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April 28, 2016

Indian Creek Middle School media specialist Mrs. Lori McGovern is Newton County School System’s (NCSS) 2016 Media Specialist of the Year. The Library Media Specialist of the Year Award recognizes individual excellence in the library media field through service to students, teachers, and community at the K-12 levels. McGovern will now represent Newton County Schools in the South Metro District Library Media Specialist of the Year competition, part of the Georgia Library Media Specialist of the Year program. 

“I am honored to be nominated and selected the Newton County Library Media Specialist of the Year,” said McGovern. “Newton County Media Services is an amazingly talented and dedicated group, and I am proud to represent them.”

McGovern’s essay and application packet will now be reviewed by the GLMA South Metro District selection committee, who will select a winner based on the following criteria:

  • Leadership role through staff development, committee involvement, or professional advocacy; 
  • Involvement in professional organizations; 
  • Promotion of information technology utilization and literacy;
  • Promotion of reading and literature;
  • Involving parents and/or the community in the library media program as partners;
  • Working collaboratively with the educators in your building;
  • Innovative techniques used in your library media program; and
  • Deliberate and ongoing professional development as a learner which is relevant to media services

Mrs. McGovern holds bachelor’s degrees in both English and Religion from Furman University as well as a master’s degree in instructional technology from Troy University. She earned an add-on certificate in library and media services from the University of West Georgia in 2007.

After college, she didn’t pursue a career as a media specialist. In fact, she entered the education field as an English teacher at Newton High School.

“After a few years, I realized that I wanted to make a bigger impact and reach more students,” said McGovern. “I wanted to share my love of reading with students and inspire them to read because reading is freedom. I also realized that my students struggled with research and writing, so I wanted to help all students learn to find information, process it, and then communicate it. I went back to school and became the media specialist at Indian Creek in 2006.”

According to McGovern, the role of the school media specialist has truly expanded and most definitely impacts student achievement.

“Media specialists run the largest classroom in the building,” she explained. “Gone are the days of the traditional librarian; today, we facilitate lessons with physical and digital resources. Through these efforts, media specialists impact student achievement daily. We encourage reading, which builds vocabulary and writing skills. We teach how to read information and decide what is important, which affects every subject area. We create lessons that enrich curriculum and deepen understanding of what students are learning in the classroom.”

Today’s school media specialist is also a great support for teachers.

“Media specialists stay aware of the newest resources, and we train teachers on new technology and new options for their classrooms,” said McGovern. “We work to supplement the curriculum with websites, eBooks, and ways to use students’ own technology. All of this helps teachers be more creative and innovative for students.”

McGovern sees the school media specialist as having a service role and notes that developing and fostering relationships is crucial.

“I want my students to realize that they matter; they are always greeted with a smile and a welcoming environment,” she explained. “I connect literacy, learning, and life. I work every day to ensure that my patrons find a book or a resource that brings them a deeper understanding of themselves and their world. The ability to read well will enrich their lives and help them be more successful, productive adults. I want my students to realize that their words and actions can and do make an impact on their community; in a world where we are constantly bombarded with digital information, I help students learn to process information effectively and ethically.”

For her efforts, in 2014, McGovern won the very prestigious Judy Serritella Exemplary Media Award through the Georgia Library Media Association.

“We are so excited that Lori McGovern was selected as Media Specialist of the Year, and it is a well-deserved honor,” said Dr. Renee Mallard, principal of Indian Creek Middle School! “Mrs. McGovern is the epitome of passion, service, and professionalism. We are fortunate she is here because she truly has an impact on the literacy opportunities we provide for our students. She encourages teacher and student feedback, shares ideas and materials, and goes above and beyond to ensure our students find the Media Center a warm and inviting place. Her goal is to have as many students continue to read, or for students to become new readers. I am so proud that she is part of our team and that her ability, dedication, and hard work has been recognized.”

“Congratulations to Mrs. McGovern for being selected as the Newton County School System Media Specialist of the Year,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “Mrs. McGovern is an excellent media specialist who has a laser-like focus on ensuring students have access to books and media resources that enhance their academic, social, and emotional growth. I know Mrs. McGovern will represent her school and our system well in the regional competition.”