Kimberly Ramsey, media specialist at Oak Hill Elementary School, combined the two things she loves most for her career - children and reading.
Ramsey said she had always toyed with the idea of teaching because while babysitting as a teenager she enjoyed the company of little ones.
"After two years of college and not really knowing what to do, I decided to do something I enjoy," Ramsey said.
She taught second grade for 15 years in Fulton and Coweta counties before landing in Newton County.
Three years ago she obtained her specialist degree for library sciences and became the media specialist at Oak Hill.
"I just wanted a new challenge, and I really love reading and getting kids turned on to reading and excited about it," Ramsey said.
This year she created an after-school book club for third, fourth and fifth grade students. Approximately 30 to 35 students meet every other month to discuss a book they all read the previous month.
Every student is assigned a particular duty such as summarizer, travel-tracer and passage-picker so everyone can participate and so everyone really reads the book.
Ramsey said the club meets every other month because she wants reading to be fun rather than added pressure to teacher-assigned homework.
For first graders, Ramsey organized "Lunch Buddies" - a program where students meet during lunch and talk about the basics of a grade-level book while eating their meal.
Ramsey also handles teacher requests for audio-visual equipment.
"I'm kind of the technology go-to person," Ramsey said.
Even though Ramsey has been out of the classroom for three years, she still teaches.
She said in Canada they call media specialists "teacher-librarians," and she prefers the term.
"I still feel like my job is to teach and support what is going on in the classrooms," Ramsey said. "The library is an extension of the classroom."
Teachers bringing their students into the library fill out a form notifying Ramsey what classroom concept they want her to reinforce during library time.
Last week she worked with second graders on the skill of drawing conclusions, and her lessons occurred at the turn of each page.
"I'm a teacher not only for students, but for teachers because I do professional development as well," Ramsey said.
Juggling the many different roles of a school media specialist is sometimes a challenge for Ramsey, but she said it means she never experiences a dull day at work.
"Sometimes there's a perception that librarians don't do anything and just sit at the desk all day," Ramsey said, "and it's hard to change that perception."
Ramsey is grateful for her clerk who keeps her from having to check out the 500 to 700 books circulated through the library each day when she has to lead Lunch Buddies, plan for the after-school book club and fill audio-visual orders for teachers.
She also appreciates being chosen as Oak Hill's 2008 teacher of the year.
"It's an honor to know that people think you're doing a good job," Ramsey said.
She said receiving cards from students is wonderful, but being recognized by her colleagues as a teacher and as an exceptional one is even better.
However, she said the students will always be the best part about her job.
"They're just so neat when they tell you about their weekend or a book they're reading," Ramsey said. "That's why I'm so lucky - I get to spend my day with kids."