Passage Middle School Principal named Virginia Administrator of the Year by Virginia Association of School Librarians

Posted: January 15, 2019

Janelle Spitz, principal of Passage Middle School, was named Virginia Administrator of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL) during its annual awards banquet in November. The award is bestowed to an administrator for supporting the development of an exemplary school library program and for making an outstanding and sustained contribution advancing the role of the school library program as an agency for the improvement of education.

Spitz has positioned Passage Middle School's library as an integral component of the school's literacy program which champions inquiry, reading advocacy and literacy through making. She is a strong advocate for her school library and its librarian, Patrice Lambusta. One of her notable accomplishments is the development of a makerspace. Spitz researched makerspace concepts and how they enhance learning through creativity and choice. Spitz and Lambusta worked together to design the space and incorporate some of Lambusta's ideas including an 80"x 80" LEGO Wall. Spitz also created a magnetized Scrabble board for students to play while they wait to check out books.

"As a reading advocate, Ms. Spitz models reading for pleasure by sharing new books she has read or plans to read on the school-wide morning announcements," said Mary Keeling, Library Media Services Supervisor for Newport News Public Schools. She also supported and helped plan a One Book/One School program initiated by Lambusta.