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Mrs. Pugliese: Woodland’s Favorite and Treasured Substitute

Students walk into Woodland’s media center now, take a look around, and are accustomed to everything it has to offer. Little do many students know that each resource was hand selected with extreme thoughtfulness and care by staff upon the beginnings of Woodland, with one of them being our very own Janice Pugliese.

Now a beloved substitute teacher, Pugliese was actually one of Woodland’s original media specialists with a long professional history.

“I am a certified teacher, retired, and my last fifteen years were here at Woodland as a library Media Specialist. Before, I was at Wolcott high school for nine years and then City Hill Middle School for seven in Naugatuck. Before that I was in public libraries for 11 years,” Pugliese explained.

Pugliese is a prime example of taking passion and turning it into a career. She always had a love for teachings and libraries, so she pursued her masters in Library Science, went back to school to become a certified teacher, and even got her department chair certification.

“I was a department chair as well as a library media specialist here at the school,” Pugliese said.

As such, Pugliese became the perfect person to take on the vital role of building Woodland’s library.

“I was meeting regularly with the other department chairs in the building; all other departments and the administrators of course and we were able to build a program that way, aligning our library materials including the print as well as subscription databases and resources available online,” Pugliese explained.

It is evident that our media center was a group effort which accounted for many of Woodland’s educational needs and stylistic preferences. Many books were chosen based on what teachers were teaching. To take it a step further, many books not only catered to class curriculum, but also to what individual teachers tended to focus on more within that particular class. Of two history teachers teaching U.S. History for sophomores, one may focus on the Cold War more while the other might take a deep dive into industrialization, and Woodland’s library is more than equipped with the resources to allow teachers this liberty.

There were easier ways to build our library, but Pugliese decided against them, and this is part of why our library is so special.

“There were Opening Day Collections that you could buy from different jobs and vendors for starting a new high school library, but I chose not to use that so every book was individually chosen and ordered. It took a long time, but it was a wonderful opportunity,” Pugliese said.

So next time you walk into Woodland’s library, take a moment to appreciate the books sitting on the shelves, and know that each has a reason and history behind why they are here.

Ava Laudadio

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