WCLS Presents Golden Apple Educator Awards to Three Ferndale School District Educators and Leaders


Submitted by Whatcom County Library System

Three Ferndale School District educators and leaders who successfully advocate for reading and public libraries to further student success will be honored with Whatcom County Library System’s Golden Apple Educator Award at a 2:45 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5 ceremony at the Ferndale Events Center, 5715 Barrett Road, Ferndale. The celebration is part of the library system’s noon-5 p.m. Open Book Festival.  

The honorees are Tim Keigley, special projects coordinator for the school district; Sharon Lawler, para educator, library at Eagleridge Elementary School; and Amy Nylen, language arts teacher at Vista Middle School.  

Keigley consistently connects Ferndale students with the public library. “He is that welcoming school staff person who makes sure that our library staff are able to host lunchtime book clubs or run a pop-up library for middle schoolers,” says Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) Teen Services Coordinator Tamar Clarke. Keigley encourages teachers to invite library staff to present book talks to their students and partners with the library to host author presentations and all-school reading programs. He shares library resources with families and students through newsletters, emails and school displays.  “Most of all, he knows and cares deeply for Ferndale students, which is always apparent when he visits the Ferndale Library during an early release day,” Clarke adds. “Within minutes, the kids have surrounded him, ready to chat it up with a teacher they very much respect.” 

Tim Keigley. Photo courtesy WCLS

Lawler is a tireless advocate for student access to reading materials. She is constantly promoting ConnectED (a partnership between the library system and all local school districts) by helping students place holds on library materials, scheduling instructional visits with WCLS staff, and visiting the library herself to pick up materials, collaborate and stay up to date on library resources. “Sharon regularly communicates with Youth Services staff at the Ferndale Library so that her students and teachers can have books to fit the topics being discussed at school,” says WCLS Childrens Services Coordinator Theresa Morrison. “We frequently get requests for topical read alouds, books in other languages and eye-catching materials to display in her display window. Sharon is a passionate supporter of the public library and wants all her students to know about the richness available to them.” 

Sharon Lawler. Photo courtesy WCLS

Nylen is an active supporter of young people in the Ferndale School District and Ferndale community. “I had the pleasure of meeting Amy seven years ago and right from the beginning she has been the biggest advocate not only for the public library, but also for the voices of young people,” says WCLS Youth Services Librarian Sarah Lavender. “She always puts her students first and really listens to each and every one of them.” Nylen has been an integral part of implementing library book delivery to students at Vista Middle School. She also made sure that every 6th grader in the Ferndale School District was able to visit the library on a class field trip this fall. “Amy will always advocate for young people and their freedom to read whatever they choose,” Lavender adds. “The students of Ferndale are so incredibly lucky to have her.” 

Amy Nylen. Photo courtesy WCLS

WCLS began the Golden Apple Educator Award in 2007 to celebrates successful partnerships between school and library staff that engage students with library resources to further their education and personal growth. “We are incredibly grateful to all the local educators who partner with county libraries to serve the young people in our community,” says WCLS Executive Director Christine Perkins. “It is our honor to recognize Tim, Sharon and Amy this year and to thank them for their outstanding work.” 

Open Book: A Festival for Readers is a free event presented in partnership with Village Books and Paper Dreams and the Whatcom County Library Foundation. The noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5 event celebrates readers, writers and bookish enthusiasm with author presentations, book talks, and weird and wonderful hands-on book-related experiences at more than 20 booths and stages. Find details at wcls.org/openbook.   

About WCLS

Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) serves Whatcom County residents outside the city limits of Bellingham through online resources (wcls.org) and at 10 branches: Blaine, Deming, Everson, Ferndale, Island (Lummi Island), Lynden, North Fork (Kendall), Point Roberts, South Whatcom (Sudden Valley) and Sumas. WCLS also has a bookmobile (serving Glenhaven, Birch Bay, Wickersham, Lake Samish) and a Library Express on Northwest Drive. Apply for a free library card at any location or online at wcls.org/getacard.  

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