West Jeff Schools hires new district nurse

(Posted Dec. 19, 2023)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

Twenty-five years ago, Melissa Ferguson walked through the doors of Jefferson Local Schools tasked with bandaging skinned knees, soothing sick tummies, lending a caring hand, and watching over the health of thousands of children.

She worked with Madison County Public Health and graduated from Mount Carmel’s School of Nursing in 1991 before joining the district staff as a school nurse in 1999. Her days started at the high school/middle school, then before lunch she made her way to Norwood Elementary where she spent the rest of her day unless needed elsewhere.

“Melissa has been absolutely outstanding as our school nurse,” said Superintendent William Mullett, “and she is so dedicated to kids.

“During COVID, I relied very much on Melissa and her guidance. She always has been very supportive.”

Ferguson retired at the start of Christmas break on Dec. 20. Her replacement, registered nurse Tami Burgett, worked alongside Ferguson and is now the district’s new nurse. Burgett previously worked at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and is a West Jefferson resident. Her three daughters are Jefferson Local students.

“There were several good candidates that Madison Health interviewed,” Mullett reported.

When classes resume on Jan. 3, parents and guardians are reminded that if their child is sick, they should be kept home if they have any cold and flu symptoms, such as a fever greater than 100 degrees, vomiting or diarrhea, and/or a persistent cough that disrupts normal activities.

Children also should be kept home if they have pink eye, unexplained rashes, or head lice.

Anyone who sends their child to school but is unsure of their health condition, should call (614) 879-7642, ext. 3305, to make the district nurse aware of the situation. Parents are asked not to tell their child they can call them first if they start to feel sick at school.

Other district news
During the Dec. 12 school board meeting, Mullet honored the service of departing board members Dr. Meg Hiss and Mike Quinn. Hiss joined the board in 2001 and Quinn in 2018.

“It’s going to be a great loss of so much experience. They were both outstanding board members,” Mullett said.

“Meg has been a part of the phenomenal success of the district for many years, and I will miss Meg and her leadership. Mike was one of those people who has great common sense and makes great decisions. He would stand up for what he believed in but wasn’t closed minded.”

In the November 2023 election, Loriena Roberts retained her board seat, and Shelton Stanley and Rhonda Tabor were newly elected to the board.

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