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Education & Social Science Graduates

Kim "Lovie" Howell

What I do now:
I am a teacher librarian for a PreK-5th grade elementary school in Bossier Parish, LA.

My work/job consists of:
Being the librarian at Stockwell Place Elementary is the most wonderful job, and certainly doesn't feel like work when the kiddos are in the library. On a daily basis, Kari and I work together to ensure that every student and staff member has access to a diverse collection of books and resources. We are responsible for teaching 40 classes of regular and special education classes, maintaining a $200,000 library collection, schoolwide fixed assets, Renaissance administrator, multiple book fairs yearly, library budget, and collaboration with teachers. Spreading the love of reading happens with every breath we take.

Path to my current career position (how I got from the past to the present):
I began my college experience at LA Tech University in 1980 majoring in elementary education. After attending Tech for 2 1/2 years, I decided to marry my husband. I transferred back to Bossier City with him working and me commuting to Tech. This led me to check into attending LSUS. A decision at that time was made for my husband to go back and finish school. So, I took a full time job in the banking industry, and stayed on that career path for the next 8 years. The banking industry began to fail, banks closed and my dream of being an educator was still prevalent. I applied to LSUS and was accepted to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher. In December of 1993, I completed my last semester at LSUS with a degree in Elementary Education. After teaching school in Bossier Parish for a year, I returned to LSUS to acquire a Kindergarten Certification. Once again, my goals of attending school and being an educator happened because of LSUS. Presently, I have an elementary education degree from LSUS, a Kindergarten Certification, and a Library Science Certification from LA Tech grad school.

How I got to LSUS (or why I chose LSUS):
LSUS has always had a reputation of being an exceptional university in our area. Logistics played a role in my decision to attend LSUS, but my love for the LSU system is deep-rooted now in my family and our education.

Fond memories of LSUS:
Every class I attended and every professor that I met guided me through my tenure at LSUS. LSUS invested in me as a student and continues to do that for me as an educator. Dr. Singletary has held classes for library science students in my present library. The connection of professor and student and educator is a continued form of support that is second nature to the LSUS staff. Real life connections, love of learning, and unending support. Another of my fondest memories has been watching two of our three children walking the stage to graduate from LSUS. At our son's graduation, one of the professors stood up and hugged his neck after he received his diploma. I will never forget that moment and what it meant to all of us and especially our son.

LSUS faculty who helped me:
Dr. Don Smith was a transformational professor for me. He was a dynamic teacher who just happened to be the first teacher I ever had that taught math in a manner that I understood. He took my struggle and encouraged me to trust him - which led to an epiphany for me. Being an educator meant everything to me (my end goal of every class I took). The "Aha" moments in Dr. Smith's class happened almost daily. His teaching style made me want to do that for others. He taught me to never doubt, and he did that with an overwhelming amount of grace. I am so thankful I was placed in his classes. I am forever changed by him.

How LSUS helped me succeed:
LSUS faculty and staff worked with me to ensure that my dreams became a reality. In my last two semesters at LSUS, I took my summer finals on a Friday, had my third baby the following Monday, and student taught four weeks later. The road to graduation wasn't an easy one, but everyone at LSUS helped me from start to finish.

Advice to college-bound students:
Never give in and push hard until the degree is in your hands. Allow the university to help you achieve your dreams. Rely on them to have your best interests at hand.

Advice to someone who wants to enter my field:
Visit schools, volunteer at schools, and substitute teach at a variety of schools to ensure that you land in the area that best fits your dreams. Education has a broad spectrum of areas to choose from. Give yourself the opportunity to explore all areas of education before deciding on a field of study.

Tips on choosing a major or career:
1 ) Find something you love to do.
2) Listen more than you speak.
3) Talk to others in the field/major.
4) Give yourself the freedom to dream.

My toughest professional challenge:
After taking 13 years to earn my degree in elementary education, earning a certification in Kindergarten, and teaching for a few years, I learned that I had nodules on my vocal chords and was told that I needed to quit teaching. Needless to say, this was a gut punch. I quit teaching and along with a friend, built a much needed state-of-the-art daycare facility in Bossier City. At the time, this seemed like the perfect solution. Fast forward three years. Our daycare was filled to the brim with beautiful children and was a complete success. Professionally, I had hit the jackpot as a business woman. Personally, I was miserable. My heart was yearning for the classroom... I took the biggest leap of faith of my life, signed the business over to my partners, and went back to education. One day after I made the decision to leave the business world, I got a call to teach 4th grade. Personally and Professionally, my life was in order...and joyful!

My toughest personal challenge:
Our son was very ill for several years between the ages of 15 and 21. Years of doctor appointments, tests, and hospital stays in multiple cities led us to a brilliant doctor at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. Dr. Anthony Olive listened to our son, listened to me as his mother, studied previous reports and conducted his own tests which all led to my son being cured. Personally, it was pure torture to be unable to help our son for all those years, but pure joy to continue to see him healed and happy. We continue to give to Texas Children's Hospital for their part in our son being a healthy man.

Successes (honors, awards, etc.) in my life:
2019 School Librarian of the Year by the Louisiana Association of School Librarians. (This honor is presented to a school librarian who has demonstrated outstanding work through action and philosophy to the mission and goals of the school librarian profession within the state of Louisiana.)
Louisiana Library Association James O. Modisette Recipient Elementary Library Award 2017
H. Norman Saurage III LA Community Service Award Finalist 2017
President - Bossier Association of School Librarians
COSSLC - LA representative
Fablevision Ambassador, Fablevision Visionary
Vice President - Bossier Parish Association of School Librarians
LA Teacher Leader and Presenter
Highly Exceptional Compass Educator
KSLA - Educator of the Week
MDA Outstanding Leader Award

I've learned this from life:
Love is a verb. Enjoy every breath.

What I'd be doing if I had all the time in the world:
Reading, volunteering, Reading...

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