Sunday, November 20, 2016



This is what SHOCK looks like!

Part I
I love award shows.  Tonys.  Oscars.  ALA Youth Media. The red carpet.  The stars.  The performances.  Warhorses who win.  

I love surprises.  I didn’t want to know the sex of my children in utero. My maid of honor threw me a surprise shower three hours away from my home that completely shocked me but only after my soon-to-be husband almost became soon-to-not-be due to my incessant questioning, “Beth’s throwing me a shower, right?” and  “When’s my shower?”

So last night when I was crowned “Teacher of the Year” by the Schodack Faculty Association, it was the ultimate award show that threw ME for a complete surprise. Thank you for that.

BUT, unlike the awards, I was not aware that I was on the short list. Therefore, no crinkled thoughtful speech with a poem that would go viral like “Love is love is love” lifted from my lips.  Instead I can only hope that I was coherent and folks realized how appreciative I am of this incredible recognition.  If I had the chance to do it over I’d like to thank the academy…

Part II
...When I was little I didn’t dream of being a teacher or a librarian. In fact, my mom taught MS English and told me to never go into teaching.  I could respect her advice only for so long.  

One month before I turned 40, I received my Masters in Library Science and left my job of nine years at Planned Parenthood.  It was fun telling people that I was a sex educator turned librarian.  It kind of had a nice ring to it.  Little did I know that ring was more like a gong and that gong was LOUD.

I love my job.  I love when two boys who wanted their book to win the Newbery award so badly it hurt that when it did win they would grin with pride “Our book won! Our book won!” This happens all the time. Or when other boys would rather read or make a poster promoting their book than watch the Superbowl.

I love when a little first grader falls for a book so hard that she gives it 200 stars, spending the time to draw each one on the page.

I love that when I send fan letters to authors, time and time and time again, they respond in joy and don’t need an arm twisted to meet them “virtually” and sometimes even say, “Or would you prefer an in-school visit?” Duh!

I love that when I ask my classroom teachers if they want to welcome an author on a red carpet, they drop everything and do it.  They pretty much drop everything and do anything.  I don’t ask why I just know that they trust me and I love them more for just that.  

I love my job so much that my reading level doesn’t go past fifth grade.  I haven’t read an adult book in years.  When The Goldfinch first came out, a pair of sisters gave it to me as a gift.  Is that thoughtful or what? I’m embarrassed to say the hardcover is collecting dust.  #IMGLit

I love my students so much that I hold five book groups each summer.  Great excuse to get Starbucks or 16Handles, catch up and talk books.

I love my job.

Part III
If the title of “Teacher of the Year” would bring my name to the attention of some people, here are a few that I hope are on that short list.

Dear Carla Hayden:  Any chance you would like to go out for coffee?  I would love to chat with you about how you inspire me and make me so proud to be a librarian.

Dear President Obama:  If there is any national recognition for teachers of the year, I would love it to occur before January 20.  It would be my distinct honor to shake your hand and discuss what we’ve learned in the past eight years for we’ve both been in our jobs for about the same amount of time.

Dear Vivian Howard: After traveling all the way to from upstate NY with my family this summer, we spent the day in your town and totally fell for it.  We even spent some respite time in your town’s library.  I hear Kinston could use a bookstore.  Hmmm….why don’t we meet up at Little, Brown and talk food, books and Eastern NC.  I could definitely recommend some good reads for your twins.

Dear Lin Manuel Miranda:  You are a complete genius and I admire every step you take.  My friends tried everything they could, one even sent her husband down to the box office on his day off, to get me tickets to Hamilton.  Since that didn’t work out as they planned, they took up a collection of Hamiltons for Hamilton.  I will add to it regularly and look forward to the day when I can see the fruits of your creativity in person.  In the meantime, I will continue on my personal journey of “Hamil-tread” or “Treadmil-ton” every time I work out at the gym.

Dear Judy Woodruff and Hari Sreenivasan:  I was devastated when Gwen passed.  She was going to help me through these challenging times.  Now I have hope and would love to meet with you and talk about Gwen’s impact on me as a teacher.  Oh and have a group hug, too.

To my late superintendent, Bob Horan: I hope you were looking down on us last night.  If you hadn’t supported the library program, continued to keep my schedule flexible, listened to me when I lobbied for another librarian (or two), and even promoted the removal of my computer “walls”, I am not sure I would be “2017 Teacher of the Year.” We miss you, RH, but we carry on in your spirit.  Guess what?  I’m even advocating for coding and STEAM in the library!

Part IV

A LIBRARIAN won TEACHER of the year in a small school district in upstate NY.  A LIBRARIAN!  We are teachers! We make an impact on all of the students.  We teach information literacy, STEAM, just right books, research skills, common core, digital literacy, communication skills, team building, every buzz word you can think of, we cover and we do it well. We don’t do in isolation of any curriculum but rather in collaboration with them all. We are teachers who support other teachers in making engaging, interesting, interactive, project based and challenging lessons.  My teachers know that and for that I am thankful.  I am not just a librarian.  I am a TEACHER LIBRARIAN and gosh darn it, I hope you can hear me roar.  Together we can all make a difference.  Thank you for this award and recognizing a LIBRARIAN.  I promise to proudly continue to stay up till 1:00 am working hard to uphold my end of this bargain. Thank you.


  1. Stacey, you are a true inspiration to all of us!

    1. Thanks, Mary! Next time we leap (without hurting your foot!)

  2. Congratulations Stacey! What an honor that all we librarians share :)

  3. Amazing! You make me want to roar about being a teacher librarian after reading this inspiring speech! So happy for you! Congratulations!

  4. So excited to hear this great news!!!!! Congratulations!

  5. I can honestly say "I remember you when...". Congratulations to you! You work hard and smart, but what's most important is that you teach with heart and passion. Well-deserved honor!

    Sharon Davis

  6. Oh my oh my. You so deserve this Stacey! You are a light and inspiration.
    Thank you for all you have done to support our area Librarians and Teachers. Can't wait to see you.
    Deb Hoffmann

  7. Susan Marston, Junior Library GuildNovember 29, 2016 at 11:39 AM

    Dear Ms. Rattner:
    Congratulations! I have never met you, but your blog is evidence of your passion and fine work inspiring a love of reading. I already have that, but I get an extra boost every time I read your posts. I hope your letters to other inspirational people get a good response!
    With all good wishes,