Maryland Flag with banner that reads Maryland School Librarian of the Year

Maryland School Librarian of the Year Award

2019 Maryland School Librarian of the Year: Irene Allaire

Ocean City, May 3, 2019 –



Maryland Association of School Librarians (MASL) is pleased to announce therecipient for the 2018-19 Maryland School Librarian of the Year award which honors a school librarian for exemplary service and outstanding achievements in the field of school library media. The award announcement coincided with the Common Ground Conference in Ocean City, MD and was held at Holiday Inn on May 3, 2019.

The nominees were evaluated by a selection committee comprised of representatives from MASL, Maryland State Department of Education, McDaniel College, Towson University, and University of Maryland College Park based on the extent to which they exemplify the five roles (administrator, leader, information specialist, teacher, and instructional partner) of a library media specialist as set forth in AASL’s Standards for the 21st Century Learner. From these nominees, the five finalists below were chosen.
● Irene Allaire, Wilson Wims Elementary School, Montgomery County Public Schools
● Carmen Belanger, La Plata High School, Charles County Public Schools
● Joshua M. Burchett, Applications and Research Laboratory (ARL), Howard County Public Schools
● Kelli Welch, Southgate Elementary School, Anne Arundel County Public Schools
● Sally Cliff Wolfe, Sunderland Elementary School, Calvert County Public Schools


Irene Allaire has worked in education for 18 years, with the last 7 years being a media specialist and the first 11 years as a classroom teacher.

Currently she is the Media Specialist at Wilson Wims Elementary School, where she opened the school and built the media program from the ground up. She graduated from the University of Maryland College Park in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. In 2006, she graduated from Walden University with a master’s degree in Instructional Technology. Three years later in 2009, she graduated with a second master’s degree, this time in School Library Media Sciences from McDaniel University. She is an MCEA member and since becoming a Media Specialist in 2012, she has been a MASL and MCEMSA (Montgomery County Educational Media Specialists Association) member.

In 2013, she was elected the President of MCEMSA and currently serves as Membership Chair, Banquet Committee Co-chair, and Sunshine Committee Co-chair. Irene participated in several work groups including a SLMP work group with supervisors and coordinators in MCPS and a manga/anime workgroup with colleagues in elementary, middle, and high school.
As a classroom teacher and Media Specialist, she has held team leader positions and been a part of school leadership teams. She has presented at SLMP professional trainings and technology conferences, as well as co-taught credit courses to her MCPS colleagues. She has also trained classroom teachers on implementing the new NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) curriculum.
Throughout her career, Irene has advocated for the use technology to enhance learning and teaching. She won MCPS’ Best of the Web Award and recently, she became a Seesaw and BookCreator Ambassador. She shares her passion for books, technology, and learning with her staff and students every day. McDonald, MASL Awards Chair, shares an excerpt from Irene’s nomination packet: “In a field with so many talented professionals, what separates some from the rest lies in the intangibles. Irene not only exceeds expectations; she redefines them: From engaging students in more traditional ways such as curating read alouds by staff members in video format during the Black-Eyed Susan [voting] process [to] leveraging screencasting as a means to personalizing note-taking instruction back in their classroom. This use of tech allows her to directly support and connect to to the classroom where the collaboration between settings is both meaningful and authentic. Yet her work as described throughout [the nomination packet] is more than just a collection of excellent practices; rather, they are symbolic of what’s possible when anyone works to make vision a reality. It’s why an honor such as this one will be a multiplying factor in the media realm. Irene can help usher in a new belief in what our media specialists can add to the school experience. She can speak to what’s possible because she has made it so…and when there’s a belief that problems are merely challenges, what might have become a barrier evolves into a stepping stone towards a brighter path. And a path that Irene can lead us on together..”


A detailed description of the application process along with a complete list of all of the nominees, including their professional biographies, is available on the Maryland Association of School Librarians website. Visit for more information.


The general purpose of MASL is the improvement of teaching and learning in Maryland by bringing together individuals who are engaged in the field of school library media and information studies. MASL achieves the general purpose by working toward developing a lifelong love of reading among students in Maryland, developing skills and promoting excellence in print and nonprint media production among students in Maryland, promoting and providing for the professional development of its members. In addition, MASL encourages the dissemination and sharing of ideas, programs and materials among members through conferences, publications, and other media, and encourages the implementation of state and national standards and guidelines for school library media programs.
Thanks to the sponsors of the Maryland School Librarian of the Year Program!


Capstone Publishing

Capstone Publishing


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Follett Corporation


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