For 12 years Ann Cook has been spreading a love of reading and books to students as the librarian at Purdy Elementary School.
A Peninsula High School graduate — her three children are third generation PHS students — and Gig Harbor resident, Cook has 15 years experience in the Peninsula School District.
“I love reading. I’ve always loved reading,” Cook said. “I love helping kids find the right book that gets them hooked.”
Cook is the October recipient for the district’s Ellen Fay Award for academic excellence.
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We’re so excited. She’s an incredible person. (Cook) does so many different things here ... she always goes above and beyond with extra things to help with the school.
Kristi Rivera, principal of Purdy Elementary
Though Cook remains modest of her award, her co-workers are thrilled, said Kristi Rivera, principal of Purdy Elementary.
“We’re so excited. She’s an incredible person,” Rivera said. “(Cook) does so many different things here ... she always goes above and beyond with extra things to help with the school.”
Along with her zeal for reading, Rivera said that Cook has worked to introduce students to computer coding, teaching at a summer coding camp and after school classes, along with founding the now famous annual “Grandparents Week” at the school, which featured more than 1,000 grandparents visiting last year.
Cook is known throughout the school for her willingness to help other teachers — she occasionally works as a substitute teacher when needed — and her dedication to students.
This is the best job. I have a lot of freedom to have fun with (students).
From making sure students can get books at the book fair, to helping teach parents about ebooks so students can be connected at home, there is no limit to the work Cook is willing to do to make readers out of every student who crosses her path.
“She’s very committed to the students,” Rivera said. “She’s an amazing educator.”
Working with a large range of readers, from kindergarten to fifth grade, Cook works to read a bit of everything that comes into the library in order to help each student find the right book for their interest and reading level.
“This is the best job,” she said. “I have a lot of freedom to have fun with (students).”
Connecting with the students is important to Cook, who learns each child’s name and tries to remember what they’re reading.
“I wish I had more time to get to know every student and get to know what they’re reading. One-on-one time is very important to me,” she said. “I think if you make reading fun then you’ll make more lifelong readers.”