For immediate release | March 6, 2018

Michael Daria receives AASL Distinguished School Administrator Award

CHICAGO – Michael Daria, superintendent of Tuscaloosa City Schools (TCS), is the recipient of the 2018 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.

In the two years since joining TCS, Daria has led a revolutionary change in the school system by expanding and supporting the role of the school library and the school librarian in each school and system-wide. He created leadership positions including a lead librarian to represent school librarian needs and concerns at the district level. TCS school librarians have been given the responsibility of building the school system’s reading culture and summer reading program.

“While he works tirelessly to give credit to others, the simple truth is that his leadership is transforming our school system in myriad ways, particularly in the role of the school librarian and the role of the library,” wrote Andrew Maxey, TCS director of special programs, in his letter of support. “I have not known a superintendent in my career as an educator who leads as he does nor who recognizes and supports the essential role of the library and librarians. He has willingly and powerfully become the champion of the educators and the structures offering to drive schools forward in their core mission.”

The joint recommendation letter written by the school librarians in the system echoes this praise: “As school librarians, Dr. Daria’s leadership has meant a true metamorphosis in our role as educators and as valued members of our schools and our system. We have never felt as affirmed and supported by a superintendent. He has taken the time to understand library services and librarians so that he can become our advocate, our leader and our support structure in the creation of constantly improving library programs, library facilities and school librarians.”

"Dr. Michael Daria’s leadership in transforming the Tuscaloosa City school libraries is an inspiration," said Cassandra Barnett, award committee chair. "He exemplifies the kind of administrator we all wish we had. He not only recognizes the power of a quality school library program and the leadership potential of school librarians but supports through his words and deeds."

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony & President’s Program during the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The ceremony will be held from 9 a.m. – noon on Saturday, June 23. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event.

The American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)