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CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR FINALIST PROFILE: School Nurse Has Been a ‘Solid Rock’ for W.G. Sanders During Pandemic

Neille HawkinsThe COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a fresh appreciation for the school nurse. Neille Hawkins, a nurse at W.G. Sanders Middle School, is among the school nurses in Richland One whose roles have been crucial in navigating the challenges created by the pandemic.

“Emotionally, she (Hawkins) serves as our solid rock,” said W.G. Sanders Principal Andrenna Smith. “She is never shocked or amazed by the various circumstances that are presented during the day. Her calmness is what keeps us calm.”

Hawkins is one of six school-level Classified Employees of the Year who are in the running for the district-level distinction.

Candice Parnell, assistant principal at W.G. Sanders, said Hawkins’ work ethic and performance are always unparalleled, but especially during the pandemic. Parnell said Hawkins spent countless hours in the school office when many employees were working remotely.

“She stayed late to ensure all protocols were followed and all questions were answered,” said Parnell. “She provided parent sessions on safety protocols that kept our parents abreast of the changes that were confusing, to say the least. She is our hero, and we are grateful for her courage.”

The past two years have been riddled with contact tracing, quarantining and educating Richland One stakeholders about COVID-19. In addition to her expanded responsibilities, Hawkins continues to provide students with first-aid care and health assessments and administer and monitor their medications on a daily basis. She sees herself as an advocate for quality student-centered care.

“I like being the voice for clarification and a voice of knowledge in times such as these,” said Hawkins. “I like being there for children who need support in healthy living and lifestyles. I like making a difference.”

Hawkins’ nursing expertise is astounding, according to Smith.

“She provides ongoing training for our students, our staff and our parents,” said Smith. “She is frequently requested by our School Improvement Council to conduct monthly sessions just to explain the documents that have been presented our district.”

The new Richland One Classified Employee of the Year will be announced May 27 during the district’s Celebration 2022 employee recognition event.