Dr. J. Scott Smith, Superintendent of Schools, 301-475-5511, ext. 32178
Dr. Maureen Montgomery, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, 301-475-5511, ext. 32178

LEONARDTOWN, MD – Maryland Association of School Librarians (MASL) is pleased to announce the recipients for the 2019-2020 Maryland School Librarian of the Year award which honors a school librarian for exemplary service and outstanding achievements in the field of school library media. With the pandemic taking place, the award was announced via social media with plans to celebrate in person in the fall being made.

The ten finalists were evaluated by a selection committee comprised of representatives from The Lilead Project, school librarians and library supervisors across the United States, The University of Maryland College Park and McDaniel College based on the extent to which they exemplify the five roles (administrator, leader, information specialist, teacher, and instructional partner) of a school librarian and embody the American Association of School Librarians Six Shared Foundations: Inquire, Include, Collaborate, Curate, Explore, and Engage. The finalists for Maryland School Librarian of the Year are:

April Wathen, St. Mary's County Public Schools
Carol Thornton, Anne Arundel County Public Schools
Danielle DuPuis, Howard County Public Schools
Donna Mignardi, Calvert County Public Schools
Jennifer Beach, Worcester County Public Schools
Jennifer Berg Gaither, Baltimore City College
Linda DiCola, St. Mary's County Public Schools
Marcia Buckley, Harford County Public Schools
Marcus Zumwalt, Anne Arundel County Public Schools
Marianne Fitzgerald, Anne Arundel County Public Schools

The finalists submitted a 3-minute video detailing their work as a school librarian, 5 artifacts that represented their work, and a current curriculum vitae outlining their achievements. You are invited to read more about the finalists by visiting the Maryland Association of School Librarian webpage.

The judges from around the United States stated that the selection process for the 2020 Maryland School Librarian of the Year was incredibly challenging as each nominee exemplified the traits of an outstanding school librarian. In fact, the judges ended the judging with a tie.

This year, for the first time, MASL has co-winners for the Maryland School Librarian of the Year. It is with great pleasure that MASL announces the winners of this year's award are:

Ms. Donna Mignardi, Calvert County Public Schools
Ms. April Wathen, St. Mary's County Public Schools

April Wathen is the School Librarian at Lettie Marshall Dent Elementary School where she is Teacher of the Year (TOY) for 2019-2020. She holds certification and is National Board Certified in Library Media. April is the President of Maryland Association of School Librarians having served for 5 years on the Executive Board in various capacities. April possesses certifications in elementary and special education, a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, Administration and Supervision credentials and participated in Maryland Library Leadership Institute. She is the 2017 School Library Journal's Hero of Equitable Access and was SMCPS TOY, Washington Post Finalist in 2016-2017. April facilitates online classes for SMCPS, MSDE and McDaniel College to encourage others in Library Media and grow herself. April is published and enjoys presenting in her school, county and at state conferences like Common Ground and National conferences like AASL. April believes in promoting student voice, collaboration and access to all.

Ms. Theresa Buckler, Principal of Lettie Marshall Dent Elementary School where Ms. April Wathen is the school librarian had this to say: "April is a dynamic teacher-librarian who always goes above and beyond to support our school in every way. She is valued and respected by the Lettie Marshall Dent School community."

Our sincerest congratulations goes out to these two worthy recipients of The Maryland Association of School Librarians School Librarian of the Year Award. We plan to celebrate them in person when it is safe to do so, and we thank our amazing sponsors of the award: Capstone, Follett, Mackin, Taylor Book Group and Tech4Learning.

The general purpose of MASL is the improvement of teaching and learning in Maryland by bringing together individuals who are engaged in the field of school library media and information studies. MASL achieves the general purpose by working toward developing a lifelong love of reading among students in Maryland, developing skills and promoting excellence in print and nonprint media production among students in Maryland, promoting and providing for the professional development of its members. In addition, MASL encourages the dissemination and sharing of ideas, programs and materials among members through conferences, publications, and other media, and encourages the implementation of state and national standards and guidelines for school library media programs.