MASL 2022

O’Neal principal wins statewide award for support of school libraries
Posted on 04/12/2022
Dr. Amy Dill and Melissa Corey.

O’Neal Elementary Principal Dr. Amy Dill earned the 2022 Missouri Association of School Librarians Award for School Administrators on Monday, April 11, during the organization’s spring conference at Osage Beach.

The statewide honor recognizes a school leader who has made a significant contribution toward furthering the role of its school library media center. Dill is the first Poplar Bluff administrator to receive the award, according to the MASL list of recipients dating back to 1982.

“My library program is better because Dr. Dill allows me to attend meetings, sit on committees and share information with my colleagues,” stated O’Neal librarian Ashley Robertson in her nomination. “My students benefit from teacher/librarian collaboration.”

Robertson is a member of multiple committees, participates in discussions during teacher collaboration days and receives briefings from grade levels meetings, she explained. Being involved in the Professional Learning Community allows her to support teachers and cover related topics during library, plus work with the reading intervention specialist to help ensure Robertson’s instruction is data-driven.

Dill further pushes Robertson to “think outside of the box and try new things,” the librarian wrote, providing such examples as: participating in an embryology program, partnering with conservationists to lead Earth Day activities and housing a library pet in order to spark student interest in different genres of books.

Patty Robertson, R-I assistant superintendent of curriculum, shared how Dill has served as a mentor for Ashley Robertson, who is still early in her career at Poplar Bluff, helping to create a growth plan that establishes goals and allows for opportunities to network with her association.

“I am in awe of [Dill’s] ability to juggle all of the needs of staff and students on her campus, while keeping high expectations for academic achievement,” said Patty Robertson in a letter of recommendation. “… She believes that the primary goal of elementary school is to teach students to read and to develop a love for reading during their foundational years.”

Growing up, her mother Carole Canady was a librarian and Dill can remember visiting the library after school to read and do homework. Her husband, R-I Superintendent Dr. Scott Dill, was a school library media specialist for the first decade of their marriage, and she recalls bringing her daughters Caroline and Maura to the library on Saturdays to help shelve books, instilling a love for reading at a young age.

Amy Dill referred to the library as the heart of a school. She notes: “It is a place where students that struggle with academics can find a book of their own interest and reading level. It is a place for advanced students to research their own interests and expand their knowledge base.”

Prior to taking the helm at O’Neal in 2016, Amy Dill served variously as a director of a special education cooperative, elementary principal, coordinator of special services and school counselor in Houston, Mo. The first act of her tenure in public education was spent as a regular classroom and special education teacher, starting out at Macks Creek.

“The staff and students at O’Neal love and appreciate Dr. [Amy] Dill as she takes on her role as an administrator with a servant leadership approach,” said Gabe Thompson, O’Neal counselor. “She is the first to get here in the mornings and the last to leave.”

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Cutline: O’Neal Principal Dr. Amy Dill (left) is presented a statewide award by Melissa Corey of the MASL executive committee on Monday, April 11, during the spring conference at Osage Beach.

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