Cream of the crop

Published 5:10 pm Saturday, March 26, 2016

Suffolk’s Teacher of the Year this year is actually a librarian, and the choice of her as the city public school system’s top educator was a brilliant one, both because of the recognition of her hard work and because of what it says about the importance of library and media professionals to the educational system.

Oakland Elementary School Library Media Specialist Michele Waggoner has spent time in the classroom before, having formerly served as a teacher in both the first and second grades. But her skills in the library were the reason officials announced this week that she is the Suffolk Public Schools 2016 City-Wide Teacher of the Year.

Waggoner uses the school’s library to help students develop hands-on projects and regularly uses drama, music and art in weekly resource lessons, according to a school press release.

Email newsletter signup

She also has been successful in securing grant funding to supplement the school’s library book collection and serves as coordinator of the school’s partners-in-education program, volunteer program, career days and book fairs.

Assuming they ever really existed (and we doubt they did) the days are gone when a school librarian’s job was simply to keep the bookshelves stocked, sign books in and out of the library and shush noisy kids bothering the studious ones who were actually trying to use the library to study.

Today’s school librarians take on the title of “media specialist,” which recognizes a vast new array of responsibilities, both inside and outside the traditional library setting.

Waggoner is an engaged and committed educator who seizes every opportunity she can find to help students at Oakland Elementary achieve to the best of their abilities. We congratulate her on her well-deserved honor.

We also congratulate Tracy Halvorson, a social studies teacher at John Yeates Middle School, named the division’s 2016 Middle School Teacher of the Year; Ariane Williams, an English teacher at Lakeland High School, High School Teacher of the Year; and Cierra French, a fourth-grade teacher at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, Rookie Teacher of the Year.

Suffolk is fortunate to have many fine educators working on behalf of its youngest generation. These are the cream of the crop.