Hunterdon County Vocational School District Names Teacher of the Year

The Hunterdon County Vocational School District has recognized Lana Shanahan as the 2021-22 Teacher of the Year.

Shanahan, from Washington, is the district health sciences instructor/pre-nurse for timeshare high school students and school nurse at her Bartles campus.

Tanya Nalesnik, director of grants management, admissions and security at HCVSD, as well as a supervisor at the Bartles campus, said Shanahan’s teachings extend beyond the classroom to reach staff and students. ‘administration. She praised her colleague’s abilities to advise, lead and support the school community on many fronts.

“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.

Teaching is a relatively new career for Shanahan. 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 instructor at Polytech Career & Technical School, but her past work experience made her an ideal candidate to enter the pre-breastfeeding instructor role.

“Teaching is something I always wanted to do, but never pursued,” Shanahan said. “One of the 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 by providing reassurance and support to those who have expressed fatigue and anxiety surrounding the continued disruptions to the personal and professional times of COVID,” Nalesnik said.

The school’s graphic design teacher, Cynthia Dailey, added: “Lana has shown incredible professionalism and kindness over two very difficult years. She cares deeply about the well-being of her students and colleagues. She takes on tasks on top of her already hectic duties with a cheerful “no problem” attitude. I have always been impressed with her ability to handle anything that comes her way.

According to the district, “While Shanahan’s impact extends far beyond the classroom, it is the students who benefit most from her involvement; they recognize her as a leader and role model as well as a “class mom”.

“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.

Nursing student Anna Murray, also a senior, added: “Sometimes I feel like I can almost be a nurse just because of her stories and the lessons she taught us. She has so much experience in this area and gives us the information we need to prepare. Thanks to her, I have so much more confidence in myself to start a nursing career.

“I love being able to encourage students to follow their career aspirations in healthcare. Our daily interactions are especially rewarding because they are so eager to learn. I love teaching them nursing skills, but I also hope to teach them how to be more resilient in life,” Shanahan said.

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