Karen is an education consultant by contract for school library media and grant writing at the Northwest Regional Educational Service Alliance (NWRESA) in Wilkesboro, NC. She has over 25 years' experience in providing staff development and consultative services to media specialists and teachers. Although she retired from full-time work in 2002, she formed her own consulting firm, Beacon Consulting, through which she travels and does workshops and conference presentations throughout the U.S. She also taught graduate classes in library science at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, for over 25 years.
Karen was very active in professional organizations at the state and national levels until her retirement. She is past President of the North Carolina School Library Media Association (2005-2006) and has served as a member of the Executive Board in several capacities. She also served a two-year term as Secretary of the Affiliate Assembly of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and four years on the Publications Committee. Karen was chosen by AASL as Director-Elect for Region IV (southeastern states) of AASL for 2009-2011. She was listed as one of 103 "outstanding school library media specialists" in the United States in the Woolls & Loertscher book, (The Whole School Library Handbook), ©2004, ALA Edition.
She is the author of three books: Resource Alignment: Providing Curriculum Support in the School Library Media Center (2014), Writing Grant Proposals: Tips for Educators and Others (2009), and Backward Glances: A Journal of Endings and Beginnings (2009). She has published articles on Resource Alignment in Knowledge Quest, the journal of AASL, as well as articles in North Carolina Libraries and Leading and Learning with Technology. She has presented at both national library conferences (ALA and AASL) and is a frequent presenter at workshops and state conference around the U.S., even as far as California, Nevada, and Hawaii!
Karen has helped many school districts write successful grants, ranging in amounts from $1,000 to $1.9 million. She also conducts workshops for school districts in the northwest region of NC (as well as in other states) in how to write effective grant proposals. She is an experienced grant evaluator and reader as well.
She is a former school library media specialist and classroom teacher with a strong background in elementary education, reading and social studies. She has degrees from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, East Tennessee State University, and Appalachian State University. She previously taught in school districts in Asheville City, Madison County, and Ashe County in NC, and in Unicoi County in Tennessee. She lives in Millers Creek with her husband Ray. Together, they have nine grandchildren and five great-grandsons.
Beacon Consulting was formed in 2001 when Karen retired from full-time work with the Northwest Regional Educational Service Alliance in Wilkesboro, NC. She took early retirement in order to fulfill her desire to travel and share her passion for building effective, up-to-date school library media programs and collections. Teaching graduate students and conducting workshops never feels like work to her. Karen says, "It's the best job in the world!"
Participants frequently give very positive feedback after attending one of Karen's workshops or taking one of her classes: