Alaska Association of School Librarians

Advancing high standards for the school library profession in Alaska

Alaska Association of School Librarians - Advancing high standards for the school library profession in Alaska

Executive Board

e-Board Minutes
Previous e-Boards

President:  Deborah Rinio
North Pole Middle School

Deborah Rinio is the librarian at North Pole Middle School. She moved to Alaska in 2003 after finishing her MA from the University of Arizona. Since she began pursuit of her masters, she has worked in elementary, middle, and high school libraries as well as governmental, academic, and public libraries. She is currently pursuing her doctorate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

President-Elect:  Dona Helmer

College Gate Elementary School, Anchorage

Dona Helmer has been the librarian at College Gate Elementary School in Anchorage since 1998. Prior to that time, she was an associate professor and director of the Curriculum Resource Center at Montana State University-Billings. In addition to her MLS from Northern Illinois University, Helmer has an MA in American Intellectual history, an Educational Specialist Degree in Media and Technology and her doctoral work in Administration and Curriculum Articulation is from the University of Southern Mississippi where she also taught in the school of library science.  She has been lucky to have spent over 30 years in a profession which she loves. During that time, as a librarian, university professor and reviewer, she has seen many changes in collection development, book publishing, reference, reviewing and children’s services.  She has served on a variety of AkASL, AkLA and ALA committees including the Caldecott, Newbery, and Sibert Award committees. She feels her major accomplishments are yet to come.

Past-President:  Wendy Stout


Larson Elementary School, Wasilla

Wendy Stout is the librarian at Larson Elementary in the Mat-Su Borough School District for 11 years.  Currently, she is ½ time at Larson and serves ½ time as District Librarian.  Before starting a very fulfilling career as school librarian and Information goddess; she stayed home with her two adorable (and now grown up!) daughters until Kate, the youngest, went to preschool.  Now she spends time reading, playing oboe, crafting with paper, ink and stamps and writing lots of tuition checks to Portland State University, where Emily (her oldest) is pursuing a degree in Microbial and Molecular Biology.  When not pursuing her own interests, she is busy doing the mom thing, buying art supplies for Kate or scraping the extra paint off her used-to-be-nice dining room table after Kate has had some sort of great but sloppy artistic idea.  Her family also includes one husband (Norm, paramedic/fire fighter for AFD), two border collies (Brenna and Lyrial), one very fat cat (Benzie) and two growing beef calves (Sally and Quaffle).  Recently, Syracuse University accepted Wendy’s application for graduate school and granted her a leadership scholarship.  Wendy anticipates finishing her Master’s Degree in Summer of 2015.

Secretary:  Amelia Mitchell

Amelia Mitchell

Ryan Middle School, Northstar Fairbanks Borough School District
National Board Certified Teacher in Library Media

Amelia has 14 years of experience as a school librarian, 13 ½ at a large high school in North Carolina, and 6 months at a Middle School in Fairbanks. She has served at the State Delta Kappa Gamma level in North Carolina for 7 years, on a variety of committees, including the communications committee. This committee was responsible for creating standards of chapter communication in line withinternational standards, creating an evaluation and awards system reflecting these standards, and personally evaluating and critiquing every issue of every NC chapter newsletter, handout and website published over a two year period. Amelia is new to the state of Alaska as an Army spouse.

Treasurer:  Laura Guest


Turnagain Elementary School, Anchorage

Region 1 Rep (Northern): Lisa Sobieniak

North Slope Borough School District, Barrow

Region 2 Rep (South Central): Jill Gann
Kenai Peninusula School District

Region 3 Rep (Anchorage): Susan Koike
Susan Koike

Wendler Middle School, Anchorage

Susan Koike is a School Library Media Specialist in the Anchorage School District. She started her career in education in 1998 teaching third, fourth, and fifth grade. She began teaching in the library in the fall of 2003, while earning her SLMS certification from the University of Washington. Susan enjoys sharing the love of literacy and technology, especially as a bridge to enhance learning, with her students and staff.

Susan has always been involved with technology in schools. Her vision for libraries, information and technology as a learning tool led her to apply for the Technology Teacher Leader (TTL) grant within the Anchorage School District.

Receiving the grant allowed the TTL team to educ ate and support teachers and students in using technology. Susan then began her Masters of Education, Technology program through Lesley University, which was completed in December of 2012.

Susan’ s mission as a 21st Century School Librarian is to ensure that students and staff become effective, responsible users of information and technology. She continues to empower herself with the knowledge and skills to support her philosophy of lifelong learning for her students.

Region 4 Rep (Southeast): Sheryl Wittig

Auke Bay Elementary School, Juneau

Sheryl Wittig has been the librarian & music teacher at Auke Bay Elementary in Juneau since 2009.  She was the gifted & talented teacher at Riverbend Elementary for the twelve years prior to that, and spent the first eight years of her teaching career teaching in logging camps for Southeast Island School District.  She completed the University of Washington School Library Professional program in 2011.

Membership:  Katie Conover


Over the past 18 years she has taught children in grades K-8, serving as a physical education teacher, classroom teacher, Title I teacher, reading specialist, technology specialist, and middle school math and science teacher. Then, nine years ago, she discovered school library and fell in love. She completed a Masters in Arts in Information and Communication Technology in 2002 (University of Otago, New Zealand) and a School Library Professional Certificate in 2008 (University of Washington). In 2011, Katie completed her National Board Certification in Library Media. She currently teaches kindergarten, first and second grade students at Goose Bay Elementary in the Mat-Su School District. Katie lives in Anchorage with her husband, Paul, and son, Finley (1 year).

Battle of the Books:  Shelly Logsdon
Wasilla High School, Wasilla

Battle of the Books:  Erika Drain
Mt. Edgecumbe High School, Sitka

Battle of the Books:  Laura Guest
Turnagain Elementary School, Anchorage

Puffin Online Newsletter:  Rosalie White

Grants Coordinator:  Karla Barkman

Awards Chair:  Dona Helmer

Online Communication Coordinator (web):  Staci Cox

West-Romig Librarian, Anchorage

Ex-Officio, Alaska State Library, School Library Coordinator:  Currently Vacant
Alaska State Library and Talking Book Center
344 W. 3rd Ave. Suite 125, Anchorge, AK 99501
Phone: 800-776-6566