June 18, 2018

Kristina A. Holzweiss | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Educators

Kristina A. Holzweiss


School Library Media Specialist, Bay Shore Middle School, NY


MLIS, Long Island University, 2004


The star tattoo on her right hand is in memory of her late sister, Laryssa, an artist and avid reader. “Whenever I make something, my sister’s spirit guides me.”


@lieberrian on Twitter; Long Island LEADS; Students of Long Island Maker Expo (SLIME); Bun Head with Duct Tape

Photo by Douglas Gritzmacher


LEADing the Way

Being named School Library Journal’s 2015 School Librarian of the Year could be considered the crowning achievement of any school librarian’s career. But Kristina Holzweiss is not one to rest on her laurels. If anything, that honor only heralded more inventive and far-reaching initiatives.

Holzweiss started her career as a seventh grade English teacher before deciding to segue into the school library to be able to “integrate technology with reading.” Since then, her knack for seamlessly weaving tech into teaching has been put to use powerfully, perhaps most famously with her 2015 brainchild, SLIME (Students of Long Island Maker Expo). The annual event now draws upward of 800 students, parents, educators, and administrators from dozens of school districts on New York’s Long Island and in Connecticut and New Jersey, as well as museum directors and librarians. There, you might see a student promoting her first book, alongside robotics club members displaying their gadgets, across from a “pitchfest” at which student teams compete for funding for their favorite charities.

Her newest creation is Long Island LEADS, a nonprofit that promotes learning with tech across multiple disciplines. Holzweiss and husband Michael established LI LEADS after she participated in the National Week of Making, sponsored by the Nation of Makers in Washington, DC, in 2016. “We [decided we] wanted to support the Nation of Makers as a nonprofit rather than as individuals.”

Holzweiss credits Michael for motivating her. “He exemplifies combining education with experience, using his mind and his hands to solve problems.”

In October 2017, at the first LI LEADS Maker Town Hall, local stakeholders dissected why the movement matters to businesses and the community. Holzweiss, who has written or coauthored eight Maker space books for kids, aims to keep those conversations going. “[I want] to connect these various entities to improve education and, ultimately, the economy, so that all our kids will be able to start their own families on Long Island,” explains Holzweiss. (Long Island is the second most expensive place in the United States to raise a family, according to 2015 calculations by the Economic Policy Institute.)

Anne Lundy, a K–12 library media specialist in Malverne, NY, and one of Holzweiss’s nominators, sums up her abilities: “Kristina has [a] passion to share. She [can] come up with an out-of-the-box idea and then bring people in to add to it. Her idea becomes everybody’s idea.”

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Maker Workshop
In this two-week online course, you’ll create a maker program that aligns with your budget and community needs, with personal coaching from maker experts—from libraries and beyond—May 23 & June 6, 2018.


  1. V. Falkowski says:

    I have seen firsthand the time & energy that she puts into this project. Her mind is always thinking what she can do next & better to encourage children of all ages. She wants them to use their minds & resorces to think & drean “out of the box”. With all the technology that is available to them, the sky is not their limit. Great job as always.

  2. Erin Marome says:

    The first time I met Kristina (about five years ago)—she was sharing a few new tech tools she was using. What is amazing about Kristina, is her movement is about empowering others-sharing and motivating. Way to go Kristina!

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