Meet your new board members!
Ashlee Cornett has been an educator for 18 years, with 14 of those being served in a media center. She has been both an elementary and middle school media specialist, at three schools in Osceola County. Locally, she has served as Vice President and President of the Osceola County School Librarians’ Association (OCSLA), and as Chair of the district Battle of the Books, 5k fundraiser Running of the Books, and presented professional development on multiple occasions. Additionally, she facilitated summer professional development for the FLDOE in preparation for the rollout of the Next Generation Florida State Standards. In 2016, she was chosen the Osceola County Secondary Media Specialist of the Year!
After joining FAME in 2005, Ashlee has served on various committees and held a variety of leadership roles. Her current role is as Conference Co-Chair for FAME 19 this fall. She also served as Conference Chair for FAME 16, and on the conference committee for FAME 14 & 15. Ashlee served as the Secretary of the FAME Board of Directors from 2016-2018. Another significant contribution Ashlee has made is to the SSYRA Committee. She served as a member for 3 years, from 2014-2017, then as co-chair of the SSYRA Committee from 2017-2019. Additionally, she was on the Professional Development Committee for two years.
Some of Ashlee’s professional goals and values include building relationships and advocacy. In this past year, she has hosted Senator Victor Torres of the Florida Senate, Superintendent Debra Pace, Osceola County Commissioners Hawkins and Janer, and other community guests at library events. Her future goals include collaborative events with other schools, both in person and virtually. Ashlee believes that our best work is done in partnership with other professionals, organizations and community members in order to enhance the results for our students and communities.
Board of Directors Region 1
I have been an educator for fourteen years. I was an English teacher first, but I turned in my red pen to take on the role of technology coordinator. Next, I turned in my dongle to take on the role of media specialist, only to realize that I may still need both tools in my educational arsenal. For the past four years, I have been the media specialist at Warrington Middle School in Pensacola, which has decidedly been my favorite role as an educator. FAME’s network and resources have been instrumental in preparing me for this role and continue to inspire and educate me as part of my PLN. Currently, I serve on the FAME Membership Committee and was appointed to the FAME Board of Directors as a Member At Large in 2018. I attend the FAME conference every year and my conference session about preserving oral histories in the digital age with StoryCorps in the Classroom was highlighted on AASL’s journal Knowledge Quest. Also, I recently finished my three-year term on the SSYRA 6-8 selection committee. My contributions to the SSYRA presentations at the FAME conference sessions include showcasing low-budget reading incentives and literacy-related STEM activities. I continue to promote the SSYRA program and foster a love of reading through my position with Youth Services at my public library.
I love sharing and learning from my network of peers, and as a member of ALA, I attend both the midwinter and annual conferences. I serve on my district’s Battle of the Books committee and am a member of my local organization, the Escambia County School Library Association. ECSLA honored me with the Dr. Paula Gleason Librarian of the Year Award for Escambia County this year. I graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs and Creative Writing and am about to embark on my next journey to obtain my Master’s degree in Library Science.
Combining my passion for writing and education, I have channeled my talents into grant writing as all district school media centers were renamed innovation centers. With this rebranding, there was a strong push for makerspaces, which required additional funding. Being new to the school and the position, my goal was to develop makerspace opportunities that would build a community of student innovators while still maintaining a culture of reading at my Title 1 school. Since the inception of the innovation center, my makerspace has grown tremendously through the funding of six grants. With these funds, I was able to do the following: install MinecraftEDU and create a Minecraft club for students; purchase MakeDo kits and hold an annual Upcyclothon and student showcase; add robotics as well as AR/VR kits for a gifted library elective in development; incorporate stationary bikes as part of a Read & Ride program and fine forgiveness initiative, and build a StoryLab in the innovation center where students write, record, edit, and share interviews with members of the school and community with StoryCorps. All interviews are archived at the Library of Congress. I have shared the successes of my grant programs by presenting at PLAN’s (regional library network) annual meeting about my Minecraft club, writing articles for the PLAN blog about Read & Ride and StoryCorps, presenting at the 2018 FAME Conference about my work with StoryCorps in the Classroom, and discussing my Read & Ride program on the WEAR Channel 3 Pay It Forward segment.
I attended the Future Ready Schools Institute and Scholastic Reading Summit last school year and have expanded my outreach by forming instructional partnerships with classroom teachers across the curriculum. I have provided a collaborative space for students to create and connect through the addition of a makerspace. Literacy is still a strong focus as I hold several book clubs and author Skype sessions throughout the year. I pair books with STEM activities often because literacy is still the root of all learning. My vision for FAME is that we continue to prepare and support media specialists in their leadership of fostering future ready libraries with thriving reading cultures.
The school library should be a dynamic space where students feel safe enough to have failures and successes--a place where students can struggle or shine but both share in the joy of learning. I have always tried to make my classroom or library a place where I as a student would want to be. I would offer the same attitude and willingness as a leader in FAME. In a profession where you not only have to advocate for resources and representation but relevance itself, our successes rely on the strength of FAME’s peer support and advocacy network. Thank you for consideration for the FAME Board of Directors, and I hope to continue to serve this organization for many years to come.
Board of Directions Region 2
David Richards is the Media Specialist at Ponte Vedra High School, St. Johns County. This year will be his 4th year as a Media Specialist and his 20th year in education. Prior to serving as a Media specialist, he taught middle grades Language Arts in Texas, New Jersey, South Carolina and Florida. David was recommended for this change in career path by his mentors, Lou Greco and Lorraine Cosgrove. He loves his new position as it involves promoting reading, technology and collaboration with administration, faculty and of course his students. David's mission as an educator is to help ALL students succeed. David, his wife Gwen and two daughters, Grace and Maya, enjoy spending their limited spare time at the beach in beautiful NE Florida. Their goal this summer is to visit more amazing Florida beaches. Thank you for considering him for this opportunity.
Board of Directors Region 4
Diane Austin has been a teacher, supporter, and mentor in the field for decades. She is a long term Instructor with the University of South Florida School of information, specializing in media and education in the Masters of Library and Information Science program. She has helped future and current school media specialists and youth services librarians in reaching their full potential as information, media, literacy, and teaching professionals. Through years of administrative responsibilities as the School’s Distance Learning Technology Specialist and ultimately Assistant/Associate Director, she brings a unique perspective to FAME beyond her teaching, as she’s actively served as a liaison between the School and the many school districts, media supervisors, and media specialists in Florida. She’s been teaching technology and curriculum courses for two decades. Through her teaching and her PhD studies in Education, she has been involved in research and applications of instructional media, digital storytelling, web design, reading motivation with eBooks, makerspaces, distance learning, ePortfolios, and other professional development areas. Highlighting her active participation in University and community service, she most recently served on the FAME Sandy Ulm Scholarship Committee and actively supported former FAME President Dr. Cora P. Dunkley and the FAME organization in various administrative and conference needs. She believes in creative thinking, the power of media and teaching, and future of school media specialists, youth services librarians, and our children and teens.
Board of Directors Region 5
Diana Haneski, the Media Specialist at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is known for her enthusiasm, energy and willingness to help students and teachers find the books they want to read, and information and technology they need. As a library teacher for 21 years, Haneski holds National Board Certification in Library Media, a Masters of Science in Information Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Speech and Theatre.
Diana Haneski was awarded the distinction of a Florida Power Library School while in her current position at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She believes more than ever to speak up and be an advocate for students and library media centers in her latest role as a reluctant activist.
Mrs. Haneski has presented at conferences and has trained her colleagues in Broward for two decades.
Board of Directors at large
When I received my Master’s of Library Science degree from Florida State I knew I wanted to be a children’s librarian. After 2 years in the public library but still not in the children’s department, I started to realize that school librarianship was where I was meant to be and didn’t hesitate to jump at the chance to join this amazing world! I have been a media specialist in Orange County for 8 years. I have been a member of FAME and my local organization OCAEM since becoming a media specialist because I believe that being a part of professional organizations makes us better librarians through the support received and ideas shared. With FAME I have been the awards chair for 2 years and with OCAEM I have been the scholarship chair for a year and next year I will serve as the president elect. If selected for the board of directors at large position I will support the president in her mission and provide support and advocacy for the organization. I love what we do and I feel we have the best job in the school because we are able to make a positive impact on all stakeholders in the school and the community. I am excited about the future and all of the ways we can impact our media centers and our students. I look forward to serving you to continue the amazing work of FAME for all media specialist across the state.
Committee on Nominations
Carrie Friday is the Media Specialist at Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay, Florida and a 2018-2019 Brevard Public Schools Teacher of the Year Finalist. She isn't afraid to take risks and will do just about anything to encourage the love of literacy in students and teachers. She is one of the co-founders of the #swms20bookchallenge and a total YA author fangirl. She is a chapter leader of her school Project Lit Community chapter and a committee member for the SSYRA 6-8 selection committee. She is also a 2019 Follett Challenge People’s Choice winner. She believes in innovation, collaboration, and the power of really good books.
She is also a wife to a Rocket Scientist and a mom to the sweetest two girls you'll ever meet. She loves Gilmore Girls, Pinterest, coffee, and porch swings. She is a proud graduate of Auburn University. War Eagle!
Mitzi Mack serves as a media specialist for a local magnet middle school in the School District of Hillsborough County. In this role, Mitzi collaborates, leads, coordinates and develops a plan for successful integration of technology, curriculum and literature.
Mitzi is an accomplished teacher/curriculum specialist for 24 years and currently serves as Parliamentarian for a local sorority chapter. For the last three years, Mitzi has acted as a Teacher Advisor for Scholastic Teacher Magazine and Classroom Inc., as well as, a Book Reviewer for Corwin Publishing company. In previous years, Mitzi sat on the board of the Manatee Community Action Agency as a liaison for the School Board of Manatee advocating for issues regarding Pre-K and literacy.
Though often buried in a book, Mitzi is also a community conscious volunteer that feeds her passion and drive by helping others and participating in continuing education courses at the local university.
Committee on Nominations-Alternate
Toni Lipscher is an Elementary Media Specialist at Marsh Pointe Elementary in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Last year, she and her staff won the prestigious Florida Power-Library School Award. Mrs. Lipscher has been teaching for 18 years. She has taught Language Arts in 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th grades as well as 2nd Grade in Elementary School. Mrs. Lipscher is Parliamentarian of her local association, Educational Media Association (EMA). In addition, Mrs. Lipscher is a Trailblazer and Certified Google Educator in Palm Beach County.