Please leave your testimonial for one (or all!) of the finalists as a comment below. Review all of the 2017 AASL Social Media Superstar Finalists here.
Stony Evans is a library media specialist at Lakeside High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He is dedicated to helping students find their voices and provides them opportunities to share their learning with others through webinars, conferences and in person to teach teachers, teach each other, and understand the value of developing their own personal learning network. On a recent #TLchat webinar, several of his students impressed the audience of Teacher Librarians with their knowledge and poise. He has collaborated with a school 200 miles away, and connected students for a book club, virtual readouts for Banned Book Week, a virtual Maker “show and tell,” and more. Stony also has developed a student led book club. He shares on Twitter and his blog, and is a model of how to promote a library program and keep the focus on the students/teachers.
@stony12270 | Library Media Tech Talk | YouTube Channel
Andy Plemmons is the school library media specialist at David C. Barrow Elementary in Athens, GA. His library program is grounded in transliteracy, participatory culture, and students as creators of content shared with the global community. His students Skype with authors, guest speakers, and the developers of the tech tools that they use in class. He also collaborates with libraries around the country, and is co-organizer of an annual nationwide online read aloud, giving his own students and students from around the country a chance to interact and share. He is a master at empowering student voice. For example, he has his 2nd grade students nominate a favorite figure for a “Barrow Peace Prize” by recording their nominations on a Flipgrid that is then read and commented on by people from around the world. He shares on his library blog, Twitter, and Google+.
@plemmonsa | Expect the Miraculous blog | Google+ | Library Instagram
Beth Redford is the Teacher Librarian at Richmond Elementary School, in Richmond, Vermont. She is a regular on Twitter, with both personal and school accounts, and her library blog and Twitter feed include sensational library class happenings and student created book trailers. She even gets her Director of Curriculum, Communication, and Innovation involved! She has connected her students via online videos with students in China. She has also helped 2nd graders create blog posts about their animal research.
@RESVTlibrary | RES Library Media Center News | @bethredford | Theconnectedlibrarian
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Author: Jen Habley
Jen Habley is the AASL Manager of Web Communications. She manages the AASL websites, writes press releases, coordinates AASL’s online learning opportunities, and oversees AASL’s web 2.0 tools. When not working, Jen spends time researching her family tree, reading, and watching hockey.
Categories: Association News, News, Uncategorized
Andy Plemmons is an amazing media specialist. He genuinely cares for his students and keeps their voices and interests in mind throughout his planning process. He values student input and encourages community involvement. He is truly a superstar!
Both Stony Evans and Andy Plemmons inspire me to include my students in the decisions I make for my library. When I started my Student Purchasing Program at my elementary school library, not only did I read about his process on his blog, but his students Skyped with my students top talk about common findings and discuss book selection. He constantly reminds his peers how powerful student voice can be! And I have been following Stony’s journey as well with the variety of ways that he engages students of all ages. I love his collaborations and how he incorporates his older students in connecting with young students for special read aloud days! And anytime I have reached out with questions to either of these great librarians they have been nothing but greenwoods work their help! Thank you for recognizing their excellence!
I’m sure all these folks are Superstars but I KNOW Stony Evans is. He is always working to improve personally and professionally. He truly cares about his students and staff. I consider it a privilege to call him friend and colleague.
Such fantastic candidates! All exemplify how meaningful and enriching it is for students to have a librarian that supports their learning and growth. I am most familiar with Andy’s work, however. Student voice is one of his driving motivations as an educator and I’m constantly impressed with the big and small ways he finds to incorporate it into his goals and activities. Sometimes it is something “big” like the Barrow Peace prize where there is collaboration between an entire grade’s worth of students and educators with multiple curriculum objectives. But just as meaningful are Andy’s blog posts where he share stories where an interaction with a individual student reminds him anew of the power of student’s thoughts and ideas and giving them the opportunities to explore and share. It’s exactly the type of education we hope for all of our kids.
Stoney Evans of Arkansas is a superstar library media specialist in our state and beyond. His programming ideas involves students as leaders and teachers as collaborators. He definitely has a library without walls bc of his Mystety Skypes and Google Hangouts that cover the US and foreign countries. His Blog and Live Facebook streaming are viewed by thousands. He writes for many journals in our field and is a part of TLchat groups inside and outside of Arkansas. Stony is always on the cutting edge and always shares his idea with Librarians across our state at conferences including students in the presentations. Congrats to Stony for this recognition.
Andy Plemmons is not only the most amazing media specialist that I have worked with, but also one of the most innovative teachers. He is always at the cutting edge of instruction and continuously finds ways to engage students and empower them to make choices that impact our school and our community. Students check out their own books, know how to set parameters on book searches based on interest and lexile, and navigage the Media Center (that Mr. Plemmons has set up by genre/topic based on student opinion in prior years). He puts the decision making on what types of books we need to add to the library in the hands of the students – quite literally – by having them meet with our local bookstore, survey our student body, do research and data analysis about the types of books getting checked out the most, and then ordering books they decide are the most worthy. I am one of the 2nd grade teachers that participates in the aforementioned Barrow Peace Prize project, and as such I have had a front row seat to my student’s gaining a global foothold to stand on when sharing their work. Mr. Plemmons shows students the map of where their flipgrid videos have been viewed from, spanning not only nation-wide, but across continents. We regularly skype with other schools, experts in different fields, creators of tools (such as flipgrid or Rubeworks), and authors. He also has provided countless educators nation-wide with tools, tips, and examples of how to promote student voice in their own Media Centers through speaking at conventions, conferences, and conducting professional development. I could really go on forever about what Mr. Plemmons has done for our students, school, and district. He more than deserves this award.
My quiet 3rd grader asked Mr. Plemmons about a book series he was interested in at the beginning of the year. Much to my son’s delight, Mr. Plemmons ordered some of these books for the library, and then invited my son to share about them on the school’s morning news program. Much to everyone’s surprise, he agreed to do so. Mr. Plemmons coached my son before his presentation, and then we all enjoyed watching him share–it was great! Other kids asked for the books later in the day, and my son was thrilled that his voice was heard.
Andy Plemmons is beyond amazing! As his superintendent I can say without reservation that he inspired all of us to think differently in our classrooms and schools and to think outside of our walls and out to the world. What a gift one person can share through innovation and expectations for our children?
Andy Plemmons is a superstar media specialist! Coming from a different school district in another state, I was so impressed with all that Andy does. One of my favorite projects that our second grade team collaborated with Andy on was the Barrow Peace Prize. In second grade, we study Civil Rights and opinion writing. As a way to use their new learning, our second graders researched six African Americans from history. Each second grader wrote a persuasive essay and created a piece of art to represent his or her person. Then, they recorded their opinion writing using FlipGrid so others could hear their voice and see their art. I was amazed with Andy’s ability to teach our second graders how to research using multiple online sources, record and cite their information on a Google Doc, and share their published work on FlipGrid. The students were so excited to record their work on FlipGrid and share it with the world. They were also empowered by this opportunity to present their work to an authentic audience. Not only did Andy guide students through the researching and sharing stages of their writing, he also organized the Barrow Peace Prize Awards Ceremony where we skyped with FlipGrid to find out the results. Students couldn’t believe that people from all over the world voted on their persuasive pieces through FlipGrid and that they received awards from the FlipGrid team themselves. Did I mention that Andy also worked with some second graders to design and create the Barrow Peace Prize award on a 3D printer? This was a project that our kids will never forget and has definitely empowered them to share their wonderful writing voices with the world!
Stony Evans continually creates new and compelling programs that engage his students, connect them with the world outside their school, increasing their learning. His students are information literate global citizens. He employs technology to serve his goals and his library is an idea laboratory.
Stony Evans deserves this recognition! As a parent, I have been so fortunate to have Mr. Evans give a voice to my son who is new this year to Lakeside. My son is really into technology and Mr. Evans has enabled him to meet people all over world. My son has presented Minecraft to a school in Pennsylvania, a librarian in Africa, a representative of Microsoft, and six other libraries around the world. Mr. Evans puts all the attention on the students and takes no credit for himself. Stony Evans is a unique and outstanding media specialist/librarian.
Andy Plemmons not only inspires his students to share their voice, he inspires his fellow librarians to try the same. In his guiet, yet sincere manner he shares his methods and listens to fellow librarians and offers encouragement which exponentially touches students those libriarans teach.
Stony Evans has been fantastic in arranging several performances of the Hot Springs Flute Ensemble, Inc., for his students during the last few years. The group includes 5 students in his school, and he has made sure they could adjust their class schedules to perform with the group. And he has publicized the event to make it very educational for the student body. Onsite parking was arranged for our convenience and the chair set-up was prearranged for us. He made sure to have us play at a time when lots of students would attend. He also went out of his way to document the event on Facebook and in the local newspaper. On one occasion, our conductor could not attend, and he stepped in and conducted the group! Our group loves Stony!
There are so many ways that Andy Plemmons has inspired me, but one of them is the way he empowers his students! By asking for their input in book purchases, Andy ensures that his students will always have a vested interest in their library! I also love the work he does with Flipgrid, naming a library book award and designing a medal for it, and, most recently, his work with the Global Book Talk Challenge. When I think about doing similar work in the library, I look to Andy’s examples. He leads the way! Congratulations to him on this honor!
Stony Evans is a superstar! His blog and social media posts continually inspire us all to push ourselves that little bit harder. His dedication to his students is shown in everything he does. I am privileged to call him my friend.
Beth Redford is an amazing librarian at Richmond Elementary School. My daughter is a first year student there in the 1st grade and the difference in her old school to this one is like night and day, thanks in part to Beth. She makes the library so much fun my daughter can’t wait to go check out books. Every day when I pick my daughter up I see Beth outside greeting parents and saying goodbye to some of the kids that come up to her, always with a smile on her face. You can tell she really does love her job and it shows with all the cool things she does with and for the children.
Beth Redford is a champion of student voice, finding ways to leverage social media to not only share students’ perspectives but more importantly, their questions. Countless opportunities for students to connect with authors, educators and students from around the world have come from her dedication and efforts. She’s also modeled her own life as a learner through these venues and it’s been amazing and inspirational to watch and learn from.
Stony has given even me encouragement in my position as an elementary school teacher librarian. Thanks Stony.
Stony Evans is a library media specialist super star!
Andy Plemmons is a champion for student voice! He designs innovative media center projects that focus on important academic standards and that encourage students to share their views with authentic audiences. His collaborative project with our awesome 2nd grade team, the Barrow Peace Prize, is one example of capturing student voice and sharing with people around the globe! This project has become something everyone in our school looks forward to each year. He also engages students in a Student Book Budget group–this group of students chooses new books for the media center based on surveys they conduct with their peers. What a powerful example of allowing students to make decisions in their media center! Andy is a model for all of us in realizing the great potential each child has and the way each can contribute to our school community. I am proud to be Andy’s principal!
Andy Plemmons is an inspiration to both teachers and students! He works tirelessly to include all students with wonderful projects that are shared globally. He goes out of his way to make sure all students have equal opportunity to share in these priceless experiences. I am so proud to call Andy our Media Specialist!
Andy Plemmons is always accessible to the students and staff at his school. He is ready to hear any idea, and he has innovative ways of imagining how even the smallest seed of an idea can materialize into an enriching and engaging experience for everyone involved. He is WAY more than our media specialist! We are so lucky to have him.
I love learning from Stony Evans! He connects on our #txlchat and I love his posts on his blog. He always has practical advice for librarians, and I am not surprised to see him receive this honor! Congratulations, Stony!
Andy Plemmons is always seeking ways to enrich our students experiences. He actively seeks out opportunities, works with teacher to help implement those ideas, then works directly with students to make sure their voices are heard. Andy daily helps to instill a love of learning into our students.
Andy Plemmons is the reason I understand student voice and how social media can be used to support it. My undergraduates work with students at Andy’s school because we connected over Twitter. Andy’s instagram and Twitter posts help me to keep track of my students while they are at Barrow Elementary and they help me to know what is happening in the media center so that my students can prepare to support it.
As a preservice educator – Andy’s social media presence is one of the ways I keep in touch with what is happening in schools so that I’m able to share that work with my students. His support of student voice has changed the way I introduce maker ed activities in my classes. So, not only is Andy supporting student voice for kids at Barrow Elementary, his social media presence is influencing the next generation of teachers and modeling how we can better support students.
Whenever I work with other media specialists and mention that I work with Andy – they always bring up his blog and how they learn so much from it. Honestly, his blog is basically the textbook for our makerspace course.
I’ve had the opportunity (and good fortune) to be able to work with hundreds of teachers around the world and, without a doubt, Andy Plemmons is a true rockstar when it comes to amplifying and empowering student voice. Whether it is promotion on his blog, in his local community, or on Twitter, Andy’s mission has been to ensure his students understand and truly believe that they have a global voice. In this he has been wildly successful. The videos created by his students for Black History Month are viewed by thousands of people around the world. When our team in Minnesota Skypes with his classes, you can see their confidence and enthusiasm for learning shine through. I highly recommend Andy for this honor.
Andy Plemmons is indeed a Superstar! He is incredibly inspiring with the many activities that he plans and executes in his library – from World Read Aloud Day to student book buyers, to the many ways that he incorporates technology and collaboration. He is a champion for listening to, honoring, and empowering student voice. As a friend and a colleague, he is wonderful at offering support and encouragement to other librarians. We are so proud to have him in our school district!
Neither media specialist nor librarian nor teacher fully describes Andy Plemmons. He is a leader in every way – instructionally, technologically and as a person. His dedication to students and teachers is unparalleled. From Skype sessions with classrooms around the world to makerspace to creating movies to sharing a love of literature, every student at Barrow Elementary School has a voice that is further empowered by Mr. Plemmons. He is the best I have ever witnessed at what he does – which is to master such a variety of skills and create an incredible media center, which is the beloved heart of the school. I can think of no one more deserving of this honor!
Both Stony Evans and Andy Plemmons are regular participants in the #txlchat. That is where I learned more about their outstanding work related to empowering student voice. As a (former) university faculty member, I often searched for models toward which I could point graduate students in school librarianship. I used their examples more than once in my courses and on my blog. Their willingness to share their work via social media is exemplary.
It is a pleasure working with Andy Plemmons. As the indie bookshop that is walking distance from Barrow Elementary in Athens, GA, we frequently host Andy’s students on walking field trips. It is common to get emails on the weekends and at night from Andy asking if Avid Bookshop can arrange an author visit to his school with authors for newly published books. Andy Plemmons loves books and his students, and it is evident by his enthusiasm and work ethic. ~ Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop Events Director, Athens, GA
I was part of Mr. Plemmond’s book budget group I had a great time working with Mr. plemmonds get new books. I enjoyed surveying different classes to see what books they would enjoy reading. I Also enjoyed helping Mr . Plemmonds pick books.I would be pleased if Mr .Plemmonds won this award
Andy Plemmons’s library Instagram account is changing the game. I live and work in Athens, and I learn about local businesses, organizations, and even schools through Instagram. Through Andy’s page, I am able to see the passion and patience that he brings to work every day!
I have been following Andy on Twitter for some time and he always inspires me! He has great ideas, shares them generously, and pulls so many groups into his world. The opportunities he gives his students to share their voices are incredible.
Andy Plemmons is indeed a SuperStar! He inspires students, teachers and parents to find their voice in ways that involve technology as well as personal interaction. As a parent, I receive his emails that come out at least twice a week called “Expect the Miraculous” which keeps me informed of what is going on at school. It allows me a jumping off point to talk with my children and find out what is going on in the media center and in school in general. He constantly invites parents to engage with what is going on at school through the technology he shares. Even my mother who is 4 hours away can watch things that go on in the media center by flipgrid and other ways and feel connected. It is such a unique way to include us all in the Barrow Elementary School community. The value he adds to our school is felt across all grades and academic disciplines.
Again, a stellar group that makes it hard to recognize just one.
Stony Evans does an outstanding job sharing the work of his students on social media, and is leading the way on using Facebook Live for this purpose. He has a good knack for what and when to share. I enjoy all of his work and am quite impressed by the activities of his students, much of it, I imagine, facilitated by Stony.
I work in the same district as Beth and she is a truly remarkable colleague. Her commitment to student learning and student inquiry is evidenced in her everyday work which she communicates regularly via Twitter and her blog. She encouraged me to create a stronger social media voice for my own library. She has advocated for and worked to help build a K-12 information literacy curriculum within our district. She works to ensure that all of her students have access to books and resources during the school year as well over the summer. She’s an inspiration to her students and her colleagues!
Andy Plemmons is amazing! I use him as an example to my students in my Librarians as an Instructional Partner class when talking about advocacy using student achievement and library activities. many of my future librarians follow him and share his student posts and activities with their classmates. I have been teaching this class for 4 semesters and some of my students are still sharing with me about his exceptional voice for his students.
If March Madness was a tournament of student voices, the champs would be the Barrow Buddies. Andy Plemmons will always give every child a chance to take the winning shot.
Mr. Plemmons truly deserves to win this award. He makes sure that all the students have the option to speak up, and help have choice in what books we order in the library. For the past two years I have had the opportunity to be on Barrow’s Book Budget Crew with other students and Mr. Plemmons. It has been a great experience! I love books, reading, and I have always loved time in the library. I loved being able to be a part of the book budget crew because, along with Mr. Plemmons and other students, I was able to help have a say in what books the library needs, and what students are reading. Mr. Plemmons helps all students, all ages, and he lets them all give suggestions, and he is a inspiration to all students and teachers.
Andy Plemmons is so flexible. No matter what you are teaching, he can always find a way to support it in the library; either through story time connections, technology enrichment, or even global outreach. He is always willing to help us with unit projects and help us to find other resources to use as we teach our students. He has provided our students with real life examples of readers and writers by recruiting authors and illustrators to come and visit with us. He is more than willing to share his knowledge as he seeks out and learns of new trends in education and media to bring back to our school and strengthen our 21st Century status. I appreciate Andy for all that he does to support us as teachers and our students!
Andy Plemmons is the epitome of a Teacher-Librarian who understands the importance of student voice. From kindergarten students to college students volunteering in his library, he not only values student voice but promotes it daily. His programs show the importance he places on the library being the students’ library and not his. Their voice guides book selection, projects, and more at Barrow. He shares shamelessly across many platforms so that others can be inspired by his students. He is a true social media superstar!
I am one of Mr. Plemmons’s students and I am in a group called, Book Budget. We have a budget and we new books for our library by making a survey and asking everybody in the school to answer it. When we were looking for books, a man from Capstone came by to show us some of his books. He also brought along posters. I am very interested in World War 2, so I thought there should be a poster about it. Mr. Plemmons gave me the email of Amy Cox who works for Capstone. I emailed her my idea and sure enough, she answered! She accepted my idea and sent us posters of my idea. The helped our group advertise our new books in the library. If Mr. Plemmons weren’t there to help me I probably would not have even sent the first email! I think that Mr. Plemmons is one of the best media specialists ever! I think that he should totally win this award!
I have know Stony Evans for many years. His students are his first priority. I am alway impressed with his interaction with students, parents, and teaching staff. He impowers his students to go outside their comfort zone but is there to ask provoking questions enabling the students to solve an issue.
Good company here, but Stony Evans connects consistently sharing great ideas with others. Google Hangouts; twitter; FB; listservs and more . Whoever there’s a library voice, you’ll find Stony speaking there sharing another successful idea or program!
Andy Plemmons is an amazing media specialist. He is always willing to plan and help me implement creative ways to engage students with our curriculum, embedded with technology. This makes the 5th grades so excited about reading and researching. If I even mention we are going to the media center they cheer. It’s because they know we are going to do something fun. Just recently Andy introduced an Epic Book talk because I had told him I needed some innovative way to get kids reading and summarizing. He engaged them with global audience, using Flipgrid, and the kids were so excited to get their videos all over the world. We are currently in our 2nd round of voting and the whole school is watching our 5th grade book talks. They are all proud. This is just one simple example of a recent project. There are many others to speak of. He deserves to be honored as a social media superstar! He is certainly Barrow Elementary’s superstar!
Beth Redford is one of my go to librarians on Twitter. She implimented a program at her school on checking out library books to her students over the summer. I have duplicated that program at my school. When I approached my principal she was not on board but Beth gave me the data and testimonial from her school and we implemented it. I am proud to say that I had 105 students take 10 books each from our school library last summer!
Andy Plemmons was one of the very first school librarians that I interviewed for makerspaces in school libraries. He has a true heart for students learning and student engagement. I use Flipgrid a lot with my online courses and Andy was one of the first people whom I witnessed using it with his students in the field. He is out there with his kids, getting them involved, and making sure they are heard. So excited to see that he has been nominated!
I want to applaud everyone the time and effort that goes into this new sort of professional sharing. Shannon, Michelle, Joyce, Andy, Jonathan… For me these folks started out as online friends to be followed and emulated. Somewhere along the way they’ve become friends and colleagues in this great collective endeavor we call the Library. It’s how we roll.
A friend of mine wrote a little rap, “to my favorite librarian” and it applies to all these folks…and to you, dear reader. https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B40dtKsbrUgwbDdnaXBsM1ZFbk1sVmRMQ19kdkpVcWIySndr
Thanks to all nomination and selection efforts for putting new friends on my radar and shining a spotlight on these luminous LIT librarians.
I’ve known Andy Plemmons since the fall of 1996 when he was an undergraduate student in one of my classes. From the first week of the course until the final exam, I had little doubt that he was committed to the teaching profession and, especially, children. When the semester ended, I lost track of Andy until one day in 2011 when my daughter, Adaline, started Kindergarten at Barrow Elementary School. When I arrived for the Parent Orientation, it was held in the Media Center and there was Andy. While I was glad to see that he would be part of my child’s education, I could never imagine the impact he’d have on her.
When Adaline comes home from school, unprompted, she talks about the learning experiences she has with Mr. Plemmons. Beyond the beautiful media center and the number of books he has collected for the children, he has introduced his students to technology that has allowed them to meet and learn about people from around the world and instilled a love of learning in all of them. Adaline is a voracious reader and has developed interests that have been piqued and supported by Andy’s efforts at Barrow ES.
Most recently, Adaline was part of Andy’s “Student Book Budget Committee.” Every year a volunteer group of students give their time to spend a budget on books for the library. This budget comes from grants, book fair profits, and rewards points and it is completely in their control. They create a survey, interview students throughout the school, analyze the results, set goals, meet with vendors, create consideration lists, narrow the lists to the final order, unpack the books, and display them for checkout.
During the process, Adaline felt that the book company (Capstone) should be contacted to inquire about some of their marketing materials for children—she and a few others felt they were lacking in some areas. With Andy’s encouragement, she contacted Amy Cox at Capstone and eventually began a dialogue with her. Amy challenged Adaline for ideas and listened to what she had to say. A few days later, Andy got word that the company took the ideas and produced some materials that were suggested. My daughter was never so proud of herself. Undoubtedly, her enthusiasm and confidence to follow-through with this process was the work (6 years’ worth) of Andy Plemmons. If that isn’t “empowering student voice within and beyond the library,” then I don’t know what is…
Beth Redford is a rock star librarian. As a literacy coach and consultant I’ve worked in countless elementary schools with scores of librarians and Beth is one in a million. She is an innovator, always rethinking the research projects and work that she leads with students, integrating technology seamlessly. She is an invaluable support and resource to teachers in gathering great books for their reading workshop and for content area research. She knows books. She stays current, reviewing new books not only for teachers and students, for for School Library Journal as well. We are so lucky to have Beth as a librarian in our district. I cannot think of anyone who deserves this recognition more!
As a parent of three in Richmond and an advocate for children in my professional work, I can only tell you how honored I have been to volunteer in Beth Redford’s library. She does amazing things with our children, including supporting them in developing media trailers for their favorite books. My daughter chose Dan Gutman’s “Genius Files” and Mr. Gutman even featured it on his Face Book page.
Congratulations Beth!! Thank you for your tireless dedication to our kids, to the love of reading and the power of learning!! We are so fortunate to have you as our librarian and educator! Thank you! Thank you! Thanks you!!
Beth Redford is knowledgeable and resourceful. She knows books, but more importantly, she knows kids!
Beth works tirelessly to empower our students. She has created and managed a hugely successful summer reading program, developed a self checkout system for our library, and designed curriculum to give kids the opportunity to research and create a passion project in fourth grade. She connects readers with their favorite authors and uses social media expertly to give kids’ work an authentic and broad audience.
Beth doesn’t limit her talents to working with students. She expertly shares resources and inspiration with colleagues. I am consistently impressed with Beth’s ability to support teachers. She scours the earth for books, articles, blog posts, videos, and images for teachers to use with students. She introduces new media platforms for teachers to use when showcasing student work. Beth not only empowers students in her everyday work, she also helps her colleagues support students in making their voices heard.
Beth Redford does all of this with a smile. She makes a difficult job–librarian/media specialist–look easy and fun. I appreciate all that she does for our school and for our children.
Beth Redford is more than a library-media specialist at Richmond Elementary School — she is a leader, innovator, and constant champion of our students. From her very first day, Beth has developed and nurtured a library program that puts student interests and needs first — including summer library check-outs for EVERY student, listening to feedback and suggestions from students to improve her library collection, and finding ways to connect to each and every student in our building.
As a classroom teacher, Beth has been a constant support for curriculum. Seeking additional resources (sometimes without even being asked!) to enrich my content teaching and constantly sharing student success via social media. She is quick to offer ideas and inspiration for sharing student voices beyond the walls of our classrooms and school, modeling this in many different ways.
Beth does all of this with a smile on her face while continuing to manage and grow her library collection and program. Beth is an inspiration and role model for all educators, I am lucky to have her a colleague.
I have known Ms.Redford since Preschool. I’m now in fourth grade. Ms.Redford is always supportive and encouraging. She finds cool interesting creative projects to make us more open to learn about the world around us. She always puts her best foot forward whether it be books , book trailers or capstone projects. I feel that she always can help us. She helps us use different apps and books to help us to create dozens of things. I can always count on her no matter what.
I am one of Mrs. Redfords students. I have been with here since kindergarten. I feel so lucky to have a library teacher that not only has such great books but also is very good with tech. When we made book trailers she helped us use different apps and books to create a amazing book trailer. When we were all done she put them on youtube! It felt so cool to have mine on there for everyone to see. She not only helps me with that but she makes sure that I know everything about the website and apps that I use. I am researching a topic that was really hard to find articles and books for, she went out of her way to find them. Then she emailed them to me. They were really useful. She is such a good librarian.
I have the honor of working with Beth Redford every day. She is a very passionate, supportive and knowledgeable librarian! Everything she does and works toward is student centered. She inspires students to share their voice with the world through their book trailers, capstone projects and special events, like interviewing beloved author Cece Bell for NPR.
Beth Redford goes out of her way to make sure she is supporting students and teachers, and sharing the great work they are doing. Beth Redford is a gift and an inspiration to our local and global communities!
Here are just some of the wonderful things my fourth grade students have to say about their librarian, Beth Redford:
“Mrs. Redford greets all students with a bright hello when they enter the library! I love her fun attitude when she’s teaching! I really like doing capstone projects because we get to choose any topic we want. She allows us to share what we’re passionate about!”
“I think that she’s a really good teacher! I like that she’s funny! I think that it’s really cool that we get to make book trailers and share what books we think are well written and swanky!”
“I like how when we made book trailers, she helped us write out our storyline. This work helped us share our passion for the books we love! I like that she’s always happy! When we talk when she’s talking, she just reminds us nicely and doesn’t get mad.”
“Mrs. Redford is an AMAZING librarian. She’s not only a librarian, she has a very creative mind! That means that she has a creative way of thinking so she can do creative projects with us, such as, capstone projects. Whenever I need help with the hard articles about dance history I’m reading, Mrs. Redford the fabulous superhero librarian, comes over to help me gather information! She shows me that whenever I think something is hard, there will always be someone there to help me, like her!”
“I think Mrs. Redford is an AMAZING librarian because she lets us do the best projects, like capstones, that allow us to share our opinion on topics we’re really interested in. Topics that we want all our people to know about!”
“I think Mrs. Redford is a super creative librarian because she shares all of our work and posts them on her blog. For example, ALL of our book trailers and book reviews go onto her blog. She’s the best librarian EVER!!!”
“I think Mrs. Redford is the best because she has computers to help us find books on our own. I find this very helpful because if they weren’t there, I would not be able to find all the books I want to read. I think that doing capstone projects is great because you’re also learning things when you’re teaching other people!”
“Mrs. Redford does awesome activities that everybody loves, such as the capstone projects. She lets you pick your topic. She puts our projects online so we can share our awesomeness and work with the whole wide world!”
“I think that Mrs. Redford is AWESOME because she has SOOOOOO MANY books! I can never find the right book in other libraries, but in her library, I can always find the perfect book! She lets us do book trailers that allows us to share our feelings about our favorite books!”
We are extremely fortunate to have Mrs. Redford as Richmond Elementary’s Librarian and Media Specialist. As a mom of two of her students, I am consistently impressed with her dedication to individual students and her excitement for connecting her students through media. Beth is attuned to the myriad social media platforms and has developed a media literacy program that teaches students how to safely navigate Twitter, YouTube, GoogleDocs, and research sites – an essential skill for this generation of students. Beth connects with her students and shares in their excitement for new books, research tools and videos. For example, Beth tweeted about my son’s excitement over the release of a new novel in his favorite series. The author tweeted back – surprising my son – and opening his eyes to the power of his voice and ability to connect with “real authors.” Through his “Enrichment Library” class, Beth helped my son to create a book trailer and publish it to YouTube. His pride in sharing his work through our home computers – and with grandparents across the country – speaks volumes about the dedication and commitment of Mrs. Redford to her students.
I am grateful for Andy’s sharing out of his practice is so many ways. I know I can ask him at any point for advice on many topics, but I was especially taken with his program that has students purchasing for the library. Student voice is so important and giving students ownership over collections is inspired.
I am familiar with both Stony and Andy’s work. Both are exemplary. I will give the nod to Andy simply because of the breadth of his activities which go so far beyond what my experience has been with elementary library programs. He is a role model for future ready librarianship.
Beth Radford is an exemplary library media specialist who inspires not only Vermonters!
I know all three of these social media superstars must be amazing and so deserving! And I also know Andy is into collaboration and communication, not competition, but since I know Andy, and have since he arrived at Barrow and the Clarke County School District, I must write on his behalf (and congrats to the other two – you both inspire me and delight me!).
Andy uses literacy, social media, good old-fashioned books, bringing authors into our school, skyping with other schools and classrooms around the country, and empowerment of children in so many ways! He is a role model for one and all – adults and children – in his quiet, yet extremely enthusiastic and energetic ways – and leads by example and collaborating. He uses social media to tout the creativity and accomplishments of our students and staff; he livestreams our oratorical contest (we had 42 students in grades 3-5 participating this year! He was there for every second of it) and he blogs and livestreams our amazingly cool/hot Poem in Your Pocket Day/Week so relatives and friends around the world can follow their grandchildren, nieces, nephews, children, etc. and rejoice in poetry and the freshness of the children’s perspectives and beats and rhymes and giggles!
He shares and communicates what’s going on in our amazing school, when others, like me, are just too busy or set in my ways to do it! We had sixteen films entered in our Georgia statewide Ripple Effects Film Festival to urge stewardship of our oceans and wiser decision-making in what adversely impacts them, and wildlife, and US, and of over 300 films entered, four of the eight K-5 film finalists were our own Barrow 5th graders thanks to his support and encouragement. He took time after we skyped with a 2nd grade class in Maryland which didn’t go real long as their media specialist had another skype session set up, to just sit and listen to my Boy Writers Group share their thoughts and he just talked with them about the reading/writing connection, handing me a hot-off-the-press book Flying Lessons & Other Stories, edited by Ellen Oh, and autographed by several of the contributors, to read because he knew it was perfect for me, and perfect for mentor texts for them…He is good-hearted, courageous, kind, creative, and EMBRACES SOCIAL MEDIA for GOOD IN THE WORLD! Best to all!
Beth Redford continually inspires me with innovative ideas. I appreciate all that Beth has done to create a flexible library schedule so that her students may receive the optimum benefits from her creative efforts. Beth is a fine choice for Sensational Student Voice Superstar since she shares children’s’ work through both the RES Library Media Center blog and Twitter account. I look forward to Beth’s frequent posting of student book reviews. I’m glad that Beth is in the AASL spotlight for her fine work so now others across the country may also be inspired by her efforts.
As RES Teaching Librarian and Media Specialist, Beth is very supportive of teachers and curriculum. She is always looking for Media tools to help facilitate and improve our teaching. I teach Spanish at RES and Beth often suggests websites that provide Spanish language and bilingual content. Beth has also been extremely supportive of my program by purchasing both the fiction and non-fiction books and texts that I use, so that students can have access to these materials outside of Spanish class. There is a designated Spanish Section in the library in a prominent and easily accessible location! Beth is knowledgeable, helpful and is always searching for ways to improve student learning!!
Andy Plemmons is a social media superstar because he helps his students connect with the world via his innovative use of social media. He gives his students a voice and teaches them that their voice is important. Andy is a social media superstar because he connects with other educators around the world (and just down the street) to get them excited about teaching and learning. I could go on and on about all Andy has done to empower students and teachers, but all you need to do is look at his social media feeds and you will see he has touched many lives with his genuine desire to serve others through teaching and learning!
There isn’t a week that goes by that Andy Plemmons isn’t inspiring his students to learn and grow in new ways. My daughter loves learning – and a large part of that love comes from the learning environment Mr. Plemmons has developed in the media center.
Whether he is connecting them with an author in another part of the world or a class across the United States, Mr. Plemmons students feel inspired by the individuals they “meet” through him. Books certainly allow us to experience the world (and beyond!) in different ways, but Mr. Plemmons helps students in Athens, GA understand that the world is theirs to explore through these exceptional learning opportunities. For those who may not ever leave Georgia, hearing from authors with different life experiences (and who have different accents), the children learn first-hand how we all have stories tell regardless of where we come from or where life takes us.
Mr. Plemmons also encourages students to try new things by bringing technology into the classroom. Whether it is programming a robot to roll around the library or build a 3D piece of art that reminds the child of their home, children learn through a variety of means when they visit Mr. Plemmons. We all learn in different ways, so the opportunities he provides allow students of all learning styles to explore and grow in methods that may speak more to their minds and hearts.
We are blessed at Barrow Elementary to have Mr. Plemmons. Not only does he inspire the children there, but he also inspires their parents and teachers!
Congratulations to all of the finalists! Andy Plemmons is phenomenal. I have witnessed first hand by volunteering in the media center how hard he works and his repore with students. Our second grade daughter loves the projects she does with Mr Plemmons! He inspires her so very much!
I have known Andy Plemmons since 2010 when my child started preK at David C Barrow Elementary. I am an active weekly volunteer in the Media Center because I am a fan of the programs that Mr Plemmons is able to develop with the students there. He is seemingly fearless in trying new projects and he captures student voice (and enthusiasm) by enabling individual and group participation in the evolution phase of media activities. Much has been made in these testimonials about Andy’s terrific products. He encourages students to ask questions during author & illustrator visits over Skype; he asks for feedback on MakerSpace projects with open-ended questions such as, “What’s next?” “How can we make this better?”; he engages families in what goes on at school by livestreaming activities like Poem in Your Pocket Day or the Oratorical Contest or the Spelling Bee; online voting is included in programs like the Peace Prize or Epic Book Talks; and he widely shares the wisdom of 600+ students through his social media channels. I would like to point out that he is also a gifted social media *consumer*. Most people are inclined to go astray in the vacuum of the webiverse (no-one on this list, I’m sure!), but Mr Plemmons seems to really focus, and hone in and harvest the best of social media’s fruits so he can bring those great ideas back to his peers and eager students.
Stony Evans is the most humble, unrecognized and relentless school librarians ever. He continually leads by example and promotes student choice, voice and ultimately empowerment. Stony’s focus is on enhancing the teaching experience so that scholars are stimulated and excited to learn. He is a non-stop Tweet machine as he seeks ways to improve learning outcomes and supporting the curriculum with transdisciplinary connections. As a Microsoft Innovative Regional Lead, he supports technology initiatives and is widely known as a source of sharing and inspiration to many top notch educators beyond school librarians. Stony is a voice of unwavering excellence that truly deserves this award!
My Pre-K daughter loves Mr. Andy Plemmons. She loves to go the Barrow library and pick some books to take home. She is happy when Mr. Plemmons sends Library Challenges in the Monday folder. She has a lot of fun watching her school Barrow Buddies posting their books recommendations on Flipgrid. The book fair is a success. Kids get to see the fair, choose they are interested in, tell their parents about it and buy it. Personally, I love the “Polar Express Day”. I am looking forward to more with Mr. Andy Plemmons and Barrow Elementary School. His son is following his steps. Once, he suggested my daughter a book: “My teacher is a monster” and she loves it. For all that, I think he deserves the 2017 AASL Social Media Superstar award. Way to go Mr. Plemmons.
We school librarians need programs such as Andy Plemmons’ to inspire us and to see what can happen when great ideas are implemented. I have been so impressed with the student-centered programs and cheer on from afar! Andy is always present at the conferences I attend. His willingness to share is especially appreciated. Hooray for Andy and his students – these voices resonate and the ripple effects are felt far from that one library.
Stony Evans is amazing. His ability to reach any kid at any level is inspiring. He is the go-to man for cutting edge technology and great as a resource when a question arises on the list serve. He is helpful without being invasive–caring but not controlling. He is simply a superstar.
I first “met” Stony Evans through the magic of twitter and the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert program. His generosity and willingness to share his experiences, materials and ideas were impressive and so appreciated!
I really met him last summer in Denver and was so impressed with his love and passion for his students. He really SEES his kids and offers so many diverse ideas to meet their individual needs. Whether it is his frequent user of Skype in Classroom bringing experts from all over the world to meet the students or providing a breakout experience in his media center it is clear his top priority is in meeting students where they are, engaging them in learning, reading and genuinely caring for their well being. Stony is a dedicated teacher, and humble man with a heart for serving kids. A very good combination.
Mr. Plemmons played a key role in empowering my six-year-old son to create a documentary film regarding a topic he is quite passionate about. Today, my kindergartener sat at his “maker faire” table, surrounded mostly by adolescent “makers,” and screened his film for all passers by. It was amazing to observe him engaging with diverse people of all ages, confidently greeting them and answering their questions. He’s been buzzing about the experience all evening. Without Mr. Plemmons’s expertise, support and encouragement, my son would not have had this incredibly meaningful opportunity to present his voice, ideas, and perspectives to his community. Thanks so much, Mr. Plemmons!
Dad types. Son dictates. “Start with how Mr. Plemmons is awesome!” Patrick, the son, entered Barrow Elementary in January as a first grader, coming from a wonderful Montessori school and empowered with the magic of cursive, a love of reading, and a desire to learn.
Giving voice to children sometimes means that they tell you things, as Patrick just said, “that are new.” The new thing here is technology and how you can tell stories with it. “Tell them about the Maker Faire,” says Patrick. Mr. Plemmons encouraged participation, and offered to mentor those who did not have someone to help them. “But I had you,” says Patrick. We settled on something we’d talked about for a while: building and learning to fly balsa-wood catapult gliders. They zip into the air like rockets and glide in circles. That’s “old fashioned,” says Patrick. “You did it when you were a kid!” That’s true, but some old things are still good. “We need a new way to tell our story,” says Patrick. When people approached our table, they saw an old fashioned tri-fold board on which we glued pictures and the plans for the glider. “But I had to tell people over and over again what we did!” Yes, he did. “Next year, whatever we make, I want tell my story in new ways.” Only in probing his statement did I realize that he’d already been introduced to Flipgrid, Puppet Pals 2, and Seesaw, which he said “we’ll use to tell our story next time.” And so we will. We’ll marry old-fashioned making with new ways to tell the story. Can’t wait. “And say thanks to Mr. Plemmons!”
As the school engagement specialist at Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA, I’ve worked with Andy Plemmons numerous times to arrange author visits and order books for his library. One of the coolest and most empowering things he’s done with his students is a book budget project in which the kids get the chance to select books for their library. The group visits our shop to get a feel for books we recommend and that they would like, then they work with Mr. Plemmons to create a list that gets sent to me to order. Mr. Plemmons documents each step of the process on social media, showing how the students balance their budget limitations with the need to order books that work well in their library, and throughout the process it is clear that the students get a unique chance to develop their agency and decision-making skills.
Beth is mighty voice in our small, but brave state of Vermont. She was one of the first teacher-librarians in the state to not just embrace social media, but use it as a tool to connect, to engage, and to celebrate her students, her school, her colleagues, and our profession. She’s positive and lovely, through and through, and most deserving of Superstar status.
I love reading Stony Evans blog posts and his student focus.
Andy Plemmons is a superstar! I am a grandmother of a child who is in the 5th grade at Barrow and I have volunteered weekly in the Media Center for the past 5 years. I am impressed every time I am there with the way Andy engages with his students and truly listens to what they have to say. He is always looking for new and different ways to involve the students with authors, schools in other parts of our country, companies who are developing new products for students and schools, etc. He shares with parents, community members and teachers/Media Specialists from other schools (through his blog, Twitter, and Instagram) the many ideas that he has and the ways that his students have learned and expressed themselves. I have watched as his classes Skype with other schools and writers and he encourages students to ask questions and express what they like about whatever the topic is that is being discussed. Children learn how to check out their own books. He completely changed the library set up and moved to a genre arrangement because he believed children could be more independent in selecting books that they liked with the new system (and he was right!). He live streams the Spelling Bee, Oratorical Contest, Poem in My Pocket and other programs so that parents and grandparents can watch their child and even make comments to be shared with the child in real time.
When students have ideas that they want to share with companies or individuals outside the school system, Andy will let them send the e-mail to him and he will facilitate the e-mail “discussion” between the student and the outside group. Fourth and Fifth grade students are given the opportunity, thorough the Book Budget Committee, to take a set amount of money and through research and interactions with book sellers, actually make decisions about books to purchase for the library. He has coordinated with University of Georgia classes and professors on a regular basis to bring in UGA students to work with his students on topics that the students are interested in. The most recent example I have observed is the Maker Space projects which have included regular interactions, a school wide program and a school system program that Andy helped lead.
I think what I most admire about Andy is his ability to truly listen to children, to empower them to speak up and ask questions and to give their opinions. He goes out of his way to support the interests that each individual child brings to him. He is ALWAYS looking for new ways to use technology to enhance the learning that takes place in his Media Center. He is always prepared when the children enter the Media Center. He is quietly supportive and encouraging. He is an outstanding example of the type mentor and coach that any parent (or grandparent) would want working with their child. I am thankful that our granddaughter has had his influence over the past 6 years! Hundreds of children benefit from his leadership each year. He is truly a Social Media Superstar.
Stony’s undying dedication to the promotion to student’s voice is incredible. I’ve had the absolute honor to see how much confidence his collaborative library program has given students. Lakeside students spoke loud and clear, helping my colleagues and I see how they implement Makerspace when our team at Follett connected via Skype this year. Know that I can’t wait for more to come and that the young adults at LSHS have more of a voice because of Stony’s hard work! Thank you for inspiring, friend.
We absolutely love that we get to send our son to a school that has Andy Plemmons as our media specialist! We just had Poem in My Pocket day and I couldn’t leave work to watch my son read his poem in front of class, so I tuned in to the live broadcast that Andy set up. It made my day to see my kiddo read into the mic! We talked all about it when he got home from school. When technology is implemented in a thoughtful way, it brings people together and creates conversation. This is what Andy does for the families at our school time after time.
Andy always finds a way to involve students in their learning, and then share that involvement and learning worn the public. I’ve seen him do some amazing things but my favorite was being in Dubai with him as he Flipgrid our travels and sights back to his students at home. What a way to not only show what he was learning built to remind his students that he was thinking about them, always.
Andy Plemmons works tirelessly to empower our children and cultivate their intellectual curiosity. He incorporates many different types of social media into the curriculum – skyping with other schools, webcasting presentations, flipgrids, stop motion video… each technology provides students with a unique experience and allows them to find a medium they can be really excited about. Andy gives the students so many special opportunities – For example, every year students get the opportunity to develop (& fill) a book budget, which includes surveying the student body, meeting with book sellers, setting priorities, and making trade-offs to buy books for the library. And just last week, every student in the school (over 500) wrote a poem and read it aloud to the class while Andy recorded and shared it on social media for national poetry week.
I volunteered in the library every week last year and it was truly inspirational to see the love the students at Barrow Elementary have for the library/media center. Thanks to Andy, they have been given a gift – a love of knowledge – that can never be taken away. Honestly, Our whole community (Athens, GA) benefits from Andy’s creativity and passion for learning and technology. He has been instrumental in bringing great children’s authors to town for all to enjoy and several times a year the media center facilitates guest readers from the community. At Barrow, the media center is truly a place where everyone feels welcome and wants to spend time.
It is with high admiration and glee that I submit these words of recommendation for Ericka Long. I have watched Ericka blossom into an advocate for others. She demonstrates the characteristics of a true educator who is always concerned about her students. As a librarian in this day and time, she continues to strive for equality through reading at multiple stages and levels. She seeks to educate through a multiplicity of avenues and opportunities that are endless compared to the “normal” librarian responsibilities. She has also sought to further incorporate today’s technology. This technique creates a successful learning environment for a large number of students. For example, Twitter has emerged as another opportunity to promote reading and Ericka has therefore inspired students to further develop their skills through this technique. She possesses a zeal for learning which led her to create a blog post that seeks to assist student in their writing skills, as well as, increase their level of reading. Ericka’s desire is that everyone be an avid reader. She consistently strives to encourage reading as a hobby. Ericka seeks to incorporate a comfortable physical surrounding for students that endeavor to improve their reading skills regardless of their circumstances.
It’s my pleasure to endorse Stony Evans. He is definitely an advocate for student voice. Don’t take my word for it; watch his students present about this topic on the recent #tlchat webinar. Stony is inspiration & so personable. No wonder his students love him & love their library.
It’s difficult to find the exact words to say how helpful and inspiring Andy Plemmons is with the students of Barrow Elementary. He empowers them every day. I want this comment to be perfect because I think Mr. Plemmons is perfect in his role, and I have put writing this note off to the very last minute. And then I remembered what Mr. Plemmons said to every student he interacts with: keep trying, it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time or even the second time, you can do it, get involved, and other encouraging messages so that the students feel the strength to continue with their work because it’s the process of learning and not just the final product that will get them to succeed.
His student-centered approach in using technology is the epitome of the instructional technology field. He creates a safe environment for the children to verbally express their opinions on FlipGrid, a video discussion community. He develops a flexible lesson plan that allows the students to program robots and allows time for them to figure out the correct algorithm to execute the students’ goal. He uses YouTube to deliver the morning message that has been developed, produced, and executed by the students themselves.
He communicates with families and colleagues outside of the walls of Barrow Elementary through Instagram, blogging, Twitter, and Facebook. And that in turn helps the families reinforce at home what their child has learned at school. And I can imagine Mr. Plemmons will find a way to incorporate the next social media app that comes along so that others can feel connected.
Most recently, he live-streamed Poem In Your Pocket Day where every student in the school got to get up in front of their classmates and speak in the microphone to recite his or her poem. Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles all around the world were able to watch their child recite a poem in real time.
Thank you for allowing the “fans” of Mr. Plemmons give words to explain his endless efforts in educating our children’s minds, bodies, and souls.