Hayes High School’s principal was recently named the recipient of an Ohio Educational Library Media Association award for his support of the library.
On May 23, the Ohio Educational Library Media Association (OELMA) named Dr. Ric Stranges, the principal at Hayes, as the recipient of the OELMA Service Award for Administrators.
According to the organization, the award honors “an Ohio school administrator whose leadership has made a significant contribution to the school library media program and services within their learning community.”
Stranges said he was nominated for the award by Sarah Ressler, the librarian at Hayes, because of their cooperation on many projects.
“Over the last few years, Sarah and I have worked together on numerous projects from new courses on cultural literacy to presenting at national conferences to show the collaboration between administration and our librarians,” Stranges said. “At Hayes, the library not only physically sits at the middle of our school, but it is at the center of our school. It’s a resource for students, staff and administrators. I’ve always known the value it holds in a school. Whenever Sarah has approached me over the last few years about presenting and collaborating, (my answer is) always yes.”
Stranges said while he was suprised and honored to have received the award, the credit really belongs to Ressler.
“Without Sarah, I wouldn’t even be considered,” he said. “She’s included me in so many things, and I’m honored and humbled to be the award recipient. Reading is important to me. To be a leader, you have to be a reader. It has broadened my horizons. Anything she brings in, from authors, to courses or resources, I support that.”
Ressler said she has nominated Stranges for the award two times for his work to support the library.
“I’ve been so happy to work with Ric,” Ressler said. “He’s been so supportive of my work in the library. Anytime I have a new idea that I want to do that might seem crazy or wacky, he’s always very supportive. (He supports) anything we can do to promote books and reading. (I nominated him for) his support of the library, his love and passion for reading, and what a wonderful administrator he is. He says ‘yes’ to any educational practice that pushes us forward.”
Ressler said she found out Stranges had won the award from Stranges himself.
“They didn’t tell me. He told me, and I jumped up and down,” Ressler said. “I was so excited. Not only is he a supportive administrator, but he is equally as passionate about reading and helping others love reading, too. I was really excited that the committee recognized that.
“When there are families who want to challenge reading, Ric is very supportive. We always understand when there are community members who don’t want a book for their family. In the library, I always want to make sure that we’re promoting a positive message that we want students and families to feel comfortable with what they read, but at the same time, the point of reading is to widen one’s horizons and help teach empathy. I love that Ric is quite a proponent of diverse reading and the importance of reading for empathy and making our world better.”
Stranges said he is proud that Hayes has been recognized for various awards recently, including being named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and being designated a Purple Star school.
“We’ve been given a lot of awards in the last few years for academics and supporting the military … this one is special because it’s only one in Ohio,” Stranges said. “It’s exclusive.”
Stranges said he will continue to support the library at the school.
“I’ve got a long way to go and still want to improve my relationship with libraries and librarians,” he said.
Stranges will be honored at the organization’s annual Fall Conference on Oct. 7 in Dublin.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.