Cheryl Fox Strausberg, Upper School Library Media Specialist, didn't always know that becoming a librarian would be her calling. A local, having grown up in Darnestown, Maryland, she was sure she was destined for a diplomatic life in DC. Those dreams brought Cheryl to Boston University, where she received a Bachelors degree in International Relations. While in undergrad, she spent a semester abroad at Haifa University in Israel, using that time to study Middle Eastern relations.
After receiving her degree, Cheryl excitedly dove into the government sector, working for Senator Paul Sarbanes. Getting a taste of the possibilities, she was ready to launch her next path towards becoming a diplomat and went back to school to earn a Masters in Political Science from NYU. This, her experience traveling to Israel in college, and her Masters thesis on religious democracies lead her to a two-year stint at the FBI as an Intelligence Analyst.
Not content with her career choice, Cheryl received advice that her skills and interest might fit well with Library Science. The rest was history. Cheryl got her first job as a librarian with B'nai Israel Congregation in Rockville. After she knew the library was where she was meant to be, she went back to receive another Masters degree in Library Science, this time from the University of Maryland. Armed with her new degree, Cheryl became a librarian with Montgomery County Schools. A great job offer for her husband led them to live in Arizona for two years, before they found their way back to their home base in Maryland. From there, Cheryl became a librarian at the Berman Hebrew Academy for four years.
Ready for a new adventure, Cheryl found her home at JDS. "I love it here, I have so much fun," Cheryl said. "I love being a librarian because I am a book nerd, and I love talking to people about books." Cheryl loves giving a student "that book" that changes their outlook on reading. Getting through to students who think they "hate" reading is the most rewarding for Cheryl and the media center team. "I also love teaching how to be a critical thinker," she said. "There is so much information out there that teaching students how to be critical of what they see is so important."
Cheryl works closely with teachers who do specific research projects to make sure all of the necessary resources are available to the students, both in print and online. She also makes sure the Media Center is properly supporting the curriculum of the school by providing a broad base of sources, and also ensures there is fun and engaging content in the library for students to enjoy. Cheryl is always there for direct instruction to help students find and properly use resources for research projects.
Outside of the Media Center, Cheryl is also the faculty advisor for the Baking Club and the co-advisor for the Board Game Club with Mr. Kugler. "We love watching the kids engage with each other for 30 minutes and not be distracted by technology."
At home, Cheryl continues her love for books, reading constantly. She also loves to travel with her husband, having been to over 20 countries. Always thinking of her next place to go, it's hard for her to choose favorite locations. However, Israel and seeing the Northern Lights in Sweden top the charts.
Reading remains Cheryl's first love, and being a librarian often doesn't feel like work. "Sometimes I cannot believe they pay me to do this job," she said. Being a part of the JDS community has also been extremely important to Cheryl. "It's truly the best part about being here. I feel like we are all just one big happy family. I love the teachers and students here, and getting to work with them every day."