Note: This article was orginally published in Cape Gazette. Read the full article here.
Three years ago, Donna Kolakowski coordinated Cape Henlopen's first bookmobile, giving away thousands of books to Cape Region students.
On Oct. 25, Kolakowski received the Jean Martin Outstanding Leadership in Literacy Award for her dedication and hard work in creating young readers.
Fellow educator Jennifer Nauman, principal of Shields Elementary, nominated Kolakowski for her work promoting reading literacy among students.
“She has led the district's literacy focus over the past four years, resulting in many unique opportunities for students in our district,” Nauman said.
The bookmobile, a colorful van full of books for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, travels throughout the Cape Henlopen School District delivering books over the summer months. Other groups have coordinated with bookmobile stops to provide meals for students.
Superintendent Robert Fulton said Kolakowski deserves the Jean Martin Award for making the bookmobile a success.
“Your work with the bookmobile has given many children the opportunity to read,” he said.
In addition to the bookmobile, Kolakowski, Cape's supervisor of elementary education, has developed the reading curriculum for the district. Through a new reading program, she encourages students to read for an hour each day – 30 minutes in school and 30 minutes at home.
“You've really cultivated a love for reading for many kids,” Fulton said. “We're very proud of you.”
Kolakowski was humbled by the honor, and she was thankful for the support of her piers.
“I'm honored to be the recipient of the Jean Martin Award,” she said. “I love what I do, and to have the opportunity to encourage students to spend time reading is truly a privilege. Thank you, Mrs. Nauman for the nomination, and thank you to the Delaware Library Association Literacy Institute for selecting me amongst all of the other well-deserving candidates to represent this award.”