Mini Regional Leaders Academy for PA School Librarians

Emerging Leaders
Sustaining Leaders

Regional Leaders

Mini Regional Leaders

Developing Leaders (18-19)

Aspiring Association Leaders (18-19)

Revitalizing Leaders (18-19)

Mini Regional Leaders Academy for PA School Librarians Overview 

The Mini Regional Leaders Academy (MRLA), the fifth prototype collaboration between the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA) and the University of Pittsburgh School Library Certification Program (SLCP) has been sustained and is funded through a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) by Commonwealth Libraries, Pennsylvania Department of Education.

MRLA is an innovative, immersive professional development experience designed to strengthen and support librarians in PA schools and in PSLA, to assure that all Pennsylvania students will have strong and effective school library programs led by librarians who are leaders in their schools and their geographic regions, as well as in their professional associations. Participants are charged with spreading awareness among stakeholders of the essential role school libraries play in K-12 student learning and achievement.

MRLA is based on the successful models of the Emerging, Sustaining, and Regional Leaders Academies. MRLA participants will lead in implementing the PA School Library Communicators Network across three PA regions (East, Central, and West) encompassing nine PA geographic districts, 29 Intermediate Units, 67 counties, and 500 school districts. These leaders will be key in carrying out the grant’s mission of Connect, Communicate, and Create Community among the school librarians of Pennsylvania.

Participants--selected competitively from a robust pool of applicants from across Pennsylvania—will learn from a team of like-minded, energetic, and experienced mentors to vitalize the leadership, communication, interpersonal, and presentation competencies they need to sustain working relationships in changing school environments with multiple constituencies with differing priorities.

MRLA Leaders will:

  • Consult with their mentors to conduct their own Self-Assessments and plan Personalized Learning Experiences (PLE) to carry out in their libraries during the 2018-19 school year; 
  • Participate in the three-day Leadership Immersion Experience on June 19-20-21, 2018, in Chambersburg, PA. 
  • Participate in the three-day PLE Application Experience and in the PSLA Summit on July 10-11- 12, 2018, in Hershey, PA. 
  • Participate in the MRLA Virtual Academy, a series of four competency-refining experiences offered through interactive video conferencing provided by the University of Pittsburgh from May through September 2018.

School librarians can lead from the middle as effective “teacher leaders” within their schools and their districts and serve as leaders in their professional associations as well. Most importantly, they can speak as part of this education community for the right of all PA students to have access to an effective school library program to help them meet PA Core Standards and succeed academically. Pennsylvania needs school library leaders who can accomplish all three challenges.

What’s the model for the Mini Regional Leaders Academy? 

The four highly successful Leadership Academies in which 95 PA school librarians participated between 2017 and 2018: 

Emerging Leaders Academies of 2014-15 and 2015-16, in which 44 librarians new to the profession built their leadership and presentation skills. 

Sustaining Leaders Academy of 2016-17, in which 23 experienced librarians rejuvenated their leadership skill set and developed and carried out a Personalized Learning Experience. 

Regional Leaders Academy of 2017-18, in which 28 new and experienced librarians focused on enhancing their leadership skills and helped to develop the PA School Library Communicators Network. 

Participants in the Leaders Academies agree that participating helped them build confidence, assume leadership roles, and affirm their value in helping students succeed. 


Who are the 2018 Mini Regional Leaders Academy Participants? 

Megan Arayos Sarah Beckman Sharon Breeden
Robin Burns Janice Conger Amy Crider
Sarah DeMaria Leslie deVries Christy Hay
Kathleen Butler Hays Samantha Helwig Angelia Holmes
Courtney Hugo Jennifer Koishal Donna Lamont
Caitlin Linsenmann Arica Monsell Jacquelyn Neely
Ashley Pekelnicky Cindy Rizzolino Catherine Scholl
Jennifer Wentling Heather White  

What organizations sponsor the Mini Regional Leaders Academy? 

The Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA) and the University of Pittsburgh School Library Certification Program have sponsored leadership academies for PA school librarians since 2014. 

What funding supports the Mini Regional Leaders Academy? 

A competitive Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant from Commonwealth Libraries of the PA Department of Education.