SLJ and TLC Announce Winners of the Librarian/Teacher Collaboration Award 2021

School librarian Jessica Scheller and art teacher Andrea Ramirez of Eiland Elementary School in Klein ISD, Houston, win inaugural award.

Librarian/Teacher Collaboration Award logo imageSchool librarian Jessica Scheller and art teacher Andrea Ramirez of Eiland Elementary School, Houston, win inaugural award

A pair of exemplary Houston-area educators has won the 2021 Librarian/Teacher Collaboration Award, announced School Library Journal (SLJ) and award sponsor TLC.

The inaugural award also recognized three finalists; educators partnering with school librarians to boost student learning include a chorus teacher and a chef.

The winners, school librarian Jessica Scheller and art teacher Andrea Ramirez, were honored for their joint work supporting student content vocabulary development at their school, Eiland Elementary of Klein ISD, Houston, TX.

The pair’s efforts aimed to close the word gap, or vocabulary deficit, which affects many children below the poverty line and English language learners, according to the award application. Of Eiland’s student population, 59 percent are English language learners and 88 percent are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

For the past several years—with last year’s hybrid learning being no exception—Scheller and Ramirez have created lessons that integrate library services, such as information literacy and access to information, and language development, with creative outcome and product. In one project, Scheller and Ramirez led a study of stained glass, how it can be used to convey information and narratives, enabling students to explore the scientific process. Using watercolor and markers, children created their own panes, which were displayed in the library for all grades to view, analyze, and discuss.

Children coded geometric shapes with Spheros, studied and created wordless stories, and explored computer science and art, among other learning experiences led by Scheller and Ramirez, some engaging whole classes and others, the whole school, all toward supporting student engagement, closing gaps, and helping address campus, district, and state goals.

Three educator pairs honored as finalists for the Librarian/Teacher Collaboration Award are:

  • Emma Romero and Andre von Twistern, Desert Wind PK-8 school, El Paso, TX. To foster a culture of literacy, Romero, a librarian, partnered with teacher von Twistern, implementing reading initiatives, from comic book night to a National Parks project, implementing AR apps, Book Creator, and other creative tools. 
  • Thea Paul and Ariel Mitchell, Meadowbrook High School, North Chesterfield, VA. Using poetry, music, and video technology, students created a multimedia presentation about the African-American experience, led by Paul, assistant librarian, and Mitchell, a chorus teacher, and throughout gained skills against national school library (AASL) standards.
  • Hillary Marshall, library media specialist, and Brenda Hitchins, Washougal (WA) High School. To support career and technical education (CTE) curriculum, Marshall, a library media specialist, and Hitchins, a chef and culinary arts teacher, teamed up on efforts ranging from the technology-rich Cookie Cutter Project to a novel study of With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo along with an advanced culinary/baking class, which included a hands-on exploration of Puerto Rican cuisine.

“As exemplified by our honorees, great things can happen when we work together,” says Kathy Ishizuka, SLJ editor in chief. “SLJ is pleased to recognize the creative efforts of this year’s winners of the Librarian/Teacher Collaboration Award. Your inspiration is a welcome example.”

“Congratulations to the winners! You have truly shown yourselves to be leaders in the industry, and your achievements have not gone unnoticed,” says Annette H. Murphy, CEO/president, TLC.

Judges for the 2021 Librarian/Teacher Collaboration Award are: Cherity Pennington, District Communications and Library Services Coordinator, Shawnee (OK) Public Schools; Kelly Gustafson, Wexford Elementary Principal, Pine-Richland School District, Wexford, PA; a TLC representative; and SLJ editors.

 Launched in 2021 by SLJ with support from TLC, the Librarian/Teacher Collaboration Award honors a pair of K–12 educators—a library professional and a teacher—for stellar achievement in engaging students toward fostering curious, lifetime learners. For more information, visit

School Library Journal is the premiere publication for librarians and information specialists who work with children and teens. A source of quality journalism and reviews for more than 60 years, SLJ produces award-winning features and news coverage on: literacy, best practices, technology, education policy and other issues of interest to the school library and greater educator community. We evaluate a broad range of resources, from books and digital content to databases, in 6000+ reviews published annually.

TLC (The Library Corporation) employs over 200 people dedicated to delivering enterprise software and hardware solutions to public, school, academic, and special libraries worldwide. TLC’s cumulative products are deployed in more than 1,100 organizations, representing over 5,500 locations in North America and worldwide. TLC is certified by the U.S. General Services Administration, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, and the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program. TLC is based in Inwood, WV, with offices in Colorado, Minnesota, and Singapore.

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