(TNS) — Mark Ray, the chief digital officer for Vancouver Public Schools, has accepted a half-time position in which he will influence the course of school libraries on the national level.

He will be working for the Alliance for Excellent Education in Washington, D.C. In that role, Ray will work with the Future Ready Librarians initiative, a national effort to connect school libraries and librarians to innovative instructional practices.

Ray's new position is called Future Ready Librarians lead. He will have the opportunity to effect change at the national level for something he's passionate about — school libraries and librarians — and yet continue working for the local school district.

He explained that the Future Ready initiative "is about personalizing learning and changing learning environments."

"I won't be moving to D.C.," Ray said. "I'll be working with this agency from Vancouver. I'll be traveling a little more and doing presentations at conferences."

In January, Ray will continue working half time with the Alliance for Excellent Education and will begin a new position with the school district as director of innovation and library services.

"We need to critically look at what library space can be: the place for making, collaborating and sharing," Ray said. "It's about a shift in philosophy and practice in that library space."

Tom Hagley, the district's chief of staff, explained that in Ray's new position in the district in January, he will be key in expanding the use of digital content for student learning. Ray also will be "involved in facility planning related to our future bond program, incorporating, for example, 'maker spaces' into school designs. These are major trends in education across the country, and teacher-librarians play a central role in leading and supporting applications of technology in schools."

Ray grew up in Vancouver, attended the former Shumway Junior High (now Vancouver School of Arts and Academics) and graduated from Hudson's Bay High School. He started his career as a teacher-librarian in Vancouver Public Schools.

As a result of Ray's new position, the district is making the following staff changes:

Christina Iremonger, current principal at Vancouver iTech Preparatory, will become the district's chief digital officer Jan. 30. Darby Meade, current associate principal at Hudson's Bay High School, will become associate principal of iTech Preparatory in August. After Jan. 30, Meade will become principal of iTech Preparatory. Kevin Bryant will become associate principal at Hudson's Bay High School. Formerly, Bryant was instructional program coordinator in the University of Idaho's department of movement sciences. ©2016 The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.), distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.