By Mattie Stevens, ’13
As the school year comes to a close, students and faculty lament over Principal Kip Greenhill’s retirement. However, many have skimmed over another retirement, the Library Media Specialist who is also the Director of the Learning Center. Dr. Susan Yutzey will also be retiring after this school year. Since 1999, Yutzey has been helping students with Freshman Literature and Composition research, National History Day and Capstones, while also revamping the Learning Center.
But high school librarian is not the only career Yutzey has had.
“I had a very significant career in higher education… I worked at a number of colleges and universities as an admissions counselor, traveling around the state talking to prospective students. I worked at Ohio State [University] in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and I worked in the College of Education,” Yutzey said.
Yutzey’s choice to retire in 2012 was decided several years ago, and mainly relied on the opinion of her daughter, senior Elizabeth Yutzey, who will be graduating this year.
“When [Elizabeth] was in 8th grade I said, ‘Okay do you want me to retire at the end of 2008 before you get to the high school or do you want me to stay through your four years here?’ and she said [she’d] really like [me] to stay through the four years that [she’s] at the high school.”
In addition to wanting to walk the graduation stage with her daughter, other contributing factors that influenced her choice include job offers and decisions that were made at the state level.
“I’ve been asked three times by our state School Library Association to assume the presidency… I have a three-year commitment to the state’s School Library Association, so [I become] President Elect, then President, and finally Past President… I’ll be going to conferences, traveling around the state and talking to school districts about the importance of school librarians,” Yutzey said.
Although she will be missed, she has much to look forward to in retirement. Over the summer, she hopes to travel to far off places and experience parts of her life she has been putting off for years.
“In celebration of my retirement and Elizabeth’s graduation, we are going to Scotland,” Yutzey said. “I am a first generation Scot, my dad was born there so we’re going this summer to visit cousins. I’ve never been there, so I’m looking forward to [it].”
Yutzey is proud of the accomplishments and changes she has made in the Learning Center, noting that if students walked into it ten years ago, they would not think they were in the same place.
“The first thing we did was to discard over 10,000 books that had an average copyright date of 1965…[and] because we had less books, we started moving the collections around,” Yutzey said. “Then we moved the reference collection out onto the main floor with the rest so that students would have access to the materials.”
The goal that Yutzey and Mrs. Piazza, the second Library Media Specialist, have had for the LC is to change students minds about their definition of the LC. While many people know it as the Learning Center, Yutzey and Piazza visualize it as the Learning Commons.
“The Learning Commons idea suggests that [we] create spaces for students to collaborate [and to] generate knowledge. So that means computers and smart boards to allow them to create knowledge as opposed to just being a passive student in the learning process,” Yutzey said.
As far as finding a new Library Media Specialist, the position appears to remain open.
Dr. Yutzey has thoroughly enjoyed her time here at Upper Arlington as the Library Media Specialst, feeling that she has made a difference and will leave behind a notable legacy, yet is excited for what is to come.
“I love working with students one-on-one and watching the lightbulb go off as they become more of an active learner rather than just a passive recipient of information.”