Meridith Saffelder, sponsored by Deborah Wooten
I am glad to introduce Meridith Saffelder as a new member of the Children’s Literature Assembly. Meridith is an avid reader, a divergent thinker, and lifelong fan of children’s literature. She noted, “I was raised on Aesop’s Fables, The American Girl series, The Chronicles of Narnia, thanks to my mother who cared enough about my imagination to spend her evenings after a hard day at work reading to me.” Meridith, as an adult, is beginning her career teaching English in the secondary school environment after obtaining her Master’s Degree in Education through the University of Tennessee’s five-year teacher training program. Her goal as a teacher is to “do everything within [her] power to promote reading in the classroom and outside of school. Whether they are reading children’s picture books, graphic novels, or young adult literature, my classroom is going to be a place where reading is as fun as it is essential.” In addition to passing down the legacy her mother gave her in the classroom, Meridith plans to pass the tradition on to her 5-year-old daughter: “When she was just a baby, I’d read Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats aloud to her; I plan to keep reading to her as long as she’ll let me!” Please join me in welcoming Meridith as a new member to CLA!
Jone MacCulloch, sponsored by Mary Lee Hahn
I am thrilled to welcome Jone MacCulloch as a new member of the Children’s Literature Assembly. Jone writes: As a child I begged to hear fairytales and Bible stories. I numbered my book collection to organize them. I didn’t understand at the time but this was first portent of my calling to be an elementary school library media specialist. Once I learned to read and could master the bicycle, the public library was my favorite destination.
I followed in the steps of my grandmother, aunt, and father by attending college and getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. My passion grew for teaching reading, writing, and research to fourth and fifth graders in my early years of teaching. The day I discovered that I could get my Master’s Degree with an emphasis in school library media was a life-changing event. Teach in the library and teach my favorite topics? I never looked back.
As a K-5 library media specialist at Silver Star Elementary School, I teach twenty-one classes a week. I am also responsible for collection development (think getting to buy books for the library), supporting teachers with their curriculum, along with promoting reading. At lunch, I host a poetry workshop for second and third graders. Student poems have appeared at my “Check It Out” blog. Students also send poetry postcards to recipients throughout the world for National Poetry Month. This is our fifth year for this project.
I am currently the chairperson of the poetry category of the CYBILS Award. I am a member of the Haiku Society of America.