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CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR FINALIST PROFILE: School Nurse Has Been Carver-Lyon’s ‘Superhero’ During COVID-19 Pandemic

Tammy Johnson Attending to bumps, bruises and sore throats, keeping up with school-wide health education initiatives and certifications, and dispensing medication are all in a day’s work for Tammy Johnson.

Johnson is the school nurse at Carver-Lyon Elementary School, and she is one of six school-level Classified Employees of the Year who are in the running for the district-level distinction.

What her colleagues find remarkable about her is that she manages to do her job with a smile and a word of reassurance each day for all who come in contact with her.

“I have witnessed Nurse Johnson perform various tasks related to her job description, as I have seen other nurses do the same, but the performance factor that outweighs all others is Nurse Johnson’s ability to effectively work under stress,” said Carver-Lyon Principal Dr. Monica Adams.

Contact tracing, testing, identifying positive COVID-19 cases and alerting and educating families since the onset of the pandemic, coupled with her normal duties, hasn’t diminished her zeal, according to Dr. Adams.

“Nurse Johnson has been Carver-Lyon’s superhero during these unpredictable, ever-changing and evolving times of COVID-19,” said Dr. Adams, who noted that she has witnessed Johnson calming the concerns of disgruntled parents over COVID-19 protocols with a voice that can only be likened to a lullaby.

Yet another witness of her ability to meet various needs well under pressure, particularly during the pandemic, is Elizabeth Carroll, who teaches French to kindergarten students in the language immersion program at Carver-Lyon.

“(Nurse Johnson) has assumed the unenviable position (of) “COVID czarina” of our school,” said Carroll. “We are very lucky to have her as she has definitely expanded her already (vast) skill set.”

Every duty she performs as a nurse can ultimately be traced back to her love of children, said Johnson, who recalled an incident where she was administering daily medication to a student.

“He has been known to hide medicine in his mouth, so after I check to make sure he has swallowed his medicine, I talk with him for a few moments, just to make sure,” said Johnson.

Her methods of reaching the students are noteworthy, according to Carroll, who also occasionally assists Johnson.

“I am struck by her tireless dedication which balances empathy and attention to detail in relating the latest recommendations to keep us all safe,” said Carroll.

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