Gail from Fort Myers, Florida

1. How long have you known the nominee and how did you come to know him or her?
   I have been a co-worker for the past ten years.

2. How has the nominee helped you and/or students at school?  For example, did
the nominee helped you with a project, recommend resources or collaborate with you to enhance student learning?
Mrs. Thomas has the highest book circulation of any librarian in our county.  Last fall during the election, she ran an "Elect Your Favorite Author" campaign that enticed our middle schoolers to read 4 current authors; there were campaign speeches and posters all over campus.  Then she managed to be the only school in Lee County to get voting booths in here so the students could vote for the President and their favorite author. Also last year she arranged with the Holocaust Museum of Naples to bring an authentic boxcar to our campus.  All grade levels researched the Holocaust, her National Junior Honor Society members built a butterfly garden on campus, all students made butterflies that she shipped to a museum in Texas that was collecting them for their Holocaust Museum, and lastly arranged an Open House for parents and students featuring. A descendant of the Bilski family (from the movie Defiance) who spoke on her father's actions in saving Jews during WWII.  She also is coordinator for our One Book, One School.  Two years ago we vicariously went to Kenya with Roland. Smith's book Thunder Cave; we were divided into tribes and as a culminating activity raised money for an Elephant Orphanage and a local boy's orphanage in
Africa (John Halgrim Orphanage).  The best part, however, was listening to  Roland Smith who gave a keynote speech to all of our students.  Last year our
   One Book, One School offering was Shakespeare's Secret.  Our dram department
presented Much Ado about Nothing and students learned Shakespeare's sonnets, delved into the lives of Henry VIII and researched conspiracy theories about Shakespeare's play.

3. How has the library, and the nominee in particular, had an impact on students and the learning process?
Students in our school love to read; what better recommendation could you have?

Mrs. Thomas always takes time with individual students to find the right fit with a  book.  She is running a campaign this week to get students public library cards and even checks out books for students under her name when they are researching for projects like our Social Studies Fair. She has also taught lessons on recycling to sixth graders and was responsible for the school's recycling projects last year.

4. How does the nominee make the school a better place? Please be specific.
We can always count on Mrs. Thomas to have the appropriate books for our projects, to lead us to innovative teaching ideas, and to bring students together with books they will enjoy reading.

5. How has the individual demonstrated leadership in the school community or the profession?
Among her "extra" duties she has been the National Junior Honor Society sponsor, recycling efforts, was School Librarian of the Year for our district last year, has led our One Book, One School efforts for the past 3 years, sponsors dances and creative fundraisers to acquire books for our library (her budget is 0 this year).  There's just not enough room to show how she goes above and beyond!