CCSD Honors 2023 CCSD School Nurse of the Year
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower cheers as he congratulates Sandra McFarland of Avery Elementary School as the 2023 Cherokee County School District School Nurse of the Year. Looking on are, from left, Janet Read Welch, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta community development officer and CCSD Chief Operations Officer Dr. Debra Murdock.
The Cherokee County School District celebrated school nurses today with the presentation of the annual CCSD School Nurse of the Year Awards!
The awards program, now in its third year, was developed with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a CCSD Partner. As part of National School Nurse Appreciation Day and National Nurses Week in May, a top school nurse from each CCSD Innovation Zone (a high school and its feeder schools) was announced. The Zone winners advanced to the CCSD School Nurse of the Year Award judging, with the winner selected by a panel of nursing professionals and retired educators.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower today presented the 2023 CCSD School Nurse of the Year award to Sandra McFarland of Avery Elementary School (Creekview Zone)! The presentation was made before her colleagues from across the school district at the annual back-to-school professional development event for school nurses held at Cherokee High School. Ms. McFarland received prizes including a $500 Visa gift card, engraved plaque and honor banner, sponsored by Children’s Healthcare, in honor of her recognition.
“Our school nurses provide critically important care at our schools every day,” Dr. Hightower said. “They not only make our schools safer, healthier and happier places, they also save lives. We have seen students, staff and visitors experience medical emergencies at school and are so thankful for our heroes in scrubs who intervene and save lives. Nurse Sandra is highly deserving of this honor and an outstanding representative of her profession and our exemplary nursing team.”
The School Nurse of the Year Innovation Zone winners, who each received a $100 Visa gift card and an honor banner, are: for the Cherokee Zone, Kim Dorris, Clayton Elementary School; Etowah Zone, Tracy Cavanaugh, Bascomb Elementary School; River Ridge Zone, Kathy Cox, Johnston Elementary School; Sequoyah Zone, Christine Lynch, Dean Rusk Middle School; Woodstock Zone, Amber Palmer, Sixes Elementary School.
Janet Read Welch, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta community development officer, spoke at the event, and treated all of CCSD’s school nurses to lunch.
Ms. McFarland, who is beginning her 24th year as a school nurse, joined the former Buffington Elementary School staff in 2000 and then Avery in 2007. A Cherokee High School graduate, she earned her licensed practical nursing diploma (LPN) and first worked in long-term care and rehabilitation facilities. After her children started elementary school, Ms. McFarland began thinking about a career as a school nurse and decided to apply. Her first assignment brought her back to Buffington Elementary, where she attended school as a child.
“I fell in love with school nursing she said. “The school clinic can be a hectic place, and nurses balance it all. I am proud to be part of my school community and feel appreciated by our parents and staff.”
Principal Dr. Lisa Turner praised Ms. McFarland for her exceptional nursing skills, excellent communication with parents and strong advocacy for her students. “Nurse Sandra is a dedicated and compassionate nurse who is committed to providing the highest quality care to students.”
Over the past eight years they’ve worked together, Dr. Turner witnessed Ms. McFarland save the lives of two students including a kindergartner with an undiagnosed heart condition who experienced cardiac arrest at school. Ms. McFarland’s expert response, including use of an AED, saved his life.
“Nurse Sandra was there for our son on the most traumatic day of his life and has continued to be there for him any time he needs her,” the child’s mom shared. “In our eyes, there is no one more deserving of the School Nurse of the Year accolade.”
The Cherokee County School District today celebrated Sandra McFarland of Avery Elementary School as the 2023 CCSD School Nurse of the Year! From left, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, Chief Operations Officer Dr. Debra Murdock, Ms. McFarland, Janet Read Welch, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta community development officer and Cherokee County School Board Chair Kyla Cromer.
Sandra McFarland of Avery Elementary School is surprised with the news that she is the 2023 Cherokee County School District School Nurse of the Year.
The Cherokee County School District today celebrated Sandra McFarland of Avery Elementary School as the 2023 CCSD School Nurse of the Year. The school district, with award sponsor Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, recognized all six Innovation Zone winners at the special event.