Classified Employee

Classified Employee
Posted on 04/26/2019
Walk in the library at Franklin Elementary School in Pullman and a definite theme emerges. For fans of Harry Potter, it’s like entering Hogwarts heaven.

Hogwarts and Ravenclaw banners hang from the ceiling. A few feet away is a “Reading is Magic” banner touting the first book in the Potter series, the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Yes, it’s all part of the plan to get kids excited about reading. The architect of the plan is Robin Hendrickson, Franklin’s library para-support educator.

To say Hendrickson’s has been successful would be an understatement. In fact, her impact on the school has been so significant that Principal Stephanie Bray felt special recognition – beyond, the school, beyond the district and beyond Whitman County – was in order.

Last fall, when nominations were opened for regional Classified Employee of the Year, Bray was confident Hendrickson would be a strong contender, even in a field matching the best of the best in seven counties.

Bray was right. Six months later, Hendrickson has been crowned the 2019 regional winner, an award that puts in the running for statewide honors later this spring.

Hendrickson’s success in the library comes as no surprise to those who know her. Words, language and books practically define her. They are her passion; a passion she loves to share with young readers.

Her devotion to books and learning dates to her own K-12 schooling in Wenatchee. From there, it was off to William Woods University in Missouri, where one of her under-graduate majors was English Literature. Following graduation, she was a professional writer and magazine editor for 20 years.

Between those experiences, her knowledge of and appreciation for literature is practically contagious. “Franklin would not be the same place without her,” says Bray.

One example of Hendrickson’s creativity is her “How a book is made” project designed to build library skills and knowledge. Over the course of nine lessons, students meet with authors; review genres, learn the role of writers, editors, illustrators, publishers and distributors; review the elements of a good book cover; and even learn the essential components of library labeling and shelving.

At the conclusion of the project, students create and display their own cover illustrations.

It’s all done in a warm and inviting space tailored to specific student interests, says Bray. “She puts students first and prioritizes the library, its environment and materials based on what is needed for the success of all students.”

All in all, Franklin colleagues call her one of the most versatile and dedicated people on the staff. And if you need an expert to settle an argument over Harry Potter, just consider that an added bonus of friendship.