Ed.D. Student, Secondary Education Grad Elected as Vice President of Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Student Profile
Meet Laura Ward
- Job Title & Employer
- High School Librarian, Fox Chapel Area School District
- Secondary Education, Leadership and Administration-Ed.D.
- December 2004, May 2019
- Chester, W.Va.
- High School
- Oak Glen High School
- Now Living In
- Dormont, Pa.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Playing and teaching tennis, reading, yoga, biking and spending time with my family
"Laura's Point Park Ed.D. education has provided her with the skills, background and creative ideas to take library programming to unparalleled heights for Fox Chapel Area High School students."
"Through my Ed.D. studies I have become a more reflective and thoughtful leader. I am continuously going back to chapters that I read or thinking about discussions from class in order to make the best decisions for both Fox Chapel Area High School Library and the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association."
As Fox Chapel Area High School’s librarian, what factors made you choose Point Park to earn your doctoral degree?
I attended Point Park from 2002-2004 receiving my teaching bachelor's degree in secondary education. When I made the decision to continue my education further with an Ed.D. in leadership and administration, I knew that I wanted to go somewhere familiar and where I would find supportive and caring faculty. That criteria led me right to Point Park.
Tell us about your goals as vice president, and eventually president, of the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association.
One of my goals for PSLA is creating a culture of inclusivity. There are school librarians across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who do not know the benefits the PA School Librarians Association can provide them. Additionally, there are far more school librarians who don’t even know there is a professional organization in Pennsylvania.
By creating a culture of inclusivity and outreach, our current members can share their positive experiences and the benefits of PSLA with other school librarians. The organization will grow metaphorically, as well as with physical membership numbers, when all Pennsylvania school librarians see the value of and their place within the organization.
How have our Ed.D. classes helped you in the work you do both for Fox Chapel and PSLA?
I can’t say enough about how supportive the faculty is at Point Park University. Throughout all of my courses, the faculty gave everyone the opportunity to learn how to apply our leadership aspirations to our areas of interest. I was given the opportunity to discuss my areas of weakness and find ways to grow and become a better leader, whether it was during an in-class activity, reading an article or chapter of a book, participating in a class discussion or preparing assignments for class.
Through my Ed.D. studies I have become a more reflective and thoughtful leader. I am continuously going back to chapters that I read or thinking about discussions from class in order to make the best decisions for both Fox Chapel Area High School Library and the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association.
Tell us about your research that you will be defending soon.
Being a native of West Virginia, my heart has never left my home state. I see how the students of West Virginia are suffering from the lack of support that educators receive from state lawmakers. My research is focused on the effect West Virginia school librarians have on student test scores on reading standardized tests.
I am also looking at the reported roles that school librarians have in addition to researching the amount of time school librarians spend collaborating with classroom teachers. My hope is to be able to help school librarians in West Virginia, and all over the country with my research.
Final thoughts and favorite quote?
I am grateful for all of their kindness and support over the last three years. I couldn’t have asked for more thoughtful professors, committee and chair who push me to be the best that I can be and are always asking me to go one step further with my ideas.
"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” — Jorge Luis Borges