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franklin county times

Franklin County Schools lead nurse school nurse named administrator of the year

The Alabama Association of School Nurses has named Diane Baker, lead nurse for Franklin County Schools, as the 2024 School Nurse Administrator of the Year. Baker is the school nurse at Phil Campbell High School and has more than 20 years of experience as a lead nurse/school nurse administrator and more than 25 years of experience as a school nurse. Baker has been the lead school nurse for FCS since October 2004.

She is responsible for the health services of the Franklin County School System and is the supervisor of all school nurses. In her role, is also responsible for the development and implementation of health policies and procedures, daily direct nursing care of students and is the presenter of annual required employee health education. In addition, she makes sure the students are up-to-date on their immunizations.

Baker was previously a nurse practitioner for the Franklin County Schools Mobile Health Clinic, as well as a nursing instructor at Bevill State Community College and a registered nurse at Helen Keller Hospital. Previous honors include the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Roger Bedford Unsung Hero award in March 2020 and the Franklin County Nurse of the Year award in 2006.

“Mrs. Baker is an outstanding nurse and an even better person,” said PCHS principal Bart Moss. “Not only does she serve as the school nurse for Phil Campbell High School, but she is also the Director of School Nurses for the Franklin County Schools system.”

Moss describes Baker as “a very caring person,” noting “she is always checking on students who have medical issues at our school,” adding she “keeps an open door for any student or staff member who needs medical attention.” Moss said she keeps the students and staff informed about the best health practices possible.

“Mrs. Baker is a longtime resident and respected member of the community,” Moss added. “Our parents know her and trust her to keep their children safe at school. She is very good at keeping me informed about issues that affect our students, and she always takes the initiative to contact parents about health issues that affect their children. She is an invaluable asset to our school and our school system.”

Andrea Mayberry, school nurse for the Franklin County Career Technical Center and Belgreen High School echoed his sentiments.

“She leads the school health team by example in service, professionalism and her love for her community,” she explained. “Diane has also led by example in her love for her community. In my opinion, there is not another nurse in the state of Alabama that has devoted this type of unique school nurse service yet still treats every day like it is her first day as a school nurse and treats each child as her own.”

Baker said she is “very honored” to receive the award, describing the news as “a total surprise.”

“I love my job as a school nurse administrator,” Baker explained. “The administrative aspect is I supervise all the nurses in the Franklin County Schools and make sure that we are meeting all the requirements for the Alabama State Department of Education and the Alabama Board of Nursing. The school nurse aspect involves directly interacting with students throughout the day, which is very rewarding, and there’s never a dull moment. You never know what’s going to come through your door.”

Baker said she started working for the Franklin County Schools 30 years ago – 1994, and has been ever since, aside from five years she took off when her children were young. She graduated from Hamilton High School in Marion County, Ala. and has lived in Franklin County for around 34 years. She has a Master of Science in Nursing from the Mississippi University for Women and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Alabama (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Kappa Phi honor societies).

“I just like interacting with the students and helping them succeed at school,” she continued. “My goal is if they have a health concern that impacts their learning, we want to help them learn to the best of their ability by doing what we can to make that possible through addressing their needs.”

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