School Librarian - Cynthia Barry
ST. MARTIN’S LIBRARIAN RECEIVES THE 2011 MARYLAND CHRISTINE D. SARBANES TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD
by Sharon Holsclaw
Our librarian, Cynthia Barry, has been chosen as the 2011 Maryland Letters about Literature Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year. The presentation award was made at the Enoch Pratt Library on April 16th by Representative John P. Sarbanes (D-MD).
For more than seven years now, Kindergarteners through 8th graders at St. Martin’s-in-the-Field Day School in Severna Park, MD, have come weekly to Ms. Barry in the Library. Cindy has a deep understanding of how to transmit the values of reading. She knows that students who love to read will be better able to think and to write. With a Masters in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, Cindy has read widely in the Great Books tradition. She leads Touchstones Discussions with our middle schoolers. Our St. Martin’s students benefit from programs she initiated including Poet-in-Residence, Shakespeare-in-the-Field, and Distinguished Visitors. Cindy has published in Educational Leadership, a leading professional journal. As part of our school’s annual auction, she offers “Bedtime Reading with Your Librarian” and for parents “Touchstones Discussion—Why Leave All the Important Questions to the Kids?”
The Maryland Humanities Council established the award in memory of Christine D. Sarbanes, who, through a life of dedicated public service, shared her love of literature and her passion for the humanities with the people of Maryland.
Cindy said she was elated when she learned that she had been selected for the award. “I was so impressed last year at the Letters about Literature ceremony when I learned about Christine Sarbanes and her lifelong devotion to literature and the humanities, and I saw her family’s dedication to public service. I’m gratified to receive an award with her name. It’s an inspiration to be recognized by the Maryland Humanities Council,” she said.
To complete the circle from writer to reader to writer, Cindy conducts the Letters about Literature curriculum sponsored by the Library of Congress, helping each child to think deeply about a book that has mattered to him or her. One of her students, Cameron Fitzgerald, was a national finalist in the Letters about Literature contest and won $1,000 for our school library. Last year we had five state finalists—Casey Glick and Virginia Ritinski in Level 2 and Julia Mathews, Isabelle Carney, and Corbett Glick in Level 1. This year, Donnie Dodson in 4th grade (Level 1) and Shawn Dwyer in 7th (Level 2) are state finalists.