Kelli Wax was nominated by her principal, Donna Tyo, as well as her colleague, Laurie Broulette.
“Kelli is a true LifeChanger for our students and parents," explains Tyo. "Ms. Wax has been the nurse at Secondary Academy for Success for the past six years, and she also provides services to two other alternative schools in the district. Needless to say, she is busy, but that is Kelli. She does whatever is needed for the families and students."
Ms. Wax is an irreplaceable member of the school family. She is dedicated to supporting students in a variety of ways, and such as by working with community members. Each year, she organizes a Health Fair with Lake Washington Institute of Technology, coordinates the school addiction and mental health specialists, and administers the Healthy Youth Survey. However, this is just the beginning of her role.
Ms. Wax works with both parents and students with anxiety to help ensure kids are getting to school and staying in the classroom as much as possible. She is a member of the school's CARE team, which helps students receive mental health and/or drug and alcohol assistance. She's also the lead of the suicide prevention group, which involves trainings, meetings, and organizing all of the associated paperwork that is required.
Ms. Wax works with her colleagues to provide re-entry meetings to students when they're returning from some type of inpatient treatment. She contacts parents to identify family needs and deliver food and gift cards to students and their families. In addition to all these responsibilities, she's the head of the COVID testing team and a volunteer at district COVID vaccination clinics.
Beyond the more typical duties of a school nurse, Ms. Wax is an integral member of the staff. She greets students every morning at the front door. She functions as a therapist, mentor, and mother for students. Ms. Wax is a sounding board in staff meetings and offers integral information about each student. She gets to know students and their families so she can help with whatever they might need, from a safe place to sleep at night, to an eye doctor, to a healthy snack. She goes beyond the duties of a school nurse to care for the whole school family.
"I enjoy working with Kelli because she is a hard worker. I admire that about her," said Broulette. "If we need her help, she always steps up to do whatever is needed, regardless of what the task is. She has that nice balance of compassion, common sense, and a direct style of communication."
“I have said every year 'I don’t know what I would do without Kelli.' This year is no different, nor do I know what our students and families would do without her welcoming, kind demeanor. She is truly a LifeChanger," said Tyo.