Tara Cliff, Health Services Supervisor for Eastern Carver County Schools (District 112), has been named the 2019 School Nurse Administrator of the Year by the School Nurse Organization of Minnesota (SNOM).
Cliff has worked in pediatric nursing care for over 20 years, according to a press release.
After working in a children’s hospital and local pediatric clinic, she began her career in school health services in 2005 as a Licensed School Nurse. In 2013, after completing her Master’s in Public Health, Cliff accepted a job as the Health Services Supervisor for District 112.
Currently, Cliff manages a team of 21 nurses in a district of nearly 10,000 students. Over the past few years, Cliff has implemented a systematic evaluation of the district’s nursing staff, according to a press release. As coordinator of the District Emergency Management Team, Cliff worked to update the district’s emergency procedures, including working with building administrators, crisis team leads, and the communications department. She also serves on the district’s special education leadership team to help coordinate and implement the third party reimbursement system for Eastern Carver County Schools.
In 2015, Cliff and two nurses from her district were accepted as Johnson and Johnson School Health Leadership Program Fellows. In 2016, Cliff worked with a colleague enrolled in a doctorate of nursing program to explore barriers to healthcare services and the cultural competence of health services staff. She partnered with her district’s intercultural specialists to provide professional development opportunities for nursing staff in her district, and she and her colleague recently learned that their peer-reviewed article will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of School Nursing.
Cliff coordinates the Infinite Campus Health User Group for the metro area, served at the SNOM Secretary from 2016-18, and strives to build the capacity of new school nurses as an organizer and presenter at the annual SNOM School Nurse Orientation. She also works with the Crown College Nursing Program to provide shadowing experiences for student nurses in the school setting and demonstrate the relationship between school health and public health.
Collaboration with community stakeholders has been key to Cliff’s success as a school health services leader. Cliff frequently collaborates with Carver County Public Health to provide resources for students to obtain low or no-cost medical care, and she partnered with Ridgeview Medical Center to develop a voucher system so that students could access virtual care for minor illnesses at no cost. In 2018, Cliff was invited to join the executive board for the River Valley Nursing Center, a nonprofit nursing center that provides health-related services to vulnerable individuals and families.
“[Cliff] is energetic, has a positive attitude, and is just fun to be around. Her passion for her work and the students, staff, and community is evident,” stated a colleague.