For immediate release | April 5, 2016

Kathleen Procopio receives AASL Distinguished School Administrators Award

CHICAGO – Kathleen Procopio, principal of Millville (N.J.) High School, is the recipient of the 2016 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.

“Without Mrs. Procopio and her continuing contributions, not only to the space, the ideal of the space, and me, I believe the Millville Senior High School would not be as successful as it is today,” wrote school librarian Kathleen Galarza in her nomination letter. “When I have wanted to try new things, Mrs. Procopio encourages me to take a risk. She understands that risks are not always going to pan out, and she has been there for me when I have felt down or hopeless about something that did not work out as I wanted. She is my cheerleader. She is my mentor. She is the reason this library exists as it does.”

When Galarza was hired in 2012, she found a dedicated school library advocate in Procopio. The school principal supported Galarza’s plans to update the library space and recruited other high school staff to box books, remove shelves and organize painting teams. Procopio firmly believes the library is the hub of the school and proudly shows off the renovated space and invites school board administrators to experience the learning taking place. Procopio also champions the school library by contacting local newspapers to promote library events and accomplishments. She is active on social media, proudly sharing photos and information on library meetings and activities.

Procopio made sure Galarza was involved in planning when the school district approved plans to renovate and expand the school. Procopio wanted to be sure the new library space reflected her vision of the school library as the place for students to feel comfortable, congregate, learn, question and seek out help. To that end, she also provides a consistent budget for the school library and supports new programs, including the upcoming development of a makerspace.

"What caught my eye about Mrs. Procopio's nomination was the way Kathleen Galarza described how Mrs. Procopio respected the lead of the school librarian," said Laura Sheneman, award committee member. "As Kathleen worked on creating her own stamp on the library, Mrs. Procopio supported her and also provided gentle guidance. She seemed concerned for all sides of the change that was taking place."

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony during the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando. The ceremony will be held from 9 – 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 25. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event taking place prior to the AASL President’s Program.

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)