South Metro Library Media Specialist of the Year

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

For Woodland High School Media Specialist Kathy Thompson, showing up to work every day is never boring.

“The students and staff at Woodland are wonderful,” she said. “Being a media specialist, every day is never the same. It just makes your day go fast. I never know what’s going to walk through the door.”

L. to r.: Superintendent Rodney Bowler, Kathy Thompson, and Dr. Shannon Ellis Special photo

Thompson was recently named the 2017 South Metro Library Media Specialist of the Year, after winning the same designation at the district level. She has worked as a media specialist for 11 years, having done so at Woodland High since the school’s opening 10 years ago.

Thompson said she was “very honored” to receive the regional award and that she strives to make trips to the media center as beneficial as possible for students.

“I help the students with research every day, and I collaborate with the teachers,” said Thompson. “I just try to make the media center a cool place to come and try to teach them to love to read.

“I work one-on-one with them on projects and teach them how to use Galileo for research purposes, while also working with classes on research projects and teaching lessons the teachers and I collaborate on when it is scheduled each month,” she continued. “There are also displays made for books that I think the students will like to read and books are ordered when requests are made. I like to have contests from time to time in the media center to show off books and get their attention.”

Thompson obtained her Master’s and Education Specialist degrees at the University of West Georgia. Being a media specialist, she said, was not her initial goal.

“My first degree was in biology and chemistry, and I worked in a lab,” she said. “I stayed at home with my children for about 15 years and volunteered at the library, and fell in love with it.”

The South Metro Georgia District is one of 10 districts in the state. The Georgia Library Media Association) and Georgia Association of Instructional Technology co-sponsor the Georgia School Library Media Specialist of the Year award, which recognizes library media specialists across all grade levels for creating and fostering outstanding library media programs.

Thompson’s peers recommended her for her dedication and diligence at Woodland High. Fellow media specialist Leslie Wantland said Thompson’s media center is a hub of positive activity for the school.

“The media center is always filled with students who need her help or who just want to sit and read in the wonderful learning environment she has created,” said Wantland. “She sets high expectations for her students, and she works with her staff to ensure they have resources to help their students succeed.”

Thompson’s principal, Dr. Shannon Ellis, said the media specialist has made a positive impact on students because of her desire to help students grow academically.

“Kathy manages an incredibly busy environment that requires extreme flexibility and the ability to teach ‘on the fly,’” said Ellis. “Her calm demeanor and willingness to pitch in resulted in her teaching multiple research classes that the students look forward to. Her older students often approach her for research help, recognizing her genuine interest in their reading interests and information needs.”

Thompson will be recognized for her latest accomplishments during the school system’s annual Harvest of Heroes event in October.

For more information, visit