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The New Hampshire School Nurses' Association (NHSNA) announces a call for nominations for the
New Hampshire School Nurse of the Year 2024 -- 2025
Deadline to submit:  January 31st, 2023

This unique school year has underscored the necessity for and value of the school nurse; we hope that you will take this opportunity to recognize your outstanding school nurse for her/ his contributions to the school and community they serve. Do you know a great nurse? Share all that she (he) does for students, faculty, and community by nominating them for New Hampshire School Nurse of the Year.   

To be eligible for this award, Nominees must meet the following criteria:

            • Hold a License in the State of New Hampshire as a Registered Nurse
            • Currently practicing school nurse with minimum 3 years school nurse experience
            • Current membership & a minimum of 2 continuous years of membership in NHSNA

Unsure if your Nominee meets the criteria?  Email and we will help.


school nurse of the year 2023 - 2024

Ms. Renee D'Allesandro has been chosen as the New Hampshire School Nurses’ Association School Nurse of the Year 2023-2024 from an exceptional group of nominees. Rising to the challenge of school nursing, Ms. D’Allesandro’s nomination included testimonials from her colleagues at Concord High School that clearly demonstrate the trust and confidence she inspires in her school community. It is this collaborative spirit that best represents the values of the NH School Nurses’ Association and gets to the heart of her selection. Ms. D’Allesandro is described as a “student-centered nurse” that displays professionalism, compassion and genuine interest in each and every student she encounters. The New Hampshire School Nurse Association is thrilled to share and celebrate Ms. D’Allesandro’s achievements with this award.

School Nurse of the Year 2022 -2023

Karen Eylander of the Grantham Village School is the New Hampshire School Nurse of the Year.

Karen joined the Grantham Village School community in 2011, having previously worked as a nurse in the Level 1 Trauma Emergency Department at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

“Karen brought with her a calm emergency response and a wealth of experience and knowledge,” GVS administrators wrote in Eylander’s nomination. “The level of care that she was trained to perform, and which she has shown us time and time again, is remarkable.”

At a surprise school assembly where Eylander was informed of the honor, grateful colleagues gave her a crown and cape to wear, and a scepter custom made to resemble a giant nasal swab.

Eylander administers medications and other necessary medical procedures for individual students, communicates with staff about extended absences so learning materials can be distributed to students, and administers COVID-19 surveillance tests to the 211 students and staff who participate in the GVS pool testing program. She also wears personal protective equipment and conducts drive-through COVID-19 tests to symptomatic students and staff.

Eylander also uses every visit to the nurse’s office as an opportunity to encourage healthy habits among students and staff.

“If a child tells her that they don’t feel well, Karen doesn’t just ask about symptoms and take a temperature. She also takes the opportunity to talk about how germs spread and the importance of washing hands,” said Principal Kristen Reed. “At every possible opportunity, Karen stitches education into her medical duties as a nurse.”

Eylander’s work doesn’t end each day with the final school bell, though. She also orchestrates car rider pickup each afternoon, and then returns to the school building to fill out reports. On her way home each evening, she often delivers bags of school supplies to students who are under COVID-19 quarantine but whose parents are unable to get to school.

Eylander also participates in student meetings, and is a member of the Safe Return to School Committee, the Wellness Committee, the Emergency Response Committee, the Grantham Parent Teacher Group, and serves as a panelist in GVS family forums.

In her role on the Wellness Committee, Eylander has helped organize and implement challenges and activities for students and staff such as a food cook-off, a GVS fun run, and a glowstick snowshoe event for families.

Eylander also volunteers with the Upper Valley Humane Society, extending her care to animals as well. She also continues to work part-time at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and worked at many of the hospital’s COVID-19 testing locations since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The usual cuts and scrapes, screenings, fevers, and vomiting that she dealt with on a daily basis continued even as Karen added several other layers to daily life amid the COVID-19 pandemic: fever screenings, Department of Health and Human Services reports, COVID testing, and talking to every family’s healthcare provider at one point or another,” said Superintendent Leggett. “Through all this, she also took part in our weekly open parent/guardian check-in nights every Thursday night, where anyone from the community could join our team of administrators and our school nurse to ask questions and provide input. This is all above and beyond the usual call of duty.”

school nurse of the year 2021 - 2022

Colleen M. Roy MSN, RN, NCSN has received the Excellence in Education, School Nurse of the Year award. She was nominated by her fellow school nurse colleagues of the Winnisquam School District: Bobbie LaBranche, Kay Romero, Kellie Allen and Melanie Leathers. Her nomination was strongly supported by Winnisquam Superintendent, Mr. Robert Seaward, her principal, Mr. Siza Mtimbiri, many staff members and members of the community. Colleen has been the school nurse for Southwick School in Northfield for the past eleven years where she has been working tirelessly to maintain and improve the health of the entire school community.

Colleen received her Associates Degree in Nursing from the New Hampshire Technical Institute, her Bachelors in Nursing from Chamberlain University and her Masters in Nursing from Southern New Hampshire University, graduating summa cum laude.

Colleen is respected by her nurse colleagues, teaching staff, students and families and excels in all areas of school nursing. She provides compassionate and knowledgeable care to her students and staff. She has an extraordinary ability to access health information, current data and resources that she readily shares with her fellow nurses and school community. This year in particular, Colleen has worked non-stop to keep abreast of the latest public health recommendations, participating in the New Hampshire School Nurse Association (NHSNA) task force and community committees over the summer, and throughout the year including weekends and evenings to help her schools reopen safely. She regularly demonstrates her knowledge of nursing practice when consulted regarding unusual diagnoses or situations, invariably providing recent research, references to school nurse resources or public health entities. She also is a mentor to the newer school nurses in the district and to those working to further their education. She is a great role model for her colleagues, exemplifying all that a school nurse should be. Colleen’s calm approach, caring demeanor and her sense of humor are valued strengths, especially during this past year.

As noted by Superintendent, Robert Seaward, “Colleen’s commitment to the staff, students and the entire community is simply amazing. Not only is she a devoted nurse who works tirelessly, providing her students with the very best medical care and education on a daily basis, but she is also in charge of all nursing related matters that come to my attention at the SAU....Colleen has been at the center of all pandemic planning, participated in community forums and communicated with all levels of stakeholders about the importance of taking the pandemic seriously. Truly, Colleen has been the foundation upon which we have built so much of our response to the covid pandemic.”

The principal of her school Siza Mtimbiri notes he has found, “Colleen to be an extremely dedicated provider with a passion for students and adults in our school and district at large.” He also reports, “Her transformational leadership style is inspirational in moving teams to meet students’ needs in exceptional ways.  Her exemplary leadership,  as she collaborates with other nurses in the District, enables us to not only stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic, but to provide a safe space for students and adults to thrive. Thus far, her 30 year commitment, with 11 of those years dedicated to our District, speaks to her compassionate passion and dedication imbued with the highest ethical standards, unusual skill and knowledge of her craft.”

School nurse of the year 2020-2021

The New Hampshire School Nurses' Association is pleased to announce the 2020-2021 School Nurse of the Year:
Amy Noonan Holobowicz RN, Kearsage Regional Middle School, North Sutton, NH!

Mrs. Holobowicz received her BS in Health Education at Plymouth State College and earned her Associates in Nursing at Rivier College. She arrived at Kearsarge in 2015 and wasted no time in seeking opportunities to improve the health and wellness of the 400 middle schoolers in her care.  When the student body approached her with concerns about food security, she worked with them to develop a proposal for the principal;  the Kearsarge Kares backpack program now provides weekly grocery supplements to families in need. When Mrs. Holobowicz identified a need to provide education on the health hazards of vaping, she collaborated with local law enforcement and school counselors to deliver education to all her school community stakeholders. To better coordinate care for students recovering from concussions, Mrs. Holobowicz pursued grant funding and developed a "Chalk Talk" program to educate staff; when funding ended, she quickly pivoted the program model to collaborate with local healthcare providers.

Of her deep commitment to her community, Principal Steve Paterson says, "Nurse Amy has had a positive impact on nearly every facet of our school... she applies that same level of dedication to all areas of her work. She is always there, supporting students and their families."

Mr. Paterson's sentiment is echoed by another coworker, "Nurse Amy is a gift of compassion and empathy, as she provides endless nurturing for a range of students."

Representing the highest professional practice standards of school nursing and a commitment to supporting school nursing interests through the NH School Nurses' Association and the National Association of School Nurses, the New Hampshire School Nurses' Association is very proud to present, Amy Noonan Holobowicz BS, RN as the 2020-2021 School Nurse of The Year.

2020 Lifetime Achievement Award

Harriet T. Davenport, BS, RN, has been selected to receive a New Hampshire School Nurse LIfetime Achievement Award.

Ms. Davenport’s career in nursing spans nearly 50 years and includes 25 years within the Keene School District (retired in 2018) and ongoing support in substitute school nursing and wellness programs in the Monadnock region. In addition to the hands-on daily care provided to countless New Hampshire students, Ms. Davenport has been an active participant in the NHSNA - fulfilling leadership and advocacy roles to advance the practice and public awareness of school nursing as a distinct speciality.

Ms. Davenport’s distinguished career in school nursing represents a model for 21st Century School Nursing Practice; her professional work within the school and community as well as her work with the New Hampshire School Nurses' Association demonstrate her commitment to the values of our organization and a standard for which to strive. We, the NHSNA, congratulate her on this career milestone!

Kathleen Sherman-DeRoche, BSN, RN 2019 - 2020 School Nurse of the Year

Kathleen Sherman-DeRoche, BSN, RN received the Excellence in Education, School Nurse of the Year award. She is known as Nurse Kate, and she recieved her award at the 26th Annual EDies (New Hampshire Excellence in Education) award ceremony on June 8th, 2019.   She was nominated by Michelle Auger, Principal at Pollard School in the Timberlane Regional School District in Plaistow NH.  Kate exemplifies the 21st Century school nurse by her leadership and care coordination. Her broad knowledge of her community, public health and her efforts to constantly improve on the practice of school nursing she keeps her students healthy, safe, and ready to learn.

Pictured at the Edies award are (L-R)  Laura Gifford, Chair of the School Nurse of the Year Committee,  Nurse Kate (as her students like to call her) and Kathy Barth, President of the New Hampshire School Nurses' Association.

Kate received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of New England in 2002. She has been the School Nurse at the Pollard School for eleven years, serving over 500 students from preschool to grade 5.. In 2013 Kate was voted in by her peers as the Lead Nurse for the district, acting as a liaison between the district’s 12 school nurses and the Director of Student Services. She coordinates and collaborates the health care needs of students with medical needs, including both the District Autism program and District Emotional Disabilities program within the district.

She gives 100% to the students she cares for and has a passion for school nursing. she organized the “Blue Bag Program” with the local Plaistow Lions Club. They have distributed over 20 bags of food to students that have food insecurity each weekend for the past four years.

Kate is also an integral part of her school community she is a board member with the Granite State Dental Program, which brings dental screening and treatment to families who can’t afford dental care. She was instrumental in fundraising and building the school’s new playground. In 2016, she was honored with the Plaistow Women in Leadership Award for her service to the town of Plaistow.

Kate was selected for the EDies award by the New Hampshire School Nurses Association. She has been an active member since 2004 and a member of the National Association of School Nurses since 2010. This year’s theme for the NH School Nurse’s Spring Conference is “Building Connections with the Framework for 21st Century School Nursing Practice”. It is quite evident that Nurse Kate has built many important connections with town and school district personnel, all for the good of the students she works with. The Association is honored to present her award as NH School Nurses’ Association School Nurse of The Year for 2019.

Respectfully submitted by:
Michelle Auger Principal, Pollard School
Laura Gifford BSN, RN New Hampshire School Nurses’ Association
School Nurse of the Year Committee Chair

Susan Linehan BSN, RN -- South Range Elementary School

The New Hampshire School Nurses’ Association is very proud to present Susan Linehan, BSN as the 2018-2019 School Nurse of the year.  She will be receiving her award at the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Awards on June 9th, 2018.  

Susan works at the South Range Elementary School in Derry, NH.  Susan exemplifies the 21st Century school nurse by her leadership, care coordination, her knowledge of community and public health, and her efforts to constantly improve on the practice of school nursing.  By doing so, she keeps students healthy, safe, and ready to learn. Susan received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UNH in 1986.  Since then, she has as a pediatric nurse at Children’s Hospital in Boston as a staff nurse and then in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and has also worked at Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California, and at Parkland Medical Center in Derry.

Susan has been the school nurse for 10 years at South Range Elementary in Derry, NH serving about 350 students and staff. She gives 100% to the students she cares for and has a passion for school nursing.  She coordinates and collaborates for the care of student with medical needs, including the Autism program within the school. She provides ongoing nursing assessments, care planning, and emergency care for those in her care.  She is an integral part of her school community.  Susan is Vice President of the board to the Children’s Dental Network and was a board member of the Derry Community Fund from 2011-2015. She has been an active member in the NH School Nurses’ Association since 2004 and a member of the National Association of School Nurses since 2010.

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