LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Michelle Hyatt

Position: District Nurse
School: Pullman Public Schools
School District: Pullman Public Schools
City, State: Pullman , WA

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Michelle Hyatt was nominated by her superintendent, Bob Maxwell.

William Halsey once said, “There are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise to meet.” This quote exemplifies Ms. Hyatt.

"Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 13th, 2020, when Pullman Public Schools ended in-person learning for almost all students and switched to online learning with some very limited in-person learning, we've started to fully comprehend and appreciate the significant difference school nurses make in our schools and district," said Maxwell. "We knew the important role the school nurse had in an ordinary year to maintain the health, safety, and welfare of our students, families, and staff. However, the pandemic highlighted the proven ability and benefit a school nurse provides to the well-being of every student, family, and staff member, both in and outside of the school door. Ms. Hyatt exemplifies the positive and needed difference a school nurse makes in the lives of others, as well as the ability to provide a positive and supportive school/district atmosphere in the midst of a pandemic."

When the pandemic hit, Ms. Hyatt's world and responsibilities changed overnight. As the Lead Nurse, her leadership became pivotal in the school district’s ability to provide not only a safe learning environment, but social-emotional instruction and health care to students, families, staff, and the community. She became the “go-to” leader for all health and safety issues related to the pandemic. Ms. Hyatt not only had to care for students and staff in-person and online, but she expanded her role to assist families and community members, as well.

Ms. Hyatt’s leadership and professionalism is evident every day. She oversees two other part-time nurses while covering the nursing responsibilities for two schools herself. In her role, Ms. Hyatt attends weekly state, regional, and district health and safety meetings. She is an active participant, and others seek her knowledge, opinion, and expertise related to school nursing. She provides regular updates and guidance to help Pullman Public Schools' administrative team implement up-to-date health and safety guidance. Her leadership and reassuring manner continues to provide a calm and nurturing atmosphere across the district.

Students, staff, families, and community members have shared their appreciation regarding Ms. Hyatt's quick and thorough responses to questions and concerns regarding COVID-19. She has become the reassuring voice of the school district, which is comprised of 2,600 students and families and 374 staff members. The sheer number of emails and phone calls each day are overwhelming, to say the least, but Ms. Hyatt never complains. She handles each call or email with kindness and professionalism. This is yet another example of her adherence to high moral and ethical standards.

Ms. Hyatt's leadership, commitment, professionalism, and positive attitude are evident in the multitude of additional responsibilities brought on by the pandemic. She determined the best type and amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed. She processes numerous supply orders to ensure students and staff have the personal protective equipment needed so students can learn and staff can perform their jobs safely. Ms. Hyatt works with numerous staff members, students, and families to address accommodations so they could attend school in-person and continue their learning in a safe environment.

Her role evolved during the pandemic. She became the vaccination coordinator and contact tracer for her school district, while also volunteering on weekends to assist with community vaccination clinics that needed additional nurses to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, Ms. Hyatt organized vaccination clinics at the secondary schools so that eligible secondary students could receive the COVID-19 vaccine at school (thus, eliminating the need for students to miss school). She is currently working to provide vaccination clinics in her district's elementary schools when elementary students become eligible.

Ms. Hyatt is also the Contact Tracer Coordinator for the school district. This entails following up on close contacts related to COVID-19 and calling numerous students and families during the school week and, at times, during the weekend. She does this work because she feels it is her ethical and moral responsibility. Due to her leadership, heart, and professionalism, a high percentage of the secondary students, families, staff, and community members are vaccinated against COVID-19. Her school district has been able to stay open for in-person learning in one of the lowest vaccinated counties in eastern Washington.

"In my almost 30 years in education, I have never seen an individual give so much of themselves for others. Michelle Hyatt is a superstar and a professional who demonstrates high moral and ethical standards through her actions, which also contributes to the positive and nurturing atmosphere at Pullman Public Schools," said Maxwell.

Comments (28)

Lori Woodward Bobo Posted 11 months ago

Michelle Hyatt helped daughter immensely in elementary school. A few days ago some memories came up for her about that time and it was at that point I realized how much Michelle helped her stay in school while navigating worries at home. It is the behind the scenes things she does that most people don't even realize. Thank you Michelle. It take a village. Really appreciate you!

SC Posted 11 months ago

Before the pandemic started in 2020 and school was delayed, Michelle made sure to remind parents to be up to date on vaccinations (middle school). I appreciated the foresight, rational and protective attitude of the school district and medical educators in this community.

Mary Posted 12 months ago

Your commitment to your work is admirable and you do it so well; multitasking all the time and saving lives in ways we aren’t always aware of. Great work Michelle.

Jill McCluskey Posted 12 months ago

Michelle Hyatt saved our son's life. When my son Ryan was a high school freshman, age 14, he was running with his soccer team in a pre-season workout. Michelle was leaving work and saw Ryan fall. She rushed to give him medical aid and called for an ambulance. Ryan had suffered from a ruptured brain aneurysm and was not breathing. If not for her quick actions, he would have died. Because of her quick response, he received medical help within seconds of collasping. Ryan recovered and graduated high school as a valedictorian. In June 2021, he graduated with honors from the University of Washington with a degree in mechanical engineering and is working as a mechanical engineer. Thank you Michelle. We could never repay you for the gift of our son's life.

Paula Bates Posted over a year ago

Michelle Hyatt is one of the most dedicated people I know. She is always there for our students. She is pro-active to ensure health plans and arrangements are in place for students with special health care needs in a timely manner. She even works during breaks, as needed, to ensure students are able to fully participate in school when they return. She when above and beyond for me when I had a personal health emergency a couple of years ago. Michelle Hyatt is the BEST!! THANK YOU MICHELLE!

Karen King Posted over a year ago

It is hard to summarize all the ways that Michelle makes a difference in the lives of the members of her community. She shows a tireless effort of commitment and compassion in her actions that she takes to make the Pullman school community the safest place for kids to learn and thrive. She is always available for fellow nurses to consult on situations and provides an organized health room plan of operation to follow. Through that organization she has provided optimal guidance to the district and greater community during calmer times, as well as lead the district health rooms through the surge of covid. She has been a voice that the community can trust. She is in every way a Life Changer and very deserving of this award!!

Abby Stolp Posted over a year ago

Michelle, You are a hero! Thank you for your time and dedication for making our students safe and healthy. Thank you for the constant communication with staff so we are well-informed. Thank you for your positivity as we have navigated the craziness of the past year and a half. Thank you for your evident love for our kiddos. Thanks for making our district a better place. Thanks for being you!

Sandra Casanova Posted over a year ago

Michelle, thank you for helping our district calmly navigate the Covid 19 Pandemic. We appreciate all that you have done to help keep our students, staff and community safe. Your work with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and other community partners ensured that staff and students had a vaccination clinic, making it simple and convenient for those who want the vaccine to get it. Thank you for your dedication to our community and its families!

Sarah Posted over a year ago

Michelle, Our community really can never thank you enough for all that you have done for our children over the years. You have an amazing way of helping others and jumping into action as needed. Thank you for ALL that you do!

Desiree Greystone Posted over a year ago

Not only is Michelle a rock star for our school district, she has also been the person that other districts have contacted about Covid. She definitely has been a LifeChanger throughout all of Palouse, not just in Pullman. This nomination is well deserved! We are so lucky to have her in our community.

Robin Hendrickson Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Michelle! ~ You work so hard to keep staff, students, and families well-informed and cared for. Thank you for all you do for our district.

Janet Poitra Posted over a year ago

Thank you for all you have done for students and our community! You continue to inspire others by your dedication and stamina during this pandemic! We appreciate you! Congratulations on this well deserved award!

Jill Elbracht Posted over a year ago

Thank you for working tirelessly for the students in our district! Years ago when we first discovered my son’s allergic reaction you were a tremendous help, and have continued to be!

Cheryl O. Posted over a year ago

I have so much confidence sending my kiddos to our schools knowing Michelle is responsible for all that she is and that she cares so deeply to do it well. Michelle is a get stuff done person and she does it with integrity, care and practicality. One of my children was diagnosed with a heart condition. It was devastating to our family and to our child's athletic dreams. In no time at all, Michelle had a plan, educated us. AEDs were installed, teachers and staff trained without us ever having to consider one aspect. My child and I quickly learned we could trust Michelle and that there would be compassionate, practical, respectful care if she were to experience an episode at school. This didn't simply impact our family. Her quick action created created access for others who may unexpectedly require care. She's so gifted at taking a case and acting to implement change at scale. In another instance, Michelle debriefed us parents in prep for 5th grade camp. Her approach to respecting students, their health needs as a whole person and treating them with dignity was reassuring. When covid arrived in our town and we were so uncertain, school health safety were at the bottom of my list of concerns. Per Bob's specific attestation to Michelle's contribution, we've been able to safely return our children to in person classes. We're so grateful for her and her fierce love.

Stephanie Bray Posted over a year ago

Michelle is one of the hardest working people I know. Through the ever-changing times of COVID and schools, Michelle has supported our entire district and myself through enormous challenges. She works late, is up early, and often texts throughout the weekend if needed. She has worked tirelessly to support not only our schools and students, but parents, guardians, and district leadership. I look to her for guidance weekly. She has even supported parents in need who are new to our town to find testing locations, and support families along the way. She is an MVP, and I can't imagine having a different member on our team. Not only is she our local expert, but our one and only district nursing supervisor. She is invaluable. Michelle, you are a true HERO, and so deserving of this. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our students, children, and families.

Kim Keizur Posted over a year ago

Michelle, Congrats on your nomination. You have been our hero both within the school district as well as our community prior to COVID and during COVID. You have gone above & beyond to help everyone navigate during these difficult times and your support is never ending...even working on Sat/Sun to help people out. You are truly amazing and I can't thank you enough for all you have done!! -Kim

Marilyn Dangerfield Posted over a year ago

Michelle, You are amazing! Your positive outlook and kind, competent caring has been helpful for so many years!

Ben Stone Posted over a year ago

I have been lucky to get to know Michelle through the most unlucky of events; COVID. I have been continually amazed at the professionalism, care, and passion that Michelle has demonstrated through her work and for the students that she cares for. For Michelle, it isn't simply a job that needs doing, it is a calling to care for future generations and do all she can to ensure they succeed. When our community, like so many others, was shaken by the pandemic, Michelle went to work on behalf of her students, coworkers, and community, to find ways to protect our most vulnerable while providing for their needs. She is absolutely a lifechanger and couldn't be more deserving of this award.

Jacquelyn Busch Posted over a year ago

Michelle, thank you for supporting our kids through a very difficult and extremely stressful time. You show kindness to all. As a parent I appreciate your calmness and your willingness to listen and educate gently and skillfully. We are a stronger, healthier and kinder community because of you!

Sarah Zylstra Posted over a year ago

Michelle, So much of what you do is "behind the scenes" and it's just in recent years that the impact of what you do has been thrust into the forefront of all our minds. We've always known school nurses were important. You do much more than bandage scraped knees or check temperatures. You regularly coordinate care for potentially life-threatening conditions, including asthma, diabetes, allergies, and more to allow all students to remain safe and healthy while at school. You work to educate staff, parents, and the community about essential health topics. The past few years, you have gone above and beyond these duties to help create and coordinate an appropriate health-focused response to CoVid-19 to protect our students and staff and help us get back to school in person. Thank you for all you do, for your continued positive attitude, and for your willingness to share knowledge. It's appropriate you work in a school district. You have a teacher's heart.

James F Evermann Posted over a year ago

Michelle, A note of thanks for assisting us during the early days, weeks, months of the COVID-19 pandemic. You provided us with guidance, insights, and advice. For this I am most grateful for your service to the students, staff and teachers. Best, Jim

Denise Thompson Posted over a year ago

During this time, we seem to all be struggling together. It makes me extra appreciative to have you steering the ship. Thank you, Michelle for all you do for our kids and our community. Hero indeed.

Krista Stanley Posted over a year ago

I've known Michelle for almost 20 years - first and foremost as a friend, and in recent years as a colleague. Michelle is kind, caring, hardworking, patient, and knowledgeable! I've watched her over the years care deeply for the students, staff, and families in our district. I've seen her work weekends to better serve our community. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, her world was thrown into a tailspin - which she has handled with professionalism, confidence, and grace. Out of necessity and willingness to serve, she has become a beacon of hope, support, and knowledge for us all. I appreciate all that Michelle does for me personally during this trying time, and for us all. Thank you Michelle!

Sarah Boyer Posted over a year ago

Michelle has been a voice of calm in the storm, handling whatever challenges crop up with the same tireless effort to serve our community of students and their families.

Kelly Laird Posted over a year ago

Michelle has always been an incredible support for all students, families, and staff here in the Pullman School District. Since the pandemic hit, she has worked tirelessly to keep our students and staff safe. We are grateful for her hard-work, dedication, and commitment during these challenging months. I am humbled to work alongside such a dedicated human and appreciate her continued commitment to serve our community. Thank you for the incalculable number of hours and unseen accomplishments you have dedicated to yourself and your service to.

Carmen Roberts Posted over a year ago

Without you I don't know how we could have ever navigated any of this! Your calm throughout the storm has helped every single one of us. The inlux of information you are bombarded with daily is mind boggling yet you make time for all who ask for your help. Michelle, to say we appreciate you seems so inadequate, in comparison to the magnitude of the situation and gratitude you deserve for the incredible job you are doing. Thank you for your committment to the health of our students, families and district as a whole. You are a gem!

Heather Strader Posted over a year ago

Michelle, Congratulations on a much deserved nomination! Rooting for you to be the recipient! Thank you for all you are doing to make such a positive impact in our community! Heather

Lonna Carrier Posted over a year ago

Michelle, if our community knew how much you have done for our kids during this pandemic, you would never have to pay for another meal in Pullman again! We are beyond blessed to have someone so skilled, knowledgeable, dedicated, and level-headed to lead our charge to keep our kids safe and healthy through this pandemic. You are a superhero! I am so very thankful for you!