Hunterdon County Vocational School District Celebrates Teacher of the Year
The Hunterdon County Vocational School District (HCVSD) has recognized a member of its school community as the 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year. Lana Shanahan, of Washington, NJ, is both the district health sciences instructor/pre-nurse for part-time high school students and the school nurse at her Bartles campus.
Tanya Nalesnik, director of grants management, admissions and security, and supervisor at the Bartles campus, said Shanahan’s teachings extend beyond the classroom to reach staff and administration.
“In addition to her full school schedule, Ms. Shanahan is a building level nurse at our Bartles campus and is responsible for over 200 students on a daily basis. She has directly contributed to the health and professional development of the district by providing First Aid and CPR, EpiPen and Stop the Bleed training to all HCVSD staff. She is also an adjunct professor for many of the college-level courses offered in her programs and ensures that her students have access to early college credit and a deeper understanding of academic rigor.
After spending 25 years as a certified dietician and diabetes trainer and working in public health and hospitals in North Carolina, New York and New Jersey, she returned to school to become a registered nurse. She spent 18 years in rehabilitation, sub-acute and long-term care, including as assistant director of nursing specializing in infection control and staff training. She joined HCVSD in 2019 as a Paramedic Health Instructor at the Polytech Career and Technical School, but her past work experience made her an ideal candidate for the position of Pre-Nursing Instructor.
“Teaching is something I always wanted to do, but never pursued,” Shanahan said. “One of my favorite parts of my nursing career has been training staff. I enjoyed being part of other people’s learning experiences. Now I love teaching high school because my students are just starting out, fresh and excited to become healthcare professionals. »
Nalesnik and many others throughout the district praised Shanahan for maintaining a dual role during the pandemic, which has dramatically changed the way teachers and health workers carry out their roles and responsibilities.
“Ms. Shanahan has not only maintained a high level of academic integrity, but has also established herself as a leader among her peers in providing reassurance and support to those who have expressed fatigue and anxiety surrounding the ongoing disruptions. both personal and professional from COVID,” Nalesnik said.
“I always enjoy going to class, not just because we get to learn things that we invest in, but because Ms. Shanahan is the best teacher,” said nursing student Molly Nemeth, a senior. “She is always positive and ready to help us even with problems that are not related to school. She is kind of the mother of the class. She wants us all to succeed.