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District nursing supervisor honored as Florida Association of School Nurses Administrator of the Year

By Staff | Feb 9, 2024

Wally Colon, the Lee County School District’s assistant director of Health Services, holds her Florida Association of School Nurses Administrator of the Year award. PROVIDED

The School District this week announced that Wally Colon has been selected as the 2024 Florida Association of School Nurses Administrator of the Year. Colon is the assistant director for Health Services and supervises the School District’s nursing staff.

“It was a great honor to stand in a room full of exceptional school nurses and administrators from all over Florida,” Colon said. “Many of them have been instrumental in my professional growth and have mentored, taught and supported me throughout my career. Our school nurses play a crucial role in bridging the gap between healthcare and education. They provide care coordination, advocate for quality student-centered care and promote ethical and evidence-based practices through interdisciplinary collaboration to help students achieve their full potential. I am proud to represent the School District of Lee County at the state and national levels.”

Colon has been instrumental in creating and fostering relations with outside organizations to ensure schools have access to epinephrine, Narcan and LifeVac anti-chocking devices. She has updated seizure protocols and increased the number of AEDs and opportunities for staff to become CPR-trained. Colon has also facilitated back-to-school health drives so students can get required immunizations and physicals.

“She empowers us daily to make changes, be a voice for our students and impact our community,” said School Nurse Melissa Wallace in her nomination letter.

School Nurse Misty DeSomma added, “She truly leads by example and is the epitome of what a leader should be.”

While Student Services Executive Director Jessica Duncan said, “Her passion for school nursing is contagious, and she has increased the respect and understanding of the role of school nurses across our district and community.”

The School Nurse Administrator of the Year award recognizes a nurse administrator who exhibits excellence in school nursing practice and leadership in school health. The criteria are based on the Framework for 21st Century School Nursing Practice, which provides structure and focus for the key principles and components of current-day, evidence-based school nursing practice.

These five key areas include:

• Standards of Practice

• Care Coordination

• Leadership

• Quality Improvement

• Community and Public Health

Colon was presented her award at the Florida Association of School Nurses annual conference in Tampa. She will be recognized by the School Board of Lee County for the honor at a future meeting. In June, Colon will represent Florida as a Nurse of Excellence at the National Association of School Nurses’ 56th Annual Conference.

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