Support Professional Appreciation: Meredith Linehan

Celebrating Education Support Professionals during American Education Week, November 13-16, 2018

Teacher's aide crouches next to two students to show them an activity

Meredith Linehan

Library Technology Aide + Cafeteria Monitor, Big Cross Street School

“I had one student who would ask me every morning, ‘Where is that nice lady from the library?” muses a colleague of Library Tech Assistant Meredith Linehan. “I don’t think I have ever seen Meredith come into school with less than a smile and a caring spirit,” continues Aide Tina Davis.

Students and co-workers alike talk about Ms. Linehan’s dedication in the library’s Makerspace, in the cafeteria as a breakfast and lunch monitor, and as an overall teammate at Big Cross Street School.

“Meredith is the epitome of a team player and definitely one of my go-to people at Big Cross,” says Secretary Patty Farrell. “If we need coverage for door duty, recess, or in a classroom, she just smiles and says ‘sure, no problem.'”

“She is always willing to jump in and help out wherever and whenever needed, and goes above and beyond to support the students she works with,” agrees Principal Debbie Hall. “Meredith has created an opportunity for all of our classes to participate in STEM activities through a Makerspace area in the library. I truly appreciate all that she has done and continues to do each day at Big Cross.”

Teacher's aide stands next to a student as they do an activity

“Makerspaces are very big right now in education,” says Ms. Linehan. A Makerspace is an area that provides hands-on, creative ways for students to design, experiment, and invent as they engage in engineering, and tinkering. “My principal has helped me incorporate that into our library this year. The district and the PTA purchased several items for us to use such as coding games, robots, and Virtual Reality goggles. Several faculty and staff members have donated items as well. The students are really enjoying it, and I enjoy seeing them explore and discover their individual interests.”

“I think one of the most unique things I do in my day-to-day work is that I work with students of all ages,” continues Ms. Linehan. “In one class I might be teaching a student how to use the mouse or touchpad and another class I’m teaching a student how to create a slideshow presentation. I also think it’s unique that I get to see the students in different settings. I work with them in a classroom setting in the library, but I also get to see them in the cafeteria as well. I feel like I get to know the students better and establish connections with them.”

Librarian Ellen Caffry agrees. “Meredith has such a good rapport with every single student at Big Cross,” she says. “She remembers the sports and activities that students are involved with outside of school and asks them about it, which they love. She has a special way with students who struggle and I can’t think of anyone who is kinder and more gentle.”

Ms. Linehan also works to instill a love of reading in every student. “Sometimes I’ll have students come to me and say they don’t want to get a book because they don’t like to read or there’s nothing that they like. So I’ll ask them questions about what interests them and then I’ll make recommendations. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing the joy on the students’ faces when they find a book that they love and listening to them talk about it. I love when they come over to me and ask if they can read to me.”

Ms. Linehan graduated from Glens Falls High School in 2002, and this is her ninth year working in the district. When not at Big Cross, she likes to read (surprise!). “Nicholas Sparks is my favorite author and I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter series as well. I also enjoy spending time with my family, especially my three nephews. I love attending their various sporting events and cheering them on.”

Glens Falls City School District celebrates national American Education Week by highlighting our “school superheroes” whose various careers touch the lives of our students and pave the way for success. Education Support Professionals—our teacher aides, teaching assistants, secretaries, custodians, and many other team members—play a crucial role in every school building, every day.