Ed.D. Student Serving as a Leader in Digital Learning, Published in National School Librarian Journal Student Profile
Sturge's article "Library Leadership: A Seat at the Table," was recently published in Knowledge Quest, a journal of the American Association of School Librarians.
Meet Jennifer Sturge
- Job Title & Employer
- Specialist for School Libraries and Digital Learning, Calvert County Public Schools
- Leadership and Administration-Ed.D.
- Prince Frederick, Md.
- High School
- Calvert High School
- Now Living In
- Port Republic, Md.
- Hobbies & Interests
Teaching indoor cycling, jogging, reading, walking on the beach and spending time with family
"I chose Point Park because after an exhaustive search, I realized that the University's Ed.D. in leadership and administration program was the perfect fit for me as a busy professional, mother and wife ... All of the faculty and classes have prepared me to take on a stronger role in what I do every day. Because I felt more confident, I ran for national office with the American Association of School Librarians and am now serving as the president of our Maryland Association of School Librarians."
As an educator and librarian in Maryland, what factors made you choose Point Park University?
As an educator and librarian, I am always looking to grow in my position. Being a librarian, when I have an information need, I start with research. I researched many different options before choosing Point Park University. I chose Point Park because after an exhaustive search, I realized that the University's Ed.D. in leadership and administration program was the perfect fit for me as a busy professional, mother and wife.
Some of the factors that moved my decision forward included the pricing of the program and the flexibility of having an online program with optional face-to-face seminars that could also be taken online. Another reason that I chose Point Park pertains to what I read about the School of Education professors. They are educators in the trenches — superintendents and principals — living what they are teaching. This is proving to be invaluable as I move forward in my coursework.
Also, I am one of those people who jumps in with two feet into just about everything I do so knowing that the coursework would be coming every eight weeks and being able to see my pathway in the two-year cohort from the beginning was a bonus.
Tell us about the work you are doing in the area of school librarian programming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our district went to remote learning on March 14, 2020. As the person who coordinates the school library program, the first order of business was to look at how our school librarians could shift gears and support teachers and students remotely. A team of elementary librarians worked together to create a series of engaging lessons for our students in Kindergarten through fifth grade which could be done online and were designed to keep them reading and using our virtual library resources. School librarians acted as mentors to struggling students. We offered office hours for help and provided online resources to our district.
Our elementary, middle and high school librarians shifted to providing professional development to the classroom teachers and support to students with our online classrooms. The school librarians also became involved with our Office of Digital Learning — with classroom teachers clamoring to learn new skills — we were able to provide webinars on our library databases, tools that could be used virtually, and best practices for teaching and learning online. We also partnered heavily with the public library by leading collaborative webinars for parents on resources they could use from the public library to support their children.
As the spring moved forward, our school librarians worked on creating new virtual platforms that could support our teachers and students over the summer and the fall. We created these in the form of Libguides.
Finally, in my opinion, the most important thing that happened in regard to our school librarians and my work as a librarian, is that we were leaders in moving our remote learning forward. We met on leaderships teams and with administrators to devise a plan to bring virtual resources and learning about virtual resources to our teachers. And, I led that charge!
How have our School of Education faculty and Ed.D. classes impacted you?
All of the faculty and classes have prepared me to take on a stronger role in what I do every day. Because I felt more confident, I ran for national office with the American Association of School Librarians and am now serving as the president of our Maryland Association of School Librarians.
I never would have had the preparation or ideas to do this without the Ed.D. program, faculty and courses. One of the best ways I have been impacted by Point Park University and the classes and faculty is that I've been able to think about leadership and translate those thoughts into blog posts for the American Association of School Librarians.
What is your favorite Ed.D. class so far and why?
So far, my favorite class has been Cultivating Ethical Diversity. I work with school librarians and one of the things we are really committed to is cultivating diverse collections that represent all of our students and school community. I learned so much from this class that I could take back to my daily work. Of course, I have enjoyed every single one of the classes so I feel like this question is sort of hard … making me choose just one!
What does being a Total Leader mean to you?
Being a Total Leader means being someone who is willing to step in, step out of their comfort zone and make lasting change. A Total Leader means always learning, always improving and always being willing to recalculate and admit when you’ve made a mistake. A Total Leader is 100% committed to success for those they work with, as well as with themselves and the community.