Fayette County Public Health contracts with the local school districts — Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) and Miami Trace Local Schools (MTLS) — to provide nurses to take care of students.
Several of the nurses have been in their positions for years. Who is taking care of the community’s youth? Meet the local school nurses:
Melissa Reed RN, BSN — Miami Trace High School (MTHS)
Reed grew up in Fayette County and graduated from MTHS in 2002. She has been married to her husband Jeff for 16 years and they have three children — Paighten, Wyatt and Harli. In her spare time, Reed enjoys watching her daughters play softball, camping, and just spending time with her family.
She has been a nurse for seven years and, for all seven of those years, has worked at the MTHS. The most challenging aspect of being a school nurse, according to Reed, is “working through and navigating things through peak illness times like flu, COVID, etc.”
Her favorite part about being a school nurse is the students.
“I enjoy getting to know the kids and building relationships with them. I want them to know I’m there for them, and that I’m someone they can come to no matter what the situation is,” she explained.
Emily Bower RN, BSN — Miami Trace Middle School (MTMS)
Bower grew up in Seattle, Washington.
“I have been married to my husband Jed for 19 years. I have two children — Ethan (15), who is a sophomore at MTHS, and Emma (12), who is a seventh grader at MTMS. I have lived in Ohio for 18 years on our farm,” she explained.
Bower has been a nurse for 10 years and a school nurse for MTLS for two of those years, making this her third year as a school nurse. Bower ‘s favorite part about being a school nurse is “being a part of helping the kids learn and develop relationships” as well as teaching responsibility.
The most challenging aspect of being a school nurse, according to Bower, is multitasking and prioritizing care when the clinic is busy — such as during cold, flu, and COVID season.
While there are some challenges, she explained that having one nurse responsible for each school is great for continuity of care.
Amanda Brown RN — Miami Trace Elementary (MTE)
Brown has been a nurse for 10 years, and this is her eighth year at MTE. She keeps busy outside of her professional life with her child.
“I am a mom to one fantastic 13-year-old that keeps me busy playing travel baseball and MTMS football,” she wrote.
When asked about the most challenging aspect, Brown explained, “I would say the most challenging part of my job is sometimes minimizing the time a child spends with me in the clinic. I want the students and staff to feel like my door is always open but also recognizing that they need to be in the classroom as much as possible.”
Brown‘s favorite part about being an elementary school nurse is taking care of the kids, getting to know them and their families.
“My role as MTE clinic nurse truly brings me joy. I could not imagine my career any different and hope that I leave a positive influence on the students and families I interact with,” she explained.
Tracy Dye RN, BSN — Washington Middle (WMS) and High Schools (WHS)
Dye is a lifelong resident of Fayette County and graduated from WHS. She attended Southern State Community College, then Ohio University for her BSN.
“I have been married to my husband Trent for 25 years. We raised our three daughters here. They all graduated from WCHCS. (We) are expecting our first grandchild in September,” she explained.
Dye has been a nurse for 28 years and a school nurse for WCHCS for six of those years. Dye‘s favorite part about being a school nurse is watching the students grow into young adults.
“I am grateful to work with such a great group of students and staff at WMS and WHS,” she explained.
Kate Halliday RN, BSN — Washington Middle and High Schools
Halliday is a 1998 graduate of WHS. She has been a nurse for 18 years and has worked for WMS and WHS for two years.
Her favorite part about being a school nurse is having a sense of community while the most challenging aspect is ensuring all aspects of safety.
Holly Johnson RN, BSN — Belle Aire Intermediate (BAI)
Johnson is a lifelong resident of Fayette County.
“I love my small town,” she explained. “I am a graduate of Miami Trace (Local) Schools and Ohio University. I enjoy cooking, reading, traveling, and spending time with my family.”
Johnson has been a nurse for eight years and this will be her second year as a school nurse for BAI. Johnson‘s favorite part about being a school nurse is being able to care for many kids with a variety of needs and be a supportive role model for them.
The most challenging aspect of being a school nurse, according to Johnson, “is wanting to help the kids more, but not being able to when their needs are out of my scope of practice.”
She explained she is excited to begin her eighth year working as a clinic nurse for one of the Fayette County Schools.
Kris Wright, RN — Belle Aire Intermediate
Wright grew up in Fayette County and graduated from MTHS.
She has been a nurse for 17 years, and this is her second year as a nurse for BAI.
“I am excited to start my second year as a school nurse,” she explained.
This year, she explained the most challenging aspect is dealing with COVID and keeping everyone healthy.
Wright’s favorite part about being a school nurse is getting to see and talk to the students.
Cindy Throckmorton RN, BSN — Cherry Hill Primary
Throckmorton lives in Leesburg with her husband Tom.
“Together we have five adult children and six grandchildren with one on the way,” she explained.
Her hobbies include tumbler making, photography and cake decorating.
Throckmorton has been a nurse for 12 years and a school nurse at Cherry Hill for five of those years, making this her sixth year.
The most challenging aspect of being a school nurse right now is dealing with COVID-related issues.
Throckmorton explained her favorite part about being a school nurse is “the kids are so fun, and inquisitive, and appreciative.”
Amy Friel RN — Cherry Hill Primary
Friel is originally from El Paso, Texas. She and her husband have been married for 17 years and moved to Washington Court House eight years ago with their children.
Friel has been a nurse for three years and a school nurse for CHP for two of those years.
Her favorite part about being a school nurse is “watching these kiddos grow.”
“I hate seeing anyone in pain, so the most challenging would be seeing them when they hurt,” she explained.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.