School librarian goes beyond just books

Friday, December 22, 2017

If you watched Channel 2 last week you might have seen some familiar faces.

Sara McAdams from Westhills Elementary was named Educator of the Week. Sponsored by News 2 and the Tennessee Lottery, Educator of the Week profiles outstanding educators in Tennessee.

“There’s no other place I’d rather be,” McAdams said. She envisioned herself becoming a teacher when she was just in the fourth grade.

“I knew I didn’t want to do anything else but teach,” she said.

She grew up right here in Marshall County and graduated from Cornersville High School. She attended Columbia State Community College before transferring to Middle Tennessee State University where she earned her master’s degree with a focus in library science. The 34-year-old mother of three has been teaching for 10 years. It’s people like McAdams that give the definition of a librarian a whole new meaning.

According to students, McAdams strives to encourage them to always do their best. One student said, “she is meant to do this job.”

Peers and students readily agree that she works hard to redefine people’s definition of a teacher by devoting so much time to her students and working with them one-on-one. To others, McAdams puts her heart into teaching.

Not only is she the librarian of Westhills Elementary School, but she helps with other things than just the library.

A typical day for McAdams starts off by having a fifth gifted grade class known as STEPS, which stands for Students Thinking Explaining Practicing Sharing. The program was Minds In Motion, but McAdams helped change the name.

According to her, the purpose of this class is “for students to learn things here that are enriching for them, but when they go back to their home classrooms, they can elaborate and feed on discussion. We lovingly call it nerd-tribe time.”

That enrichment time is not limited to spending time in the library. McAdams uses hands on projects to enhance the students learning.

Right outside the walls of the library, McAdams and her students hang an art project dedicated to the Charlottesville tragedy.

“My students were very upset. They said they don’t like how our country is so divided, so we made this,” she said.

Recently, she wrote a grant with the help of several of her STEPS students to Whole Foods for a public garden.

“I think it’s important to invest wherever you are,” she says.

The grant awarded $2000 to make the vision come to life. The garden area unites all of the kids together to learn about the environment by providing this hands-on experience. McAdams says, “The kids absolutely love it.”

This librarian continues to ensure the success of all of her students. She even has former students visit regularly and keep in touch.

“I think it’s pretty awesome,” McAdams said reminiscing about her past encounters with her students.

According to her, her job is very rewarding in many aspects. It’s very clear she adores her job as well as her students from her actions. She plans to continue teaching in the years to come.

“I really do love my job. This is such a good fit for me personally,” she said enthusiastically.

Last week, Channel 2 just recognized what anyone familiar with Westhills already knew.