February 17, 2018

Melissa Johnston | Movers & Shakers 2007

Flipping the Switch


A mother once told media specialist Melissa Johnston that when she got her son excited about a book, ‘it was like a switch was flipped.’ Turning kids into avid readers isn’t the only switch she’s flipped. Johnston has convinced the faculty and administration in her schools that she is not only a librarian but a colleague who makes them more effective teachers. Her previous school even named her Teacher of the Year.

At her two most recent Georgia elementary schools, Johnston worked on the curriculum committee and made herself a ‘curriculum expert.’ She helped teachers improve students’ test scores by using test data to match her program to students’ areas of weakness. Johnston believes in literacy skills and assessing students’ learning. Then, she says, ‘When budget time comes, you have data to show what a difference you can make in student academic achievement.’

Johnston is working double-time to convince legislators that media specialists are teachers whose programs should be funded as classroom instruction. She participates in Georgia Library Media Association and AASL’s lobbying efforts every year, speaks at Library Legislation Day, and visits legislative offices. She says, ‘Our governor gets at least one email a week from me!’

If anyone is going to flip the politicians’ switch, you can bet it will be Melissa Johnston.




CURRENT POSITION Media Specialist, Silver City Elementary, Cumming, GA

DEGREES M.Ed, instructional technology, University of Georgia, 1993

HONORS 2006 Georgia Media Specialist of the Year; Georgia DOE Exemplary Elementary Media Program winner, 2006; regional director, American Association of School Librarians (AASL)

TEAM TO BEAT Georgia Bulldogs