LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Linda Herwaldt

Position: Health Department Coordinator
School: Indian Prairie School District 204
School District: Indian Prairie School District 204
City, State: Aurora/Naperville, IL

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Linda Herwaldt was nominated by her superintendent, Adrian Talley.

Ms. Herwaldt is the district coordinator for the health services department, which covers 33 schools and over 26,000 students. She oversees approximately 66 nurses, including those who have been individually assigned to assist students with complex medical needs. Ms. Herwaldt’s day starts at 4:00 AM, not only to ensure there is adequate nursing coverage, but to solve situations that require schedule changes. Late in the evening, well after her work day, she reviews nursing coverage issues again for the next morning.

Since March 2020 and into the current school year, Ms. Herwaldt has served as the primary point of contact with the Illinois Department of Health and Du Page County Health Department. She has kept abreast of the guidance from the CDC, and she's the “go-to” person for all safety measures, protocols, and procedures related to health guidelines. She has partnered with others to bring multiple vaccination clinics for both staff and students. Ms. Herwaldt has made it possible to have literally thousands of individuals vaccinated. She has recently spearheaded the newest protocol, “Test to Stay,” so that students can stay in District 204 schools instead of being sent home. She has been the foundation for District 204’s efforts to keep staff and students safe during the pandemic and beyond.

Ms. Herwaldt’s responsibilities, although vast, are only one aspect of why she deserves recognition as a LifeChanger. Her professional commitment is grounded in her dedication to the students and staff of District 204, especially related to their safe return to physical buildings. She has a positive attitude and refers to the additional nursing duties that come with post-pandemic practices as “opportunities” for growth. She reminds the department to “just breathe," and that “tomorrow will be even better." Ms. Herwaldt ends most communications with a note to “please, take care.” Her ability to lead is as strong as her ability to nurture.

In addition, her demeanor with parents is exemplary and a testament to her patience and resiliency. In all dealings, she has students as her focus. The difference she has made in students' lives might go under the radar, but is perhaps one of the strongest influences. Without her efforts, students' re-entry to the buildings would not be possible, and the safety measures that allow them to continue their education would not be in place. Her work allows administrators and teachers to do their jobs, and her constant guidance to the nurses allows the health department to support the school communities.

"She is the unsung hero of our District, and no one is more deserving of recognition than her," said Talley.

Comments (51)

Pam Moga Posted 8 months ago

Thank you so much for all you have done for the students, families and staff of District 204! You are amazing!

Dawn Pakkebier Posted 8 months ago

You truly deserve this for not only the work over the past year, but for all of your years and work in our district. I miss working with you and seeing you daily.

Leah Kittl Posted 9 months ago

You are truly a gift to teachers and students! Thanks for always being there! We appreciate all that you do!

Patricia Sandoval Posted 9 months ago

Hi Linda! Congratulations for this nomination! Thanks a lot for your dedication and hard work, specially when I needed it on November 2020, you were supporting me with everything I need. Thank you for your calls to know how I was doing it. You deserve this award!!! Thanks again!

Kathy Wagner Posted 9 months ago

Linda, You deserve this so much! You work tirelessly always and now especially during this crazy pandemic. Thank you for being our voice of reason in an ever changing world. This "opportunity" has been a challenge and you have stepped up to the plate! Thank you, Thank you...

claire hathorne Posted 9 months ago

Congratulation!! Linda you are amazing. Always there for your team. Working endlessly. Giving your all.

Lowell Morgan Posted 9 months ago

Thank you Linda for your hard work on behalf of our children and staff. We are lucky to have such a committed District Nurse. Best wishes to you and your family!!

Kara Quinn Posted 9 months ago

Congratulations Linda!! NO ONE is more deserving of this award than the amazing Linda Herwaldt! She is our fearless leader and captain and helped us navigate these trying times. She is the backbone and foundation of our health department at IPSD. We would be lost with out her. I am amazed of her loyalty and dedication to all of us. No matter how busy she is, she always finds time to help all of her nurses and makes sure we are okay. She is one of the main reasons I am with IPSD. She is the best and so rightly deserves this.

Amanda Eischen Posted 9 months ago

Linda, Thank you for all you do for the students, parents, and staff! You are amazing! :)

Dawn Vieira Posted 9 months ago

Linda is always so helpful and goes the extra mile to help our families, students and staff! She is tireless in her devotion to IPSD 204 and does everything with a smile. Thank you for all you do, Linda!

Kim Maloney Posted 9 months ago

Thank you for all of your hard work, dedication, effort and friendship. Your love for humankind does not go unnoticed. You are one of the best, Linda. Appreciate all that we see, and all of what we do not.

Mary Howicz Posted 9 months ago

Congratulations Linda! You so deserve this award. You have worked non-stop for almost two years. You are always responsive and caring when I've reached out to you. You make IPSD 204 proud!

Sue Streul Posted 9 months ago

Congratulations!!! Thank you for ALL your efforts to take care of our kids and school staff!

Kim Stephens Posted 9 months ago

I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor. Linda has always been a top-notch professional informed on the best medical practices that relate to the school business. Thank goodness she was at the helm during this pandemic to guide us through with her vast knowledge, endless energy, and humor. Thank you for your tireless work, Linda, completed with honor and grace.

Jennifer Dusek Posted 9 months ago

Congratulations Linda! No one deserves this recognition more than you do! As a teacher and a parent in the district, I can honestly say no one has been working harder for District 204 than you have! I cannot say enough about how you helped my family through our quarantine. You patiently guided me through what I needed to do to ensure both my children and I could return to school as soon as possible. You answered my tearful phone calls (at all hours of the day & night!) when I couldn't get a straight answer from the health department. When the health department didn't know their own protocols, you were the one who educated them. You were a constant positive in a very dark two weeks at our house. I could go on all day about how lucky the 204 community is to have you! You are working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure our students and staff are safe! Thank you so much for all that you do for us! CONGRATS!

Kibbee Lewis Posted 9 months ago

Congratulations on the nomination!!! Linda and her staff have truly worked day in and day out thorough out this pandemic to support our D204 community! Much deserved recognition for your work to keep us safe and informed. Thank you for your calm demeanor during so much uncertainty. Congrats again, Linda!

Christine Jewell Posted 9 months ago

Thank you for your unwavering dedication to the safety of the students, staff, and community of 204. You have truly changed--and saved--lives!!! Words cannot express enough gratitude for your hard work and expertise, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. THANK YOU!!

Jennifer Sanchez Posted 9 months ago

Congratulations Linda! You have always been the calm in any storm. You're able to make any situation work with the staff you have and work miracles for all students. You helped me realize that Med-Ed one on one nursing is where I was meant to be. If not for you, I wouldn't be where I am now. I thank you for everything you do not only for each individual staff member and student but for the whole school district. You are the foundation of this nursing team and you are truly the best. Thanks again! <3

Julie Petrie Posted 9 months ago

It has been a privilege and honor to work with Linda! There truly is no one that is more deserving of a LifeChanger of the Year nomination! I miss having you at Still MS and being able to see your beautiful face everyday. Hugs! Julie

Amy Sherman Posted 9 months ago

Congratulations, Linda! As a teacher in the district, you helped me to navigate my own personal quarantine situation when our family was exposed and contracted Covid early on in the pandemic. Because we were in remote learning, I had not exposed anyone at school so your conversation with me could have been very quick. However you patiently answered questions that I wasn't able to get my doctor to answer and followed up with me on the weekend when I had more questions. It was clear you were literally working around the clock. I can't begin to tell you know how much I appreciate your calm, thorough responses when I was scared and uncertain about the next steps. Thank you for caring so passionately about all of us!

Christina Sepiol Posted 9 months ago

Linda is so deserving of this award! She is the calm voice of reason and guidance when things are tough. She has guided us through the health and safety measures associated with the pandemic and does so with the highest level of professionalism. She is child-centered in all of her decision-making and encourages us to take care of our students and ourselves. Navigating a global pandemic in a District of our size would not be possible without Linda's steady hand.

Nancy Rosenwinkel Posted 9 months ago

Linda has only been my "boss" for the past 3 months. I placed boss in quotes because she does not treat her staff as any less then a part of the team. While she exemplifies the values of a great leader she also allows the autonomy and belief that our team will always do what they should do in any situation. Her ability to interview applicants and find that something special in each of us is a gift. She knew that I was meant for the position she offered me before I did. I am a 30 year Emergency Department Nurse now providing one on one care to a young adult in our Steps Program. It is as rewarding as my time in the ED. The joy I feel from being my students Nurse is such a blessing. I was in a crossroads in my career and Linda's intuition put me exactly where I was meant to be. Her positive attitude and calm under pressure is an attribute that seemed to have been lost in the days of Covid, but for Linda is just brought it so much much more to the forefront. Behind every great employee is a great leader who you want to make proud, give more, and be recognized. She embodies all of that. She does not just talk the talk, she walks the walk. Congratulations Linda, well deserved.

Dawn Kotnik Posted 9 months ago

Linda, thank you for everything you do for district 204. Congratulations on this nomination, you deserve it! Nursing in 204 would not be where it is without you. Thank you so much for the compassion, support, and encouragement you bring to everyone you meet. -Dawn, Vandana, Gina, Debbie, and Ryan (STEPS)

Laura Bailey Posted 9 months ago

Congratulations Linda! Your efforts in this "unprecedented" time have not gone un-noticed. We appreciate your dedication to keeping the students and staff of Indian Prairie safe and well cared for these last 18 months or so - and well before. Thank you!

Lisa McSharry Posted 10 months ago

Congratualtions on this fabulous nomination! I'm amazed at your dedication to the students and staff of district 204. In moments of special opportunities I can hear your mantra to "just breathe and find my happy place......the beach" Thank you for being the glue that sticks us together and it's been my pleasure to work with you. You are most deserving of this recognition!

Flor E. Perez Posted 10 months ago

Congratulations Linda! I have had the opportunity to watch you closely work so hard to maintain the nursing department in the most highest integrity. Your communication with staff and parents has been with amazing professionalism, extraordinary patience, and with compassion that only comes from someone who cares for others. It has been a blessing to be working with you.

Laura Rosenblum Posted 10 months ago

Linda has made a tremendous difference in my life. Being new to District 204 I immediately benefitted from her care, her understanding, her support and her immense knowledge. She has been a tremendous mentor as I have learned about contact tracing, quarantining, and helping parents who are having a very hard time. She is incredibly responsive to calls and emails. I know she works long long long hours to be able to do this because she provides this high level of support to everyone she encounters not just me. Her calm demeanor and sense of humor make every conversation a joy. I wouldn't want to work in 204 without Linda!

Kim OKeefe Lucas Posted 10 months ago

Linda is very much the unsung hero of our district. She always has time for her nurses, district students, staff, and parents. She is always supportive and does remind us to “just breathe”. I was incredibly lucky to work in close proximity with Linda for the first part of the 2020-2021 school year and was amazed with how much was placed upon her shoulders and how graciously she handled everything. As busy as she was, anytime my co-nurse or I had a question, or needed something she was there to help. Her office light was on in the morning when I arrived to work and was still on when I left for the day. Congratulations on this well deserved nomination!

Erica Ramirez Posted 10 months ago

Congratulations Linda!! I am happy to see that Dr. Talley nominated you for the LifeChanger award. You deserve this award more than you will ever know. Thank you for all the support, encouragement, and guidance you provide each day to the students, families and staff at IPSD 204. You, alone, have the daily workload of a team of people and you juggle it all with an "it's all good" positive attitude. Your positivity, knowledge, compassion and advice are greatly valued particularly over the last 23 months of Covid. I know I can count on you and I appreciate all that you do. You are an exceptional Coordinator!

Elizabeth Jansen Posted 10 months ago

Linda, I have had the absolute pleasure of watching you lead, mentor, model, and teach. I have never worked with anyone, in any position, that has had as much loyalty and dedication to their District, department, or families served as you. I have been learning from you from 7 plus years and, although we never saw a pandemic coming, I can't imagine being a Director and navigating these times with anyone else. You are a leader in the truest sense. It is the way you make people feel that is most special. They feel heard, understood, cared about, lifted up, valued and appreciated. I really don't know how we would be navigating this covid world in a District our size without you and your guidance. Thank you for all you do. I adore you and working alongside you each day! Libby

Rachel Adler Posted 10 months ago

Linda works tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the health and safety needs of our school community are met on a daily basis. She is passionate about the nursing care delivered in the school setting and continuously looks to further the profession by mentoring new nurses. Linda embraces new challenges and difficult tasks with a calm, supportive, demeanor and a smile; which puts those of us that work with her at ease and for that we are thankful. Congratulations Linda!

Sarah Nowak Posted 10 months ago

Linda, you are a true example of a LifeChanger in every sense of the word! Your patience, knowledge, dedication and passion for our community is incredible and I feel so blessed to have the oportunity to work with and learn from you! Congratulations!

Marisa Biegelson Posted 10 months ago

Linda, Linda, Linda!! CONGRATULATIONS on this huge recognition and achievement. It is so well deserved, and I am just over the moon excited for you. I have only worked in this department in the schools for a few months, and it is extremely evident how much you pour your heart and soul into the district, your nursing family, and the schools. They are so lucky and blessed to have you advocating for students, and families, and we as your nursing body feel so supported and appreciated because of the efforts and strides you have made. You are an example to us all, and even through the challenges you find ways to lift our spirits and help us move forward. Thank you Linda. I am honored to know you, to work with you, and to represent a community and district that is quite amazing. You deserve this through and through! CHEERS and HUGS!

Angie Johnson Posted 10 months ago

Linda, I feel so blessed to work for a leader that does everything with such grace. Your calmness and patience amazes me every day! Thank you for all you do for our department. I know that I always have your support and you are available when I am overwhelmed and need a reassuring voice of expertise. Congrats on such a wonderful honor and know we all appreciate you every day!!

Maggie Durkin Posted 10 months ago

As a young nurse, I wasn't sure where I wanted to go in nursing. Thanks to Linda giving me the opportunity to join IPSD 204, I fell in love with school nursing and I never want to leave! There is such positivity within nursing in the district and that starts with Linda and her constant support. It's incredibly relieving to go work knowing Linda has my back every day. I wouldn't be the nurse I am without Linda's support and dedication to the students!

Sonila Prifti Posted 10 months ago

This is so awesome! This is so you!! You truly are a LifeChanger!! I am amazed by your tirelessly dedication DAY IN and DAY OUT! I am amazed by your positivity every day regardless what the day has thrown your way or how many hours you have worked. Simply are our HERO! You were born to do this! With much appreciation and respect, Congratulations!!!

L J-Schrader Posted 10 months ago

Linda: Congratulations! Your dedication to our staff and students is very appreciated. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for all of us. We feel that you are often a lifesaver; a lifeline and you certainly are a life changer!

Keeley Schmid Posted 10 months ago

Linda has worked around the clock to support District 204 through all of the challenges we have faced with COVID. Being the 4th largest school district in the state of Illinois, saying this has been no easy task would be an understatement. Her knowledge, experience, leadership, and positivity has been an incredible asset to the district. She has supported me, guided me, and helped me through various situations in managing and leading a building during these difficult times. Even though her job responsibilities have looked a great deal different since March 2020, she always approaches every situation with positivity. She continues to strive to always have the latest information from the county and state and works hard to get us this information to us in a timely fashion. She continues to advocate on behalf of our district, and we are so appreciative of her dedication. We are very grateful to Linda in ALL she does for us. Thank you, Linda, for being our Lifechanger and influencing thousands around the district.

Katie Bennett Posted 10 months ago

Congratulations to you, Linda. I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition. Your positive attitude, caring demeanor, and steadfast support of our students and staff make you a true LifeChanger!

Tracey Ratner Posted 10 months ago

Linda, you are awesome! You have been so supportive of any questions and concerns we have- big or small, all while trying to balance the needs of a very large district. You have helped keep us informed and confident during these difficult times. Thanks for all you do!

Julie Killacky Posted 10 months ago

I am happy to see Linda nominated for this award. I know she is responsible for elevating nursing to level it is in our district and beyond. She has precepted countless School Nurses and is the reason I became a School Nurse myself. She has given so much more to the profession than she has taken. Her leadership during the pandemic is exactly what I would have expected. After all, in her words, "it is for the children."

John Atchley Posted 10 months ago

We appreciate you very much Linda! Thanks for all you do to coordinate so much every year but especially during the pandemic. We appreciate your long hours and dedication to support each individual student and faculty member. Thanks for collaborating with our building nurses and leaders to facilitate our staff returning to work as soon as possible. You really deserve this nomination and recognition!

Elizabeth Grant Posted 10 months ago

How exciting to see Linda nominated for recognition as a LifeChanger. I have known Linda for over 15 years. Each and every year I have worked with Linda I have witnessed her always going the extra mile for her fellow nurses and for the students and their families. Linda exemplifies all the wonderful traits of a compassionate, respected and educated leader for our students and staff. Linda is a LifeChanger, because she is persistent in asking questions and finding solutions for the challenges we nurses face and those that our students and families also encounter. She cares about each and every person she works with and the families we serve. Her professionalism is constant and one we nurses can always rely on. It has been an honor to work and learn from Linda. Linda you are a true LifeChanger.

Candy Michelli Posted 10 months ago

Congratulations, Linda! What a well deserved honor! We are so lucky to have you in 204. Thank you for all you do!

Michele Flynn Posted 10 months ago

I cannot think of a more deserving individual for the LifeChanger award. I had the pleasure of working with Linda in her role as building nurse and, more recently, in her role as district coordinator and certified school nurse, and I witnessed first hand her dedication and compassion to the students, families, and staff in District 204. Linda has the ability to clearly communicate sensitive information in a concise, yet caring, manner and is a wonderful support to families and teams of teachers. It does not surprise me to hear that Linda continues to make an impact throughout the district in her new role - we continue to feel her absence daily around the building and miss her dearly!

Michelle Gallo Posted 10 months ago

Linda, thank you for all you do to support the district and the department! We are lucky to have you!

Anne Condon Posted 10 months ago

CONGRATULATION LINDA!!! There is no one that I could think of who is more deserving than you! Dr. Talley nailed it when he described you. You handle every situation with grace, calmness and also a little humor:) You have so much patience and you are also the easiest person to talk to. Thank you for everything you do!!!

Erin Rodriguez Posted 10 months ago

Linda- You have been a lifesaver, and therefore, a LifeChanger, since the day we met. Your ability to support the entire community, while prioritizing our staff and students is second to none. You have helped lead our district as we navigated an almost impossible situation. Your ability to remain calm and professional while providing support is admirable. Your knowledge and experience is beyond valuable. Thank you, for everything you have, and continue to do, to support everyone within District 204. Thank you, Nancy Young Elementary Staff

LaTanya Harris Posted 10 months ago

Linda, Congratulations! This is such an honor. You have had a tremendous impact on IPSD and have lead the nursing team successfully during these trying times. You are consistent, available and working around the clock to ensure we have safety practices in place. When I hear other educators discuss their COVID 19 protocols or lack there of, I always say we don't have those problems in 204 and that's because you and your team are phenomenal. KUDOS on a job well done!

Lynn Lengemann Posted 10 months ago

Congratulations on such an honorable mention. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this recognition as a LifeChanger. You do good. You are good. You make good. You change lives! I am grateful for your talents you use to fuel our efforts as a department. Your compassion, dedication, and optimism do not go unnoticed. Your commitment and investment of time, wisdom, and energy to health services are incomparable. Because of your tireless leadership, our staff, students, and their families live healthier, safer, and more educated lives. Despite the ever-changing challenges and demands placed upong us during this era of pandemics, you persevere while practicing with continued hope and good faith. You place your heart, mind, and soul into everything you do. I am grateful for your guidance. As a preceptor, your words of knowledge, encouragement, and advice are invaluable. You continue to teach me to “attack” with dignity and grace. Your dynamic and softhearted approach remains an inspiration to me both in and out of my profession. Thank you for bringing a reassuring and nurturing peace of mind to everyone you touch. For you are a LifeChanger.

Cathy Lozon Posted 10 months ago

Thank you for all you do. Congratulations!!