A Cherokee County School District school nurse has been honored by Gov. Brian Kemp with the prestigious Georgia RISE (Recognizing Inspirational School Employees) award for her work as a nurse.

Oak Grove Elementary School STEAM Academy School Nurse Nadia Jones is one of only two Georgians selected by Kemp for the award, which honors school support staff.

“Nadia Jones and Anna Singleton, a student information systems coordinator for Fayette County Public Schools, represent the best of our public schools,” Kemp said in a statement. “They are among the heroes who worked hard to keep our students safe, healthy, and learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am honored to recognize these two outstanding Georgians with the RISE Award.”

Jones, who is in her fifth year as a CCSD school nurse, will be recognized by the Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools Brian Hightower at the School Board’s meeting next week.

“The school board and I are incredibly proud of Nadia (Jones) for earning this honor,” Hightower said. “She is a hero among us and well-deserving of this State recognition. We deeply appreciate all that she does every day to ensure the health and well-being of her students, her colleagues and her community.”

As the 2020-21 winners of the Georgia RISE Award, they have also been submitted as Georgia’s nominees for the national RISE Award. In spring 2021, the U.S. Department of Education began awarding the RISE Award each year, to one full-time or part-time school support staff employee who provides exemplary service to students in pre-kindergarten through high school. The governor of each state is invited to nominate up to two nominees annually.

Georgia runs a state-level process to select its nominees. All schools and districts were invited to submit a nominee for the Georgia RISE Award. Nomination forms were reviewed by a panel of judges composed of representatives from the Georgia Department of Education and numerous advocacy groups. The highest-scoring applications were presented to Kemp, who made the final selection of two nominees.

In July, Jones was named the winner of the inaugural Cherokee County School District School Nurse of the Year award, sponsored by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She also was named her school’s 2019-20 Support Staff Employee of the Year award winner as part of the annual CCSD recognition program.

Jones manages chronic illnesses, administers medications, performs first aid, fosters a healthy school environment, cares for students’ mental health needs, teaches lessons in the classroom, provides training on emergency preparedness, screens students for hearing and vision deficiencies, and answers questions throughout the day and night.

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