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Newport-Mesa Nurses Presented with 2021 Excellence in School Nursing Awards
Posted 6/15/21

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Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) is pleased to announce that three outstanding health services employees received excellence awards from the  Orange County School Nurses Organization (OCSNO). Ms. Susan Curtin was awarded the School Readiness Nurse of the Year for Excellence in School Readiness Nursing, Ms. Christy Craig was awarded the School Nurse of the Year for Excellence in School Nursing, and Ms. Merry Grasska was awarded the School Nurse Administrator of the Year Award.

Health services professionals are nominated for the countywide award program by their peers and/or school community members. Consideration for OCSNO Nurse Awards is based on accomplishments and contributions to the practice of school nursing, student health, and health services programs at schools. The selection process is managed by the OCSNO governing board and nominations are judged based on:

  • Service in schools and the community

  • Level of skill and academic accomplishment

  • Advancement of student and family health

  • Establishment and improvement of standards of care practice 

  • Protocol and program development

  • Collaboration with community partners, volunteer work, and leadership, and more 

“We are grateful to all of our hard-working health services employees,” said Assistant Superintendent, Student Support Services Dr. Sara Jocham. “We are exceptionally proud and congratulate this year's winners for positively impacting the lives of students, families, and colleagues each and every day!” she said.


Nurse Award Winners:

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Ms. Susan Curtin, School Readiness Nurse of the Year for Excellence in School Readiness Nursing 

Ms. Curtin has served in school readiness and early childhood education for more than ten years and is recognized as a leader, always prepared for what is needed to serve students. She is collaborative and often mentors fellow nurses and student nurses. As a credentialed school nurse and pediatric nurse practitioner, she trains staff in CPR, first aid instruction, Automated External Defibrillator (AED), and Stop the Bleed. She exemplifies a nurturing, caring, and compassionate approach to all she does. 

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Ms. Christy Craig, School Nurse of the Year for Excellence in School Nursing

Ms. Craig joined NMUSD nearly three years ago and has quickly become a valuable nurse at Costa Mesa Middle and High School. She prioritizes building relationships and connections with students and their families. She goes above and beyond to address students’ needs, including both their physical and mental health. Additionally, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Craig was instrumental in contract tracing for the athletic department to foster a healthy environment for staff and students. She is recognized for her extensive knowledge in health services and is a great resource to her school community. 

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Ms. Merry Grasska, School Nurse Administrator of the Year

Ms. Grasska has been with NMUSD for more than 30 years and is a nationally certified family nurse practitioner. Throughout her tenure, she has actively served on boards of professional nursing organizations, public health organizations, and school-based health center associations. As the administrative director of health services, she is responsible for the oversight of all school health services employees and programs districtwide. She is responsive to the needs of students and employees, always providing support and encouragement as staff continually develop in their professional roles to support students' needs. Through this past year, she was instrumental in working with school nurse leaders countywide to develop common standards and guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In previous years, Ms, Grasska also has been recognized as a National School Nurse of the Year.

NMUSD's award-winning student support services and mental health programs focus on the holistic development of all students.  As a strong supporter of the well-being of our students, the District offers parent education wellness programs, flu clinics, and more.

The winners will be submitted for consideration in the California School Nurse Organization Awards Program.