Springlake resident honored as Maryland School Health Nurse of the Year

School nurses are the backbone of any school as they deal with day-to-day health concerns, emotional and physical health and the overall wellness of the entire school community.

Alison Merani, school nurse at Pikesville High School, is one of the best and was recently honored as the 2018-2019 Maryland School Health Nurse of the Year at a surprise ceremony Oct. 11. The award was presented by Mary Nasuta, MSN, RN, president of the Maryland Association of School Health Nurses.

According to the association, the award is presented to someone who exemplifies the best in school nursing practice through clinical expertise, research and education, management, mentoring, advocacy and leadership.

Alison was nominated for the award by Eileen Ertel, MSN, RN, the supervisor of health services for Baltimore County Public Schools, who wrote: “Nurse Merani is an extraordinary nurse who demonstrates compassion, dedication, and boundless energy in her work to advance health outcomes for the Pikesville High School community.”

She also noted that Alison has organized countless programs targeted at the specific needs of the high school community, addressing issues including nutrition, healthy dating relationships, tobacco and drug use, distracted driving, and more. Nurse Merani also serves as the sponsor for the school’s Future Nurses of America Club, and she has coordinated numerous activities for these future nurses.

Alison is a resident of the Springlake community and is a graduate of Dulaney High School and Towson University. She has been the school nurse at Pikesville High for the past four years and is a 14-year veteran of BCPS. She also was a longtime volunteer at Pot Spring Elementary School with the PTA’s Wellness Committee. Students in our communities have long benefited from her passion and dedication to all aspects of health and well-being.

As the state winner, Alison will be honored at the Maryland Association of School Health Nurses Annual Conference in Ocean City in March 2019, and she will be honored by the National Association of School Nurses. Congratulations to Alison on this wonderful accomplishment and for serving our schools so well.

High school coaches can also have a profound and direct impact on both their student-athletes and the greater school community, and that’s exactly the role that Anita Shaw has embraced. Anita, also of Springlake, was honored as the Education Advocate of the Year by the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities at its 28th annual awards ceremony on Oct. 17.

Anita is the dedicated head of Allied Sports at Dulaney High School, which is an inclusive program that affords students with disabilities the opportunity to participate in sports like soccer, bowling and softball alongside their non-disabled peers. Under Anita’s direction, the Allied Sports program has grown, not just at Dulaney, where an ever-increasing number of students participate, but Anita has also expanded the program to include intercounty events and matches.

Anita was specifically honored for actively working to instill a positive educational experience for, and a positive attitude toward, students with disabilities in county schools. Congratulations to Anita, as the positive influence of her work is certainly embraced and celebrated by the entire Dulaney school community.

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