If These Halls Could Talk: Media Specialist Sherry Weiss


Photo by Zoe Moser

Media specialist Sherry Weiss chats with tech specialist Steve Mirman in the media center with whom she works closely. Weiss has worked at RHS for 18 years.

Elenna Mach, Editor-in-Chief

While walking in and out of the library, it is difficult not to spot student-created pieces of art, snowflakes hanging from the windows, lively plants decorating the room and media specialist Sherry Weiss.

Weiss joined the RHS community 18 years ago and has brought her past experiences into her teaching in the media center, which she has grown to be fond of.

“I absolutely love this library,” Weiss said. “Every day I walk in and I’m just thrilled to be here. I love it, I think it’s a wonderful place, a wonderful place for the students and I really enjoy working with the kids.”

Originally from New Jersey, Weiss attended New York University (NYU) and earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in cinema studies. She loved attending NYU because of the art and film scene and the fact that she could explore the city, as the city was the campus, she said. Her inspiration for going into film came in her junior year of high school when she watched a Charlie Chaplin silent film- she said she loved seeing the visual images and was hooked from then on.

Ever since she was young, Weiss loved art and film and sought to pursue a career in the arts industry. She worked at an art gallery in Manhattan from 1978-79 and was a copywriter for the package design firm in New York called Dixon and Parcels

The highlights of working at an art gallery were the art itself as well as getting to know the artists and learning from them, Weiss said. Another highlight was meeting prominent American artist Andy Warhol while at his exhibit in New York. However, she did not realize who he was until after their interaction.

“I loved being surrounded by the art,” Weiss said. “Although it was hard for me seeing a painting you really really like; you don’t want to sell it, I mean it was just so wonderful, some of the artists were just incredible.”

Travelling farther down the East Coast, Weiss arrived in Maryland because of her husband’s career in the Management Academy for the Post Office. They chose Montgomery County for their future three sons because of its reputation for being one of the finest education systems in the country at that time. Her oldest son, Jared Weiss, is now the director of advanced analytics for the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP), her middle child Gavin Weiss works for Kaiser Permanente and her youngest son, Dylan Weiss (‘06) is now a software engineer.

Weiss became a librarian because it was an amalgamation of her interests combining technology and her love of books, she said. As time goes on, Weiss has learned to adapt to the constant changes in RHS including student interests, curriculums and technological demands. For instance, she prefers to teach using analogies to film, television and literature but since the world and frame of reference has changed significantly over the years, it makes it more challenging to use this method.

“When I started as a media specialist 20 years ago, the job was totally different than it is now, totally, which is kind of interesting,” Weiss said. “It is one of the unique and wonderful things about this job is that it changes all the time.”

Most of the extensive and diverse collection of books found in the library have been hand-picked by Weiss for the past 18 years. Choosing these books is based on the curriculum as well as varied student interests.

“I have to say that Mrs. Weiss has a very good eye for purchasing books, both fiction and non-fiction. Often, she will pick out books that we’ll have in the collection and later they’ll show up on ‘Best Lists,’” media assistant Mary Wormley said. “She’s ahead of the game, she has a really good eye and this is an amazing collection of books and I don’t know if students realize the depth of it, the breadth of it.”

Using her experience and her love of art, Weiss is constantly decorating and designing the atmosphere of the media center to be a warm and welcoming space for students.

“I think that she’s very helpful and to the point. Due to that she’s always able to help people find the books they need or might like,” senior Kevin Akakpo said. “She also goes the extra mile to find books that you’d want but the school might not have. She [is] overall a positive presence in the school.”