Liberty Middle School media specialist Ryan Cannon is Newton County School System’s (NCSS) 2017 Media Specialist of the Year. The Library Media Specialist of the Year Award recognizes individual excellence in the library media field through service to students, teachers, and community at the K-12 levels. Cannon will now represent Newton County Schools in the South Metro District Library Media Specialist of the Year competition, part of the Georgia Library Media Specialist of the Year program.
Cannon, Datha Curtis, media specialist at Newton College and Career Academy; Jennifer Cole, media specialist for Fairview Elementary; and Beth Bryan, Eastside High School media specialist, were this year’s finalists for the district award.
“I am truly honored and humbled by my nomination and winning of this special award,” said Cannon. “It is an honor that I will hold on to for the rest of my life. I am truly thankful to all of my peers that nominated me for this award. I am honored to even be in the same category of excellence as Datha Curtis, Jennifer Cole and Beth Bryan. It is a privilege and an honor that I won’t soon forget.”
Cannon’s essay and application packet will now be reviewed by the GLMA South Metro District selection committee, who will select a winner based on the following criteria:
- Philosophy, vision, and /or mission for media program;
- Evidence of collaborative partnerships that positively impact teachers and students;
- Evidence that library media specialist promotes a culture of reading through programs and/or promotions;
- Incorporation of education technology into the library media program is evident with clear examples;
- Involving other instructional leaders in the development and implementation of a shared vision for the library media program;
- Development of research skills in students through practice, instruction, and/or resources;
- Learning environment in the library media center supports instruction, collaboration, and is tailored to the needs of the students; and,
- Participation in professional development and contributions to the larger community of library media specialists.
Mr. Cannon holds a master’s degree in media instructional technology with an emphasis in school library media and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and journalism, from the University of West Georgia. He began his career with Newton County School System in 2006 as the media specialist at Clements Middle School and transferred to the same position at Liberty Middle School in 2009.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in mass communications and journalism, Cannon said he began investigating post graduate programs that would combine his two passions—reading and working with technology.
“I discovered that a career in media services would allow me to combine my enjoyment for reading, my desire to help others and my love for technology into the perfect job for me,” he explained. “I began my master’s degree program in media instructional technology with an emphasis in school library media at the University of West Georgia, and from the start I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life. In the ten years since I began this profession, I have seen hundreds if not thousands of lives changed, by the work of my hands. The impact that I have on my students has become the vehicle that drives me to be the best media specialist that I can be for the Newton County School System.”
According to Cannon, the school media specialist plays an important role that truly affects student achievement.
“A library media specialist has one of the most important roles of any educator in the building,” said Cannon. “Our position ensures that teachers have the training and resources that they need to be effective. Our ability to troubleshoot technology guarantees that hindrances in student learning are minimalized due to technical issues. Our flexible schedules give our students the ability to work at their own pace. Our friendly learning commons create an atmosphere that is welcoming….and our position as instructors teach students real-world applications, such as: conducting in-depth research, finding credible websites, discovering available scholarships, assisting students with reading deficiencies, and encouraging each child to develop their love for reading. Having the ability to wear and change multiple hats at any given moment affirms the fact that we play a vital role in every aspect of the overall success of our students.”
Cannon added, “I believe that the most important aspect of my job is being a servant to others. Without the students, I am just a man in a room full of resources. During my tenure as a media specialist, I have grown into the role of being the ‘go-to’ person in our school. These days it is extremely rare that I go a day or so without hearing, ‘Go ask Mr. Cannon.’”
“Liberty Middle School is excited to be the home of Newton County’s Media Specialist of the Year,” said Keisa Taylor, principal of Liberty Middle School. “Mr. Cannon is an integral part of our school culture and leadership team. Not only does he understand books and have an exceptional framework for instructional technology, he also has the unique ability to build relationships with our students, parents and staff. He has made the media center the learning hub of the building, where children can read, research and enhance their leadership skills. We know he will continue to utilize his innate talents for the betterment of Liberty’s students.”
“Mr. Cannon is a hard worker and great employee,” said Dr. Craig Lockhart, deputy superintendent for Newton County School System. “He upholds the mission of the media center program in our district, and he is a loyal, supportive colleague. We congratulate Mr. Cannon for being recognized by his peers as the 2017 Media Specialist of the Year.”