Being selected by your peers for an award is a high honor, one that Breanna Lee recently received.
The media specialist at Adairsville Middle School was named Bartow County’s Media Specialist of the Year for the 2018-19 school year by her peers and was recognized by the Bartow County School Board at its March 18 meeting.
“I felt very honored to be selected as the Media Specialist of the Year among my peers,” Lee, 38, said. “By receiving this recognition, it also represents the commitment that Bartow County Schools place on literacy and media centers within our schools.”
Her principal, Tony Stanfill, said Lee is a “fantastic pick for Media Specialist of the Year.”
“She is an extremely hard worker who’s always willing to help students, teachers and administration any way she can,” he said. “I have never heard her tell anyone ‘No,’ and she is extremely helpful when it comes to assisting with our student laptops.”
Stanfill also said Lee is a member of the school improvement team and has “wonderful ideas for helping make AMS a better place.”
“We are all lucky to have her, and it’s obvious to all of us why she was chosen for this award,” he said.
Lee, who is in her seventh year at AMS, said the 19 school system media specialists select one media specialist to represent the school district each year.
At their January meeting, the media specialists anonymously submitted their votes to their coordinator, who “sent out an email to our media specialist group, notifying us with the result,” she said.
“Following that email, I quickly received congratulation emails from my fellow media specialists,” she said.
The honor has an added significance and meaning for Lee that other accolades might not have.
“The award is more special because my fellow media specialists nominated me among our dedicated group of professionals,” she said. “It is a great compliment coming from those who have the best understanding of the multiple roles a media specialist fulfills.”
At the top of that list of roles is providing a place that attracts students and makes them want to learn.
“My overarching responsibility is to ensure the students and staff at AMS know the media center is an inviting place to seek assistance,” she said. “I strive to have an engaging library collection that will have books that spark students’ interests. It is rewarding to ‘talk books’ with students and see them share their recommendations with others.”
Lee said she also works alongside the technology department to ensure the “operational aspects of our one-to-one laptop program and the digital classrooms run smoothly” inside their building, and “collaborating with educators at AMS to teach research and media literacy skills is one of my most enjoyed responsibilities.”
“My most important role in the lives of students at AMS is to provide guidance for them to discover, evaluate and produce valuable academic works,” she said.
If she could improve one aspect of her job, it would be making more money available to school media centers.
“As I’m sure all media specialists will agree, media centers could always benefit from more book funding,” she said.
An Ohio native who moved to Lindale as a child, Lee earned a Bachelor of Science in middle grades education from Kennesaw State University, a Master of Education in library media service from the University of West Georgia in Carrollton and an education specialist degree in curriculum and instructional management from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Lee, who lives in Cartersville with her husband, also an educator, and daughter, began her career at Cartersville Middle School, where she taught sixth-grade language arts for three years before moving to Camden County.
There, she taught eighth-grade language arts at St. Marys Middle School for one year then transferred to Camden County High School, where she spent four years as a media specialist.
“Like the majority of educators, we are always expanding our knowledge base through earning additional degrees, attending conferences, adding field certifications, etc.,” she said. “I decided to get a master’s degree in school library media because it combines a variety of educational aspects that I enjoy into one role. Being a media specialist provides me the opportunity to develop a media program which benefits the students and staff through books, technology and collaborative teaching. It is essential for media centers to evolve with changes in education.”
After having their daughter, Lee and her husband “decided to return to Bartow County to be closer to our extended family,” and she became the media specialist at AMS.