CHICAGO – Warren Drake, superintendent of schools for the East Baton Rouge Parish (La.) School System, is the recipient of the 2017 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Distinguished School Administrator Award. Sponsored by ProQuest, the $2,000 award recognizes and honors a school administrator who has made worthy contributions to the operations of an exemplary school library and to advancing the role of the school library in the educational program.
“Recognizing the important part libraries play in information literacy and technological skills, Superintendent Drake immediately restored the position of certified school librarian in all of the district’s schools upon taking over leadership," wrote School Board President Evelyn Ware-Jackson in her letter of support, "This impacted the quality of library services in more than 70 schools, touching the lives of over 41,000 students.”
Drake restored school library programs in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System as he sees school libraries as the essential piece in the future of education. He believes education is evolving into a system that allows students to construct their own learning and centers around problem solving based on real-world conditions. Drake also believes that leadership is critical in the development of an effective school library program to provide students an opportunity to improve digital literacy skills and academic achievement.
“Mr. Drake is always supportive, caring and willing to listen, and the librarians feel they have a friendly, open and sharing climate at their schools,” wrote Susan Gauthier, library services director, in her nomination letter. “Moreover, he exhibits concern and interests in suggestions, ideas and recommendations of others, as well as any of the librarians’ concerns. He is a strong leader who sets clear, academic goals, and more importantly, who links the curriculum and library needs with district-wide goals.”
“The committee could not have been more impressed with Mr. Drake's commitment to school libraries in East Baton Rouge,” said Stephanie Ham, award committee chair. “Not only has he shown the support for the need for librarians through his budgetary commitments and staffing, but also took steps to visit school libraries after the devastating flood in 2016.”
The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony & President’s Program during the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The ceremony will be held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 24. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event.
The American Association of School Librarians www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.