Tooth mascot

Summit School nurse Zandra Wingfield is with the Blue Ridge Free Dental Clinic’s tooth mascot as she manages dental screenings at the school last month.

Summit Charter School in Cashiers has received a grant from the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation to fund a full-time school nurse for one year.

Zandra Wingfield has fulfilled the full-time position since Oct. 16. This is the first time the school has had the funding capacity to hire a nursing position.

“We are extremely grateful for the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation’s generous support of our whole-child focus at Summit,” said Kurt Pusch, head of school.

Wingfield graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and is a registered nurse.

“I feel tremendously honored and grateful to be joining the Summit Family,” said Wingfield. “It is a huge blessing to work with an incredible team of people who truly love and care for these students, all while getting to continue pursuing my passion for pediatric nursing in this beautiful town we call home.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a school nurse has a crucial role in the seamless provision of comprehensive health services to children and youth. A 2014 Kaiser Health study determined that without a school nurse on campus, teachers spend 26 minutes a day each on health-related matters. With a school nurse around, that number drops to six minutes a day.

“A child’s health is an invariably important factor in their learning,” said Pusch. “Providing a school nurse for our Summit students will improve student access to health professionals, student attendance and the overall well-being of our student body.”

“Our Foundation is pleased to support Summit Charter School’s commitment to nurturing the health of its student body,” said Robin Tindall, CEO of the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation. “This initiative directly aligns with our focus areas of improving access to healthcare and support for education.”