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OMS staff recognized by state

Barbara Hootman
barbara@blackmountainnews.com

A digital equipment savvy, book appreciating, student loving teacher-librarian, Cindy Sturdivant, won the Buncombe County Schools Media Coordinator of the Year award.

Sturdivant is also a finalist for the North Carolina School Library Media Association Media Coordinator (NCSLMA) of the Year for the state.

There are four finalists, one from each region. All four finalists will be recognized in the conference booklet during the opening session at the NCSLMA Conference in Winston-Salem on October 23.

Sturdivant has been a teacher-librarian at Owen Middle School for 12 years.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by others and especially by my colleagues for doing the job that I do,” she said. “John Parker, my supervisor, recommended me for the state award. A teacher colleague, Amanda Venturella, also recommended me.”

Dr. Heidi Von Dohlen, Owen Middle School principal, calls Sturdivant a treasure.

“Ms. Sturdivant is the best media coordinator I have worked with in my 25 year career,” she said. “Her ability to visualize new, creative, outside-the-box opportunities for students and carry the events through from concept to conclusion is exceptional. She is a driving force behind many enriching activities at Owen Middle such as visiting authors, Hour of Code, science festivals, gravity games, and more. Her awards are well-earned and I don’t know a media coordinator that is more deserving of this honor. Her humility parallels her diligence.”

Venturella sees Sturdivant as a media coordinator who is constantly striving to make the library a space kids love using.

“In most schools, the media center is the central nervous system,” she said. “Cindy has created a Media Center that is the heart and soul of Owen Middle. Whether by creating makerspace (a place to be creative, experiment, play and create new ideas and projects), providing the best YA (young adult) books, or publishing student work on the school’s web page, she makes it something the students love to do. She also takes the media center out to the classrooms by teaching alongside colleagues, providing library resources, supporting learning through technology, or arranging speakers for the kids.

“All the best things about Owen Middle-technology, integration, the NC Science Festival, the Natural Impact Initiative, or the many clubs offered through the library-have Cindy’s mark on them. She writes grants, calls guest speakers, updates the school’s social media, shares best practices, and tirelessly promotes literacy and learning in the school community.”

For Sturdivant, making the library a safe place for the students to take risks academically is part of the job.

She also tries to stimulate creativity in makerspace, where students work with projects like creating a 3D Model for the school’s 3D printer, building Lego projects for their age groups, and learning to prototype and use electronics with “littleBits programs.

“The students love makerspace time,” Sturdivant said. “At some time during the year, I work with every student at Owen Middle School. Our students know how to use technology as a game, but as a teacher-librarian-media center coordinator I strive to teach them to use technology as a tool.”

The media center sponsors several school clubs and special activities such as Maker Monday, Coding Club, Gravity Games and the annual science festival, and an annual school wide history celebration.

“I was born to be a teacher, and taught for seven years before I became a librarian,” Sturdivant said. “I taught at NC School for the Deaf in Morganton and was their school librarian, before I came to Owen Middle. I love working with kids and helping them make the connections, get the ideas and accomplish projects. I really like being a librarian especially now with so many books, research, and makerspace for creative projects. It is an exciting time to be a teacher-librarian.”

Sturdivant’s hobbies include reading, traveling and hiking. Her son, Benjamin Warlick, who is a junior at Owen High School.