Meet the 2020 AASL Candidates – Director-at-Large B

The 2020 ALA/AASL election season is coming up quickly! AASL is continuing the practice of using the KQ website as a venue for you to learn more about each candidate. Those standing for election were asked to provide a short video introducing themselves. In addition they were asked to respond to this prompt: Select one of the four objectives under the Leadership Activation goal (http://www.ala.org/aasl/govern/strategic-plan) in AASL’s strategic plan, and speak to your role in meeting that objective. 

As you read the candidates’ responses, remember that these positions reflect those approved in the recent by-laws election. Consider the future of your professional school library organization as you vote. Mark your calendar to cast your vote beginning March 9. Remember to invite your colleagues to vote as well. AASL Past President Steven Yates said it best last year, “School librarians are a critical part of the American library ecosystem and voting in our association election is a clear way to demonstrate our voice, our power, and our fervent desire for the strongest future for school libraries!”

The candidates for Director-at-Large B are:

  • Maria Cahill
  • Daniella L. Smith

Statements and/or videos were a voluntary option offered to all candidates.


Maria Cahill

I believe every school librarian is a leader and every learner is entitled to a school librarian. School librarians serve as leaders within their schools by promoting respect and inclusiveness and by collaborating with other educators to empower students to continuously develop and refine skills and dispositional attributes they can use throughout life to build new knowledge, engage with others, and make meaning for themselves.

Like all vibrant and significant professions, school librarianship is continuously transforming, and school librarians must continuously use evidence to modify their practice and guide their decisions. School librarians competent at gathering and analyzing evidence of practice demonstrate and communicate to leaders and decision makers in their local school communities exactly how their practices influence student outcomes and school culture.

As a school library scholar and educator, I feel fortunate to be in a position to conduct formal research investigations of school librarian practice and to teach courses that help pre-professional school librarians develop skills to engage in identifying, collecting, and analyzing evidence to demonstrate how their school library practices influence student outcomes.

My twenty years of experience as school librarian and school library advocate, coupled with my accomplishments as a research and educator who teaches the value and steps of evidence-informed practice, positions me well to guide the decision making of the premier association of school librarians.

I would be honored to serve on the board of directors of the American Association of School Librarians as a director-at-large. In this role, I would work to promote practices that would further advance both formal research as well as local, practice-based evidence demonstrating the value of school librarians.

Daniella L. Smith

Businessman Harold S. Geneen once stated that “Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” Indeed, our words mean nothing unless they are put into action. Action is particularly evident in the case of leadership. I have written a lot throughout my career. However, I actively seek to engage in activities that have a positive impact on the school librarianship community.

When I received the request to write about one of the four objectives listed under Leadership Activation in the AASL Strategic Plan, I decided that, “Increase opportunities for state and local leaders to enhance their leadership capacity” resonates with me the most. I believe my role in increasing opportunities is serving as a leadership facilitator.

I define a leadership facilitator as a person that provides guidance, inspiration, and empowerment to develop current and future leaders. Leadership facilitators are mentors. When they are not in direct contact to serve as mentors, they model and educate others about effective professional practices.

Leadership facilitators are also advocates. This advocacy begins with asserting the need for their skills, the benefit of the profession, and helping others to realize the power of their own skills and voices.

Furthermore, leadership facilitators assess trends, opinions, and policies to understand the factors that necessitate the need to evolve. They evolve and make their causes stronger by listening to the voices of their stakeholders, building collaborative relationships, and making evidence-based decisions.

I recognize that my position allows me to have a positive impact on many lives. I had no idea where my career would go when I became a librarian in 2001. I am thankful for the responsibility and see serving as an AASL Director-at-Large as an opportunity to collaborate on a larger scale to cultivate more school library leaders.



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