COVINGTON -- Veterans Memorial Middle School media specialist Leslie Coleman has been named South Metro District Library Media Specialist of the Year by the Georgia Library Media Association.
With this honor, she is now entered into the competition for the Georgia Library Media Specialist of the Year Award, which recognizes a K-12 library media specialist whose services have resulted in exemplary library media programs.
Coleman was selected by her peers to serve as Newton County School System's Media Specialist of the Year.
"I am very humbled and honored to be selected from and by such an amazing group of educators and to represent them at the district and state level," said Coleman, who is now in her seventh year as media specialist for Veterans Memorial. "It has been a pleasure working with the faculty, staff, students and other county media specialists over the past six years as we continue to develop a school-wide and county-wide media program that truly integrates literacy and technology. The media program is a vital part of our students' educational experience and helps to form the ever critical foundation for research and information access. Newton County is very fortunate to have building and county level administrators that have a clear vision on where we as a county need to be headed in order to offer our students the best we can in the form of a true 21st Century Education. I am pleased to be a part of such a movement."
Dr. Gary Shattuck, director of Technology and Media Services for NCSS, said that her guidance, vision and leadership provided all the media specialists in the county with invaluable support.
"Her efforts at Veterans Memorial are a prime example of our school system's motto, 'Spirit, Pride, and Excellence,'" he said.
Shattuck added Coleman's school initiatives made her a natural selection for school system and district winner.
"We have made it a priority to fully integrate technology into our media center," said Coleman. "In the past five years we have added multi-point stations, more desktop computers, laptops and an active board. This results in a full stocked lab/classroom for the media center."
Additionally, the school transformed a storage closet into a mini-lab that houses 17 desktop computers.
"Our latest initiative is to integrate 'Bring Your Own Device' as we purchase e-books for students to download onto their own electronic devices as well as onto our school-owned Kindles," she said.
Coleman also works with all grades to develop and teach research lessons throughout the year and even organizes the school's Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl competition to promote literacy.
"I truly view my job as being an advocate for both student and teacher," she said. "I never want to tell a teacher 'no' to a resource they need. We have a great collaborative group of media specialists -- we all borrow whatever our teachers need from each other."
The state Library Media Specialist of the Year will be announced at the Georgia Council of Media Organizations conference in Macon, on Oct. 4.