New York Principal Receives National Recognition for Support of School Libraries
Lenny Santamaria, principal of Myra S. Barnes Intermediate School 24 in Staten Island, N.Y., is the recipient of the 2015 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Distinguished School Administrator Award. Sponsored by ProQuest, the $2,000 award recognizes and honors a school administrator who has made worthy contributions to the operations of an exemplary school library and to advancing the role of the school library in the educational program.
In her application for Santamaria, school librarian Christine Poser, wrote, “In my twenty-five years as an educator, Mr. Santamaria has advocated for me and the library program more than any other administrator. He is always supportive of the library program and shows this by his financial and moral support.”
Examples of Santamaria’s support include encouraging Poser’s application for a cooperative collection development grant on the American presidency; paying for the installation of a student-created tile mural in the library; collaboration with content area teachers; and making time for professional development and growth. Santamaria recognizes that the library is the hub of the school, and encourages students, parents, and teachers to utilize it. He also pushes for investing funds into the library, making room in the budget for computer equipment, supplies, new paint, and participation in a program called “MyLibraryNYC” which permits library staff to have books from the New York Public Library delivered to the school.
“Principal Lenny Santamaria believes in school libraries and truly understands the positive impact a school librarian can have on the educational success of all students,” says Melissa Jacob, coordinator of the New York City School Library System. “This is evident through the ongoing financial support, flexibility, and encouragement Principal Santamaria provides librarian Christine Poser to continually develop and enhance the library programming and instruction of Intermediate School 24.”
“Mr. Santamaria is a clear champion of the school library. This is evident through his financial commitment and support of the library as a vital component in his school's success,” said Krista Britton, chair of the award committee. “Mr. Santamaria's understanding of the role of a school library is portrayed through the encouragement he provides by showing support for flexible scheduling and open access. From purchasing extra shelves in order to highlight materials won in a library grant, to equipping the library with state-of-the-art technology, to supporting a pilot program with the NYC Public Library, Mr. Santamaria has ensured that his school's library will remain the hub of this school for years to come.”