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Payne brings experience, enthusiasm to media post

By Staff | Oct 15, 2009

Joining the staff of The Sanibel School a month into the new school year was kind of like jumping onto a train after it’s already left the station, but media coordinator and video production specialist Libby Payne now considers herself “up to speed.”

“I came here two weeks ago, and it was almost overwhelming,” said Payne, who has spent most of her career teaching in various schools throughout Lee County. “I’m a quick learner, but there was a steep learning curve. Everybody here has been so welcoming and helpful, which makes this such a great place to work.”

Payne, who grew up in Ohio, graduated from Penn State University in 1988 with a degree in Special Education. Since relocating to Florida, she has worked at the Royal Palm Exceptional Center, Riverside School, Gulf Middle School, Christa McAuliffe Charter Elementary School and Calusa Middle School.

At Calusa, Payne served as media specialist after deciding to turn her educational talents in a somewhat different direction.

“I had worked with kids with so many learning disabilities, and technology plays such a crucial role to improving their quality of life, that I began leaning towards media technology,” she said, explaining that a project to start a library at her church further motivated her interests.

After earning her state certification, Payne spent four years running the media center at McAuliffe Charter, then expanded into TV production while at Calusa.

“When I got here, I didn’t know what to expect,” said Payne of her arrival at The Sanibel School. “So on the first day, I told the students to just show me what they did every day. And let me tell you, these kids know what it takes to run a production studio. I was pretty amazed.”

The Fort Myers Beach resident and single mom to eighth grader Ellie Gressman, gives a lot of credit to former media coordinator Arlene Dillon, who recently left The Sanibel School to pursue a career outside of education.

“I’ve known Arlene for years, and she was instrumental in me getting the job here,” Payne noted. “She still comes in from time to time and is teaching me more about the equipment and the media center, so the more knowledge I can gain from her, the better.”

Even with only modest experience on Sanibel, Payne is very enthusiastic about being able to continue her career at the National Blue Ribbon Award-winning facility.

“This school is so great – who wouldn’t want to be teaching here?” she asked. “This is an amazing opportunity for me.”