Wims Media Specialist Named Maryland School Librarian of the Year
Irene Allaire, media specialist at Wilson Wims Elementary School, has been named the 2018–2019 Maryland School Librarian of the Year. This award honors a school librarian for exemplary service and outstanding achievements in the field of school library media. She was given the award during a conference this month.
Allaire worked as a classroom teacher for 11 years, and has been a media specialist for seven years. She joined the staff at Wims when the school was opened for the 2014–2015 school year, and built the media program from the ground up.
In 2013, she was elected president of the Montgomery County Educational Media Specialists Association, and currently serves as membership chair, banquet committee co-chair and sunshine committee co-chair. Allaire participated in several work groups including a school library media programs work group with supervisors and coordinators in MCPS and a manga/anime workgroup with colleagues in elementary, middle and high school. She has held team leader positions and served on school leadership teams. She has presented at professional trainings and technology conferences, as well as co-taught credit courses to MCPS colleagues. She has also trained classroom teachers on implementing the new Next Generation Science Standards curriculum. Throughout her career, Allaire has advocated for the use of technology to enhance learning and teaching. She won MCPS’ Best of the Web Award and recently became a Seesaw and BookCreator Ambassador.
“In a field with so many talented professionals, what separates some from the rest lies in the intangibles,” reads an excerpt from her nomination packet. “Irene not only exceeds expectations; she redefines them: from engaging students in more traditional ways such as curating read alouds by staff members in video format during the Black-Eyed Susan [voting] process [to] leveraging screencasting as a means to personalizing note-taking instruction back in their classroom. This use of tech allows her to directly support and connect to the classroom where the collaboration between settings is both meaningful and authentic.
“Irene can help usher in a new belief in what our media specialists can add to the school experience. She can speak to what’s possible because she has made it so … and when there’s a belief that problems are merely challenges, what might have become a barrier evolves into a stepping stone towards a brighter path. And a path that Irene can lead us on together.”
Allaire graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. In 2006, she graduated from Walden University with a master’s degree in instructional technology. Three years later, she graduated from McDaniel University with a second master’s, this one in school library media sciences.