Poolesville Elementary School principal Douglas M. Robbins has been honored with the Nancy C. Walker Award for Outstanding Support to a Library Media Program for the 2022-2023 school year. The award is given annually by the Montgomery County Educational Media Specialists Association (MCEMSA) to highlight the role of administrative leaders in supporting library media centers.
Clair Ketchum, the library media specialist at Poolesville, nominated Robbins because he fully supports the media program, “Anything to get the kids more involved in the library is always going to be a yes from me!” Robbins supports having Ketchum participate in weekly grade-level planning meetings and is enthusiastic about the new flexible scheduling shift. This allows Ketchum to bring lesson ideas, enrichment opportunities and field trips that integrate media into existing elements of the curriculum in a timely manner.
Robbins values the media program by ensuring staff aren’t pulled in various directions that might interfere with lessons or activities. He volunteers to cover classrooms or asks his assistant principal to help before pulling Ketchum to do so. He works with the PTA to help buy books and fund makerspace activities. He also has relocated the PTA-run book fair to ensure that media center activities can continue.
Robbins encourages Ketchum to be a leader and to use her position to be a central part of school operations. He helped her complete an administration degree by mentoring her for the internship during the last year of the program. Robbins “even gave me the chance to be teacher in charge for three days while he and the assistant principal were away, so I could get a real feel for the job,” Ketchum said. Finally, she said that Robbins “ensures that the school library serves everyone—that all students can find a range of materials to meet their informational needs, reading interests and materials representing diversity.”
Featured photo, courtesy of MCPS, shows From left to right, Clair Ketchum, media specialist at Poolesville Elementary School; Principal Douglas Robbins, and media assistant Rebecca Fisher.