Anita Cellucci | Movers & Shakers 2019 – Educators

Anita Cellucci is on a crusade to support the emotional life of her students at Westborough High School. A 2016 School Library Journal School Librarian of the Year finalist, she is certified in mental health first aid through the National Alliance on Mental Health and has worked to spread the training to other area educators. After securing a two-year Library Services and Technology Act grant in 2015, she developed a mental wellness curriculum, prioritizing the library as a stigma-free space.

Anita Cellucci

CURRENT POSITION

School Librarian, Westborough High School, MA

DEGREE

M. Ed., Library Media Studies, Salem State University, 2011

FOLLOW

linktr.ee/anitacellucci; facebook.com/empatheticlibrarian

Photo ©2019 Matt Lawrence Photography

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Stigma-Free Support

Anita Cellucci is on a crusade to support the emotional life of her students at Westborough High School. A 2016 School Library Journal School Librarian of the Year finalist, she is certified in mental health first aid through the National Alliance on Mental Health and has worked to spread the training to other area educators. After securing a two-year Library Services and Technology Act grant in 2015, she developed a mental wellness curriculum, prioritizing the library as a stigma-free space. The program also includes yoga, bibliotherapy, reflective writing, poetry slams, and more and involves teachers, school counselors, and the public library. One outcome has been an increase “in the number of students coming forward with concerns for friends and about their own mental health,” says Cellucci. “The grant cataly[zed] our community in thinking creatively about solutions to this issue.”

Cellucci particularly remembers one student who had been struggling with family mental health issues; Cellucci acted as a mentor throughout the student’s four years in high school. “With the help of our conversations, when I would often share strategies for mindfulness and stress management, she agreed to seek counseling [and] changed her unsupportive friend group,” says Cellucci. The student is now in college and maintains regular contact with Cellucci.

“Anita’s emphasis on social emotional learning [SEL] is a model from which school librarians can learn and be inspired,” says one nominator, Rebecca Morris, Cellucci’s editor at School Library Connection, where she writes a column.

Cellucci has raised awareness of SEL in her role as president of the Massachusetts School Library Association (MSLA, 2015–17), establishing and chairing the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) Committee. MSLA programs have covered topics such as Breaking Mental Health Stigma and Teaching Tough Issues Through Literature and offered webinars on SEL through PBS station WGBH.

Thanks to Cellucci’s influence and passion, “these types of sessions have opened dialog around how to begin exploring [SEL] topics with colleagues in all levels of schools. [They] help form pathways to bring [school] administration into the conversation,” she says. Most important, they help students achieve social and emotional wellness.

 

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