Karen Ferruzza of Arthur Middleton Elementary School and Jacob Gerding of Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School were named as honorees for the Maryland School Librarian of the Year Award, sponsored by the Maryland Association of School Librarians (MASL). Gerding was recognized as one of the 15 finalists for the award.
Ferruzza has been the media specialist at Middleton for almost 20 years, having previously worked as a teacher. She earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Salisbury University, a master’s in technology for educators from Johns Hopkins University, and a library certificate from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. Ferruzza is passionate about her job and enjoys integrating technology with reading to help students grow as individuals and in their reading abilities. She is known for inspiring students who struggle with reading to keep trying and to find the right book for them.
Gerding, on the other hand, did not initially plan to pursue a career in education. He started his career as a media specialist in Prince George’s County in 2014 and joined Charles County in 2015 as a media specialist at Berry Elementary School, then moving to his current role at Higdon. He is particularly interested in reading and technology and enjoys being creative in his role. Gerding also serves as the VEX Robotics coach at his school and has led his team to two victories at the VEX World Championship in Dallas.
Both honorees were thrilled to learn of their nominations for the award. Ferruzza said she was “taken aback and surprised,” while Gerding was grateful and thanked the unidentified person who nominated him. Gerding admitted that he did not expect to be named a finalist and was not ultimately chosen for the award, but he was proud to be recognized and to have received a plaque in honor of his success.
The MASL School Librarian of the Year Award recognizes school librarians in Maryland who have shown exemplary service and achievements in the field. Nominees and finalists are categorized by county, and winners are chosen based on their contributions to their school, their profession, and their community.
The award is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and is part of National Library Week, which takes place from April 23-29, 2023. This week celebrates the importance of reading in schools and recognizes the unique contributions that media specialists make to students. Charles County Public Schools also celebrates National School Library Week during this time, honoring their dedicated and motivated school librarians who work tirelessly to promote reading and learning.