Fellows, coaches selected for December PLA Leadership Academy

For Immediate Release
Mon, 10/23/2017


Laurence Deutsch

Manager, Communications

Public Library Association (PLA)


CHICAGO -- PLA is proud to announce the fellows and coaches for its 2017 Leadership Academy, taking place December 4-8, 2017, in Chicago, Ill. Themed "Navigating Change · Building Community," the PLA Leadership Academy is designed to help empower public librarians as community leaders and agents of change. The content focuses on developing the skills needed to work with municipal officials to enhance the library's role in the community and improve the effectiveness of library activities and programs.

Following the review of 88 applications, members of the Public Library Association (PLA) Leadership Development Committee selected the following 28 exceptional individuals to be PLA Leadership Fellows:

  • Rebecca Antill, South Carolina State Library (Columbia, S.C.)
  • Kayce Austin, Pierce County (Wash.) Library System
  • Polly Bonnett, Mesa (Ariz.) Public Library
  • Elizabeth Breed, Jackson (Mich.) District Library
  • Ashley Brown, Auburn (Ala.) Public Library
  • Griselda Clarke, Orange County (Fla.) Library System  
  • Jeff Collins, Laramie County (Wyo.) Library System
  • Dave Della Terza, Naperville (Ill.) Public Library    
  • Jeannie Dilger, La Grange (Ill.) Public Library   
  • Jennifer Fait, Kenosha (Wisc.) Public Library  
  • Diana Garcia, Monterey Park (Calif.) Bruggemeyer Library
  • Leslie Hayes, Joplin (Mo.) Public Library            
  • Edenia Hernandez, North Miami Beach (Fla.) Public Library   
  • Amiya Hutson, Cleveland (Ohio) Public Library
  • Gayathri Kanth, Palo Alto (Calif.) Library       
  • Kimberly Knight, D.C. Public Library (Washington, D.C.)
  • Jennifer McCormack, Nashua (N.H.) Public Library 
  • Jean McFarren, Stark County (Ohio) District Library
  • Sarah McGowan, McCraken County (Ky.) Public Library
  • Laura McGrath, Skokie (Ill.) Public Library    
  • Kortney Nelson, Highland Park (Texas) Library   
  • Janet Salazar, Charles County (Md.) Public Library
  • Deb Sica, Solano County (Calif.) Library
  • King Simpson, Logan County (Ky.) Public Library 
  • Michael Spelman, Madison (Wisc.) Public Library      
  • Maria Cristina 'Tina' Viglucci, Gail Borden Public Library District (Elgin, Ill.)
  • Jennifer Weeks, Santa Clara County (Calif.) Library District
  • Ashley Welke, Edmond (Okla.) Public Library 
Click here to learn more about the Leadership Academy Fellows.

Seven experienced professionals were also selected as coaches for the upcoming Academy. These public library leaders and city managers will provide attendees with professional insight and support. The coaches include:

  • Carolyn Anthony, former director (retired), Skokie (Ill.) Public Library
  • Audra Caplan, former director (retired), Hartford County (Md.) Public Library
  • Karen Danczak Lyons, director, Evanston (Ill.) Public Library
  • Michelle Jeske, city librarian, Denver (Colo.) Public Library
  • Liz Miller, former assistant city manager (retired), Tucson, Ariz.
  • Felton Thomas, director, Cleveland (Ohio) Public Library
  • Julie Walker, state librarian, Georgia Public Library Service

The PLA Leadership Academy was developed with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and in partnership with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and Adam Goodman, director of the Center for Leadership at Northwestern University. This activity received initial funding from the Global Libraries initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as the foundation winds down 20 years of investments in the library field. PLA, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is able to waive participants' registration fees for this program.

For more information about PLA Leadership Development Programming, contact Charmin Members, leadership development manager, at cmembers@ala.org or (312) 280-5859.

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About the Public Library Association (PLA)
The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 9,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext.5PLA, or pla@ala.org.

About the International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide. The organization’s mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build sustainable communities that improve people’s lives. ICMA provides member support; publications; data and information; peer and results-oriented assistance; and training and professional development to 9,500 appointed city, town, and county leaders and other individuals and organizations throughout the world. For more information about ICMA, visit www.icma.org.

About the Center for Leadership 
The Center for Leadership at Northwestern University offers leadership coaching and consulting services to students, faculty, alumni, trustees, researchers, authors, and other leaders around the world. To learn more about the Center for Leadership, visit www.lead.northwestern.edu.