Tina from Fort Myers, Florida

1. How long have you known the nominee and how did you come to know him or her?
Dana is the media specialist in the school where I teach.  I have worked here eight years; she was here before I was.

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?
   Dana has helped me (and our school) in countless ways. 

1. She provided a PowerPoint and presentation on CLERK, which is our school site for research papers. She presented it to each language arts class and helped the students learn sites for research and how to use MLA.
2. During last year's presidential election, Dana set up a mock election for students to vote.  She brought in actual poll workers and voting booths from our county.  Prior to that, the students campaigned for and voted on favorite authors.  All the time, the democratic process was studied and followed.
3. She has led National Junior Honor Society for several years.  The developed a huge and on-going recycling project here at CLMS.  She is quite the environmentalist.  She runs a contest for student to choose each month the teacher whose classrooms is the most earth-friendly through recycling, using less paper, etc.  They are involved in countless other projects.  Currently the project is Pennies for Peace to raise money to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan after reading the Greg Mortnesen Three Cups of Tea book.
3. Dana created the "Lunch Bunch," groups of students who read and recommend books to their peers here at school through our newscasts, posters, and classroom speeches.
4. Dana is the driving force behind our big school-wide intiaitive "One Book One School," in which all students in all grades read the same book at the same time.  She creates lesson plans, decorates extravagantly, brings in speakers, and even authors of the books we read.  During a study of a Shakespeare related book, she brought in a group of people who travel in character of medeval times.  Hence, "Queen Elizabeth" and her entourage came to school and spoke to the students.  Another One Book One School pick was Thunder Cave by Roalnd Snith. Dana arranged for him to visit and provide a very inspirational speech about becoming a writer.  The book takes place in Africa, so Dana found authentic African garb for the teacher to Wer during the week.  As we studied Africa, we raised money for an orphanage in Kenya.  Dana brought in a real boxcar during our Holocaust study.  She brought in survivors of the Holocaust.  During a study of Afghanistan, ladies came to present the plight of that country and allowed the children to sample food from therre.  Oh, and, of course, she is wonderful with the children.  For a struggling reader, she reads the same library book so she can help him/her understand.  If we don't have a book at our school library, she will go to the public library for the child (practically every day after school).  This is only the tip of the iceberg.  She motivates, teaches, encourages, raises money; there is nothing she won't do for our school to promote reading and understanding.

3. How has the library, and the nominee in particular, had an impact on students and the learning process?
As I stated above, she turns every book into a rich experience for our students.  She lets them "live" the book.  Her projects touch every student at the school, yet she is able to spend  individual time with student to help them find a genre or author that will interest them.  Every child at this school knows and loves Mrs. Thomas.  So do the teachers!

4. How does the nominee make the school a better place? Please be specific.
Dana turns every book into an experience.    She brought in a boxcar and Holocaust survivors as the whole school studied the Holocust.  She orchestrated our participation in a project to create a paper butterfly to memoralize each child that died in the Holocaust.  Ours were sent to a museum in Houston which will display all the butterflies from all schools in 2010. 
   Dana started and maintains our recycling program here at school. 
She brought in the author of Thunder Cave as the culmination of our whole school reading his book Elephant Run.  Along with that, she set up a fair with different booths representing different aspects of African culture.  Our school was divided into African tribes, competing to raise money for African children.
Dana created Shakespearian lesson plans and brought in actors.  During elections, the student got to vote using actual polling booths/machines brought in by the county workers. 
She is now working on Pennies for Peace with the Honor Society.  Inspired by the book three Cups of Tea, they are raising money for schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The students grow so much with the community service projects that she heads.

5. How has the individual demonstrated leadership in the school community or the profession?
National Junior Honor Society sponsor, Librarian of the Year this year in Lee County, Student Council sponsor, Lunch Bunch coordinator, One Book One School council.  It is endless.