Riverside’s newest media coordinator Alyssa Putt has always had a gift for putting the right book in the right hands at the right time.
“I loved when I would have kids come into my classroom and be like, ‘I hate reading. I don’t want to read. You’re not going to be able to get me to read,’” Putt said. “And then I’d be like, ‘But what about this graphic novel?’ They would be like, ‘Oh, I love this series.’”
Putt taught English at Neal Middle School for four years before leaving the classroom to pursue her Master’s degree in library science at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Fellow Riverside media coordinator Kate Mester says Putt’s classroom experience is exactly what will make her successful in her new position.
“That background is invaluable because we are a teaching position,” Mester said. “I can’t train someone to inherently, passionately care about kids.”
Riverside principal Tonya Williams-Leathers describes Putt as someone with a great deal of energy, passion, and initiative.
“Ms. Putt is almost a mirror image of Ms. Mester,” she said, “and who wouldn’t want another Ms. Mester around?”
Putt herself says she was drawn to education because it is a space meant to serve as a great equalizer.
“She’s really equity-minded, as in not a buzzword, as in full-on purpose to make sure that every kid gets something,” Mester said.
Putt helped with freshman orientation and laptop deployment, created a how-to guide about school hotspots, and continues to be available to families who call the school with technology-related questions.
Outside of the media center, she enjoys gardening, propagating house plants, and studying plant identification. This summer, Putt harvested about 13 pounds of fruits and vegetables from her garden weekly.
While her first year as a media coordinator is obviously not what she predicted, Putt is still looking forward to the year.
“I have kind of joked since the beginning that this is my dream job in, like, the worst moment in history,” she said. “While it hasn’t been the year I envisioned as my first year as a librarian, it’s been really inspiring just to see how dedicated kids are and how much they want to learn, despite the fact that this is just really challenging time for everyone.”