery County Educational Media Specialists Association (MCEMSA) is honoring administrators at two schools with the Nancy C. Walker Award for Outstanding Support to a Library Media Program for the 2019-2020 school year.
Those being recognized are: Clarksburg Elementary School Principal Carl Bencal, and Walter Johnson High School Principal Jennifer Baker, and Walter Johnson Assistant Principals Regina Rodriguez and Jeff Leaman. The award is given annually by the MCEMSA to highlight the role of administrative leaders in supporting school library media centers.
Daria Taylor, the media specialist at Clarksburg Elementary School, nominated Bencal, who has consistently been supportive of the media schedule, which has allowed for open book exchange, literature appreciation lessons and collaborative research. Each year, Taylor has been told to “create a schedule that works best for you.” In addition, because he advocates for access to complex texts so students can engage in higher-level thinking, Bencal provided funds to purchase Capstone ebooks. When the school received a technology grant, Taylor was asked for her input and received every item requested. Bencal rarely asks to close the media center for special events, so that the media center can stay open for students.
At Walter Johnson, Baker, Rodriguez and Leaman have been real champions of the library media program. They have been supportive of changes, incentives and upgrades promoted by media specialist Naomi Gelfand, including obtaining additional funding to update the entire media collection, which increased circulation from 1,600 to 8,000 books a year; locating funds for resources and furniture; identifying staffing funds in order to keep the media center open for students as much as possible; and securing shelving for easier access and more security. “My administration team,” concludes Gelfand “makes me feel supported, valued, heard and respected.”