“She is too fond of books, and it has addled her brain." - Louisa May Alcott
I have always loved to read and have a passion for learning and sharing knowledge with others to enable them to successfully achieve their goals. So it was only natural that I would first become a teacher, then a librarian, and finally a professor of librarians!
I have worked with all grade levels, first as a classroom teacher at the elementary level and then as library media specialist for both middle and high school. I hold two master’s degrees in Education, the first in Teaching, Learning, and Technology and the second in School Librarianship; and a Doctor of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
From 2006-2014 I worked with the Golden Valley Unified School District (GVUSD) as a coordinator of library media. For the first six years I worked primarily as Library Media Specialist at Liberty High School (LHS). During that time I collaborated extensively with the faculty to plan, teach, and assess cross-curricular research units for grade levels 9-12. These units incorporated state content standards and information literacy and technology standards to equip students to enter college and the workforce with 21st century skills. As students progressed though these units, their achievement consistently improved. In 2008, the tenth grade English and World History cross-curricular unit received the California School Library Association’s Good Ideas! Award. As a result of these successes, LHS was asked to present these units as a model program at a variety of conferences and workshops throughout California.
As program administrator of the Liberty High School Library, I regularly trained and supervised student library aides, advised a student book club and Battle of the Books teams, administered promotional programs at the site level and in conjunction with the local public branch library, and conducted many fundraisers and submitted and received several grants. In addition to my duties as LHS Library Media Specialist, I served as Independent Study Coordinator, Accrediting Commission for Schools (WASC) Self-Study Coordinator, and member of the School Site Council, Leadership Team, and Golden Valley Teacher’s Association Negotiating Team.
Though I was based primarily at Liberty High School, I also functioned as district librarian to the other school sites in GVUSD. I planned and opened the new Ranchos Middle School Library, trained and advised the library technicians at each of the district’s school sites, developed library and technology policies and job descriptions, supervised the cataloging of library and instructional materials, and administered the Destiny automated library/textbook management system for the entire district. I worked directly with GVUSD administration in the selection, purchase, and distribution of curriculum and instructional technology and served as the chair of the GVUSD Technology Committee and liaison to Educational Resource Services at Madera County Office of Education.
In 2012 my position was revised into an administrative position, combining the aforementioned tasks with the addition of formerly becoming the district’s technology coordinator. With this new role, I took on the responsibilities of managing the district’s technology staff, coordinating network operations and end-user support, administering the district’s website/learning management system, providing professional development, and planning and budgeting for district technology needs including the new technology requirements for Smarter Balanced testing. Additionally, I coordinated the implementation of a “Bring Your Own Device” policy for grades 7-12, digital citizenship curriculum for grades K-12, and a 1:1 tablet program at Liberty High School.
In 2014 I accepted a new role as Assistant Professor of Education at Fresno Pacific University (FPU), serving as Program Director of the fully online Teacher Librarian Services graduate program, which offers both a California Teacher Librarian Services Credential and Master of Arts degree in School Library and Information Technology. As Program Director, I was responsible for providing academic oversight of the program; facilitating course design; preparing accreditation documentation; recruiting and advising candidates; recruiting and training adjunct faculty; connecting with local communities and agencies; mentoring thesis students; and teaching a regular schedule of courses. I also taught and mentored students in FPU's Master of Arts in Educational Technology program.
From 2015-2017 I served as Professional Developer of Instructional Technology for the Madera County Making it R.E.A.L. Project, a California Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant professional development program designed for middle school math teachers.
In March 2018 I completed my doctoral dissertation, which is entitled A Collective Case Study to Examine Administrators' Instructional Leadership Perspective of the Role of Instructional Coaches and Teacher Librarians in California Public Schools and was featured in American Libraries “Notable Dissertations 2019.”
In August 2018 I crossed the U.S. to begin a new adventure as Assistant Professor in Media at the University of West Georgia (UWG) in the Educational Technology and Foundations Department, where I focused on teaching, research, and professional service in both school librarianship and instructional technology. In January 2020 I began serving as program coordinator for the School Library Media (SLM) program. After making significant revisions with a fantastic team of SLM faculty, the program was honored with the UWG College of Education's Outstanding Program Award for 2022 and was selected as UWG's winner and institutional nominee for the University System of Georgia Regents' Teaching Excellence Award for Department or Program. The year 2022 proved to be fruitful as I was also honored to receive an American Association of School Librarians Research Grant.
In July 2021 I changed my name from Melanie Ann Lewis to Melanie Lewis Croft after marrying a wonderful Southern gentleman (Lewis is now my middle name). This positive change necessitated another move, and in January 2023 I began serving as Director of Library Services at Anderson University in South Carolina.