AASL's Distinguished School Administrators Award recipient “walked her talk” and improved student learning

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/19/2011

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Jennifer Habley

CHICAGO – Donna Haye, district assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Atlantic City Board of Education, is the 2011 recipient of the American Association of School Librarian’s (AASL) Distinguished School Administrators Award. Haye was nominated by school librarian Jennifer Jamison.

From instituting schedules that allowed for flexible scheduling to ensuring that each elementary school had a fully cataloged online collection, Haye’s philosophy that the “school library should be the heart of the school” has transformed schools in the Atlantic City Public School District.  Upon assuming her role as assistant superintendent, Haye created a new district library supervisor position and rallied library colleagues to evaluate the current status of the district’s school libraries.  Finding the libraries in dire need of an update, Haye immediately took action.

Haye made hiring a certified school librarian for every school a priority. She also instituted schedule changes that allowed for flexible scheduling, enabling school librarians and teachers to collaborate on projects using information literacy skills. To update the libraries’ collections and technology, she spoke before community and school boards requesting that funds be put on the ballot. Local voters agreed, and $566,172 was approved for school library use, including funding for expanding collections to include multicultural titles reflecting the student population. Haye also wrote two successful Improving Literacy through School Libraries grants as well as a National Reading First grant.

“Mrs. Donna Haye is the perfect recipient for the Distinguished School Administrator Award,” said Lou Greco, award committee chair.  “She has done everything right from a school library perspective. She created equity by providing equal standards for each library, added extended hours and pursued funding through grants and local sources.  She is an outstanding advocate for school libraries, especially for her less affluent students in an urban environment. Her love of the library began as a child and continues today through her support of author visits, Battle of the Books, and reading gardens in her district.”

In presentations, Haye has stated that “a [media] rich, well-run library will even the playing field for our students.  It gives them free access to up-to-date materials and opens the door to reading for pure enjoyment.”  Advocating on behalf of students, teachers and librarians in the Atlantic City School District has been a focal point of her career. As one letter of support read, “Donna Haye has walked her talk and is an outstanding administrator.”

Haye and other AASL award recipients will be honored at AASL's Awards Luncheon during ALA's 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans. The luncheon will be held Monday, June 27 and Lauren Myracle, best-selling young adult author and national spokesperson for intellectual freedom, will headline.  Ticket information can be found on the AASL website at http://www.ala.org/aasl/annual

Sponsored by ProQuest, the $2,000 award 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.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.