LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Judy Zarnick

Position: Retiring School Nurse
School: Butler Senior High School
School District: Butler Area School District
City, State: Butler, PA

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Judy Zarnick received multiple nominations, including one by her colleague, Michele Harold:

Mrs. Zarnick is a certified school nurse that has worked in the Butler Area School District for over 16 years. She started in the district as a Health Technician at the elementary schools. Then, she became a Certified School Nurse and worked in the junior high school before moving up to the senior high school. She is responsible for approximately 1500 students daily. 

"Judy is one of the most professional, knowledgeable, compassionate, and trustworthy people I know and have enjoyed working with," explains Harold. "She is an incredible person and is extremely dedicated to her job. I can go to her with any question or situation, and Judy will have the answer or work through the situation with me without any hesitation. She is always willing to help with any tasks that might need to be done. She works extremely hard and has worked tirelessly through the COVID pandemic to ensure that the students and staff are safe on top of her everyday tasks of seeing and caring for her students." 

On top of her responsibilities as a Certified School Nurse, Mrs. Zarnick is also a union representative for her building. She attends the union meetings and relays the information to the staff in her building. Mrs. Zarnick is a member of the National Association of School Nurses and the Pennsylvania Association of School Nurses and Practitioners. She attends many conferences and shares what she learns with the other school nurses in the district. She was also the treasurer for the Pennsylvania State Education Association Department of Pupil Services section. 

"Judy is very deserving of this award," said Harold. "I will be forever grateful for her help, kindness, and dedication. She will be truly missed."

Mrs. Zarnick was also nominated by her sister, Sandra Norris.

"Judy, my sister, has always been very compassionate to the students under her care," explains Norris.  "She not only helps them with their medical needs, but with their physical and emotional needs.  Judy has gone out of her way to provide needed items for her students.  She has collected hygiene supplies, school supplies and items of clothing."

"She has volunteered to go on many field trips in which her nursing skills were needed a few times.  She volunteers on Tuesdays and Thursdays, (since it started about five years ago), for the Special Olympics Unified Sports Bocce. She also was a volunteered nurse at the community health clinic when it first opened.  Her job isn't just a 9 to 5 job to her.  It's many more hours dedicated to the welfare of our students and our community," said Norris.

Comments (21)

Kim Boyce Posted over a year ago

Judy is one of the most knowledgeable nurses in our school nurse realm. She has been an encouragement to us all. Judy has always been up to date in the latest laws, methods, and practice of school nursing. Her commitment to each student is to be commended. Judy has been an excellent role model for us all.

Marty Harold Posted over a year ago

I met Judy through my wife who she works with. I don’t know her on a personal level all that well but on a professional level she is extremely knowledgeable about school nursing. Her and my wife have had numerous conversations about many different things regarding their jobs and just listening to some of the things I know she is extremely good at her job. She is also a friendly and good hearted person I’m glad I had the pleasure of meeting. She will be missed.

Frank Betres Posted over a year ago

I'm the parent of a Type 1 diabetic son who struggled with his sugar levels through out his adolescent years. Judy Zarnick was his school nurse in junior and senior high schools. We interacted frequently over many years. Her professionalism , dedication and kindness were extraordinary. Judy is a valuable asset to Butler Area School District. I would highly recommend her for the Life Changer of the Year Award!

Mary Etzel Posted over a year ago

Judy Zarnick, my sister, made more than a career out of her work….she made a difference. In her nursing profession, she is very detail-oriented and a critical thinker. She has sympathy and empathy for the people around her and although I don't personally get to see her interact with the students at school, I know she has made an impact with her positive outlook.

Mary Ann Zarnick Posted over a year ago

Judy always gives her all and has dedicated her life to helping others especially the students who need her caring touch. I support her nomination for Life Changer of the Year and Hope many others will recommend her for this award! Wishing you all the best!

Anthony Stagno Posted over a year ago

For several years I have worked with Judy Zarnick as a board member of Connecting2Tomorrow, a nonprofit agency that offers mentoring services to local youth. Judy freely gives of her time and expertise to the organization offering her insight into the pressures and problems faced by today's adolescents, and acting as a go-between for the school district and the organization. Additionally Mrs. Zarnick freely offers her time whenever the Township sponsors an event by making herself available in case of a medical emergency. Judy Zarnick is certainly worthy of consideration for this award.

Brenda Gerber Posted over a year ago

Judy is definitely a person devoted to her profession and her expertise is invaluable, always knowledgeable of all the rules/regulations and latest news pertaining to School Nursing. She is a person you can count on to always provide correct guidance and information. She has been monumental as a Butler County School Nurse and has dedicated so much of her time over the years serving her profession and community. She will truly be missed by all!

Ashley Casey Posted over a year ago

I have had the privilege of being mentored by Judy Zarnick when first arriving to Butler Area School District from a rural school district. Since, the pandemic my nursing position has required being transferred to our primary schools. I always look forward to her guidance during our nursing department meetings. She is a devoted certified school nurse to Butler Senior High students. Her commitment does not stop at dismissal but continues afterschool where she helps coach the Special Olympics Unified Sports Bocce team for a number of years. These are only a few examples of how Judy exhibits the qualities of a LifeChanger. Much Gratitude, Ashley Casey

GRETCHEN BAYSEK Posted over a year ago

I worked with Judy Zarnick for 6 years at Butler Area School District. When we had Butler County school nurse meetings she was always encouraging nurses to be active in their schools and school nurse associations. So, as a new school nurse I listened and joined NASN and PASNAP, and was active in Butler County Nurse meetings. I can not thank her enough for pushing school nurses to speak up and be advocates for students and families. Judy has been treasurer for PA State Education Association -Deptmartment of Pupil Services section and has been active with the Pupil Services before expanding her role as tresurer. At Butler school nurse local meetings she would come back with all updated information or bills in the house we needed to act on. Judy has always been a voice for nurses, students and their families. If any nurse had questions on laws or health care needs-Judy had the answers-she is a wealth of knowledge. Judy also attended NASN conferences (prior to Covid ) all over the U.S. and would come back and update the nurses on topics at conference. She is most deserving of the award as a leader,mentor, advocate, teacher,compassionate nurse and an extraordinary school nurse! Ask Judy she has seen it,has heard it,and nothing surprises her, she has amazing stories-you know why- because she is a school nurse-soon to be retired. Thank you Judy for all you have done for Butler County and for PA nurses-especially me!

Fred M Vero Posted over a year ago

A truly dedicated individual, a person who is caring and understanding. Judy is the type of person who is willing to step up to the plate to help in any way that is needed. I have never met a more caring person then Judy Zarnick.

Adam Etzel Posted over a year ago

Judy Zarnick - Aunt Judy - to me, is extremely deserving of this award. While I might be a little biased, she is truly one of the most knowledgeable RN's I have ever met. She is constantly learning, staying involved in her community, and working to ensure the students of Butler Area School district are well cared for. As a Butler High School Graduate, Aunt Judy was my school nurse while in the Junior High School and Senior High School. Butler School District has a diverse economic social class of students. I remember Aunt Judy always looking for and collecting items to give to students who were economically disadvantaged. I also cannot even keep up with Aunt Judy's community involvement and volunteer work. She is always volunteering or on some sort of committee or board. I cannot think an individual more deserving of this award. While we have heard about the Covid challenges affecting the medical field and the education system, I cannot imagine the difficulty of having her job as high school nurse which is combines both the healthcare field and the education field into one. I cannot imagine the challenges and difficulties the pandemic has placed on someone in her position, working in a school district the size of Butler.

Megan Posted over a year ago

Thanks for everything you've done Judy!

Danielle Butville Posted over a year ago

Judy, my mom, goes above and beyond for those in her care. She exemplifies the qualities of a caring professional and dedicates her time to those in her community above and beyond her role as a school nurse. She readily volunteers her time and expertise and has remained calm and capable amongst the chaos during the last few years.

Carrie Morgan-Davis Posted over a year ago

I worked with Judy at both the Junior High School and the Senior High School. Judy exemplifies the goal of "putting the child first." Her kind heart and compassion for those in need help her to be an exemplary school nurse. She will be missed!

Michelle Rockwell Posted over a year ago

Judy is one of the most caring and compassionate nurses that I have worked with. She is dedicated to her work, and does it to perfection. She goes above and beyond in everything she does. There is so much knowledge that she has and shares on a daily basis . She is involved in so much and still keeps going. She is more than deserving of this reward. Not only has she made big impacts on the students here at the High School, I can not emphasize enough, the impact this wonderful lady has had on my life. She will be greatly missed upon her retirement

Morgan Boulanger Posted over a year ago

Judy is very deserving of this award. She is very dedicated to her students and providing them the best care possible. Her knowledge and expertise in the field of school nursing is expensive. She is diligent in implementing and educating her colleagues on best practices and changes in our profession. As a novice school nurse, I aspire to her professionalism and expertise in the field of school nursing.

Natalie J Heistand Posted over a year ago

She has the kindest heart and love for others!

Nicolle Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Judy Zarnick is the most selfless person and is much deserving of this award. She works tirelessly for others and never finds one reason for complaint. Mrs. Zarnick is not only a dedicated nurse, but she is also devoted mother and devout grandmother. What a great nominee!

Pam Dorcy Posted over a year ago

Judy is totally deserving of this award! I agree with Michele Harold in every aspect. She a wonderful nurse and always compassionate, caring and understanding with all her students and staff. She is a true asset to her profession that always goes above and beyond every day she is at work. She has been a wonderful nurse, mentor and friend. I have been truly blessed to have worked with her.

Tracy L Futscher Posted over a year ago

Judy epitomizes professionalism and caring. Her school population has always been her priority and she has been diligent in her care and keeping abreast of all changes within the profession of school nursing. She is a vital member of the school nurse department and an advocate and resource for her fellow nurses as well as her students. Above all she is an asset and friend and she will be missed in her retirement.

Allison Harold Posted over a year ago

I was a student in Butler my whole life until graduation. When I was at the Jr. High School, she was such an amazing nurse and a person in general. No matter what happened, she would go out of her way to make sure the students were safe. 3 years later when I went to the Sr. High School, she moved up there and I am so glad she did. I had medicine there for me and the minute I would walk in, she had it ready for me already. She was always so caring and outgoing and I am so glad she was my school nurse when I was in high school.