(L-R): Mr. Benjamin Roundtree, NCSS Director of Elementary Schools; Dr. Yoli Curry, Fairview Elementary Assistant Principal; Ms. Jennifer Cole; Dr. LaMoyne Brunson, Fairview Elementary School Principal; Dr. Craig Lockhart, NCSS Deputy Superintendent; and Mr. Adam Phyall, NCSS Director of Technology & Media Services.
April 6, 2018-Fairview Elementary School media specialist Jennifer Cole is Newton County School System’s (NCSS) 2018 Media Specialist of the Year. The Library Media Specialist of the Year Award recognizes individual excellence in the library media field through service to students, teachers, and the community at the K-12 levels. Cole will now represent Newton County Schools in the South Metro District Library Media Specialist of the Year competition, part of the Georgia Library Media Specialist of the Year program.
Cole, Datha Curtis, media specialist at Newton College and Career Academy; and Beth Bryan, media specialist for Eastside High School, were this year’s finalists for the district award.
“I could not be more excited to represent Newton County and our wonderful community,” said Cole. “I am fortunate to have a large support group with the other media specialists, who I adore. I am also even more fortunate to have a huge support system with my current administration and faculty of Fairview.”
She added, “Fairview has allowed me to grow the media program and to grow personally. In the two short years I have been at Fairview, I have been able to expand the media center into a learning commons including a Maker Space. I have also been encouraged to present at five educational conferences allowing other counties to see the incredible activities we are working on in Newton County. I am on cloud nine that I was chosen to represent Newton County, and I look forward to working my hardest to make the county proud.”
Cole’s essay and application packet will now be reviewed by the GLMA South Metro District selection committee, who will select a winner based on the following criteria:
- Instructional Partnership;
- Role of Reading;
- Information and Technology Literacy;
- Instructional Leadership;
- Effective Practices for Research;
- Positive Learning Environment; and
Ms. Cole holds a master of science degree from Troy State University, a bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Illinois University, and an associate degree from Danville Area Community College. She earned both her specialist in education and Library/Media add-on from Georgia College and State University.
She began her career in education as a pre-kindergarten teacher in Illinois before moving to Georgia. She has served as a pre-kindergarten teacher in Cherokee and later a fourth-grade teacher for both Clayton County and Rockdale County school systems. She joined the Newton County School System team when Veterans Memorial Middle opened in 2001 and taught there for twelve years, teaching reading, English language arts, math, and social studies.
It was during this time she began contemplating a change in her education career.
“I wanted to become a media specialist because for many years growing up I did not like reading, and I did not read well,” Cole explained. “I once found a series of books that I loved and that changed my world. I believe a single book can change the life of a child and I try every day to find that special book for every child. I work to make sure every child is a reader because they have a love of reading.”
Cole transition into the media center at Live Oak Elementary School, where she worked for three years before transferring to what she describes as her “forever home,” Fairview Elementary School. In her position as school media specialist, Cole believes she can make a significant impact on student achievement.
“I believe the school media specialist impacts students in a variety of ways,” she said. “We talk and work with the students to hear what they want to learn about their reading choices. I have the ability to work with the teachers to expand the classroom lessons and take each lesson up another level to ensure a deeper level of learning. I cannot only encourage the students to learn but also find a fun and exciting way to explore and try new and different ways to explore a topic. Being a media specialist allows me to reach every student in the school and that is the best part—every student is my kid.”
“The Fairview family is so proud to celebrate this recognition with Ms. Cole,” said Dr. LaMoyne Brunson, principal of Fairview Elementary School. “She contributes greatly to the positive school climate here, both through her teaching in the media center and through her enthusiasm during schoolwide events. I especially appreciate all her work in establishing Fairview’s first Maker Space last year; the children love it! She is truly an encourager who knows how to motivate students. I am very thankful for all she has done to bring our media program to life during these two years.”
“Congratulations to Ms. Cole on this very deserving recognition,” added Samantha Fuhrey, superintendent of Newton County School System. “Ms. Cole is an outstanding media specialist and strong proponent of reading. I know she will represent her school and our district well at the regional competition.”