Special Recognition awards were given to Ruth Ellen Luehr and the Harvard Club of MN Foundation for their enduring contributions to school nursing.
Mary Yackley, MA, RN, PHN, LSN, Supervisor of Student Health and Wellness for Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS), was named the 2017 School Nurse Administrator of the Year.
Sandra Munson MS, RN, LSN, NCSN, who works in the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (WHA) school district was named named School Nurse of the Year.
Congratulations to All!
Sandra Munson MS, RN, LSN, NCSN named School Nurse of the Year
Nurse Sandy Munson has been tending to the students at WHA since 1992, providing an invaluable service to the whole school community. Her dedication has led to the School Nurse Organization of Minnesota recognizing Sandy as the 2017 School Nurse of the Year. This honor, stemming from peer-nomination, recognizes one licensed school nurse annually who emulates the profession of School Nursing.
When a student walks into the Nurse’s office at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (WHA) school they are inevitably met by the warmly asked question “How are you?” It’s a question that is asked with the knowledge that a student can be having bigger problems than the scrape on their knee or their upset tummy. Sometimes a student needs more than a band aid, they need a confidante to share about missing a meal to or the chance to shed a few tears in a safe space before pulling themselves back together – ready to learn again.
In a statement of support from a fellow staff member, Sandy was praised as possessing infectious, “consistent enthusiasm for health care and its connection to learning...” Sandy not only provides medical care and healthy lifestyle information for students, but also helps to train paraprofessionals and teachers in CPR and how to respond in emergency medical situations.
Sandy’s love of teaching inspired her to attain a Master’s in Education, and in 2009 she started teaching a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program elective for High school students. Students who complete the program and pass the CNA test can find work in a variety of health care settings, or enter college with a pre-requisite for most nursing programs already completed. The success of this program is reflected in the high percentage of students who pursue work and/or additional education in a health care-related field.
Sandra provides mentorship to new nurses in the Northern region of Minnesota along with providing clinical preceptorships to nursing students from Bemidji State University. She has served as the Northern Representative for the SNOM organization and currently serves on the membership committee for the organization.
For her compassion, dedication and excellence in serving her school and community, Sandy’s recognition for her nomination is strongly deserved. Her co-worker and health assistant summarizes nicely that Sandy Munson is an accomplished and impressive school nurse who deserves recognition for her exemplary leadership in promotion of the health and education of Minnesota school children. Congratulations to Sandy Munson for her excellence in School Nursing, the service to the community she provides, and her profession.
Mary Yackley, MA, RN, PHN, LSN, Supervisor of Student Health and Wellness for Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS), has been named the 2017 School Nurse Administrator of the Year by the School Nurse Organization of Minnesota (SNOM).
Employed by SPPS for 17 years, Mary began her tenure as a Licensed School Nurse. In 2011 she was promoted to administrator to ensure the quality of nursing practices and standards across the District. Serving a student population of nearly 39,000 students, Mary has focused on improving student health by strengthening practices of school nurses and working with community partners with similar goals.
Mary is a strategic leader with strengths in resource utilization and community collaboration. Her collaboration efforts created a partnership with Health Partners to fund an electronic format for maintaining 504 plans. Electronic documentation has expanded to all student health records. The newest collaboration includes the formation of a Healthy Learner Advisory Board, as part of the Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children, a program through the Maternal Child Health Bureau. Among many community partnerships that promote student health in SPPS, Children’s Dental Services provides on-site treatment and screening; Phillips Eye Institute provides vision screenings; and the Kirby Puckett Eye Mobile provides site visits for examinations and glasses. Kohl’s and Children’s MN support student health through flu shots and asthma care coordination.
Currently, Mary supervises 90 employees, including licensed school nurses, licensed practical nurses, health assistants and clerks. Along with a team of school nurses, Mary developed a new appraisal tool to evaluate school nurse performance to align with Minnesota legislative mandates. Her staff notes that “Mary is an expert licensed school nurse and an inspired leader.” She is a champion supporter of school nurses and funnels her creative spirit in poems and songs to facilitate camaraderie among the staff. Her expertise is also shared on a state level with new school nurses during an orientation conference. She has served as co-chair of the special education committee for SNOM and has been a presenter at numerous annual SNOM conferences.
While promoting continuous learning for her staff, Mary embraces her own professional growth. Her Bachelor of Science in Nursing is from Saint Olaf College and her Master of Arts in Human Development is from Saint Mary’s University. As an administrator, she recently completed a Mini MBA certification in Health Care Management through the University of Saint Thomas. In 2016, Mary and a team of four SPPS school nurses were selected to participate in the Johnson and Johnson School Health Leadership Fellowship program.
An SPPS Human Resource staff person said of Mary, “Ms. Yackley’s clarity, passion and undeniable skills in nursing positively impact schools and the District operations every day.” Her staff describe her as an inspiring and effective leader who promotes the team with positive energy.