Nancy C. Walker Award
2019-2020 Waker Award Recipients
For the first time in their history, the Montgomery County Educational Media Specialists Association (MCEMSA) is delighted to honor Mr. Carl Bencal, principal at Clarksburg Elementary School and Mrs. Jennifer Baker, Mrs. Regina Rodriguez and Mr. Jeff Leaman, administrators at Walter Johnson High School with the Nancy C. Walker Award for Outstanding Support to a Library Media Program for the 2019-2020 school year. The award is given annually by the MCEMSA to highlight the role of administrative leaders in supporting school library media centers.
Mrs. Daria Taylor, the media specialist at Clarksburg Elementary School nominated Mr. Carl Bencal who has consistently been supportive of the current media schedule allowing for open book exchange, literature appreciation lessons, and collaborative research. Each year Mrs. Taylor has been told to “create a schedule that works best for you.” In addition, because he advocates for access to complex text so students can engage in higher level thinking, Mr. Bencal provided textbook funds to make a substantial purchase of Capstone ebooks. When Clarksburg Elementary School received a technology grant, Mrs. Taylor was asked for her input and received every item she requested. Mr. Bencal rarely asks to close the library media center for special events, so that the library media center can remain open for students. Mrs. Taylor appreciates having an administrator who supports and champions the library media program.
Mrs. Jennifer Baker, Mrs. Regina Rodriguez, and Mr. Jeff Leaman have been real champions of the School Library Media Program since Ms. Naomi Gelfand has been the media specialist at Walter Johnson High School. They have been supportive of all changes, incentives, and upgrades Ms. Gelfand has promoted, from updating the entire media collection by obtaining additional funding, thereby increasing circulation from 1600 to 8000 books a year; locating funds for Ms. Gelfand’s quest for resources, furniture, and keeping the media center staffed and open for students as much as possible; to even securing shelving for easier access and more security. “My Administration team,” concludes Ms. Gelfand, “makes me feel supported, valued, heard, and respected,”