From humble beginnings…

The School Nurse Organization of Washington had its beginnings in 1952 when initial efforts directed toward organizing school nurses.

In 1955 Delores Schmechel (Franklin Pierce School District) reports that school nurses requested separate committee status so the School Nurse Branch of WSNA formed in March 1955.

In June 1957, the School Nurse Organization of Washington was formed.

Early 1900

1902 Lillian Wald returns from England to establish a similar model of having nurses in schools to improve the health of children.

Oct 1902

Lina Rogers hired as nurse in New York City schools and was so effective that 30 days later 12 additional nurses were hired.

Early 1930s

School nursing in Seattle Schools was a direct outgrowth of Lillian Wald’s experiment in putting nurses in schools in New York City.


The School Nurse Organization of Washington had its beginnings in 1952 when initial efforts directed toward organizing school nurses.

These districts employed their own school nurses: Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Bethel, Clover Park, Fife, Franklin Pierce, Highline, Puyallup, and University Place in 1952.


Geraldine Johnson, Tacoma School District, was the first chairperson of school nurses who became a sub-group within the Public Health Section of WSNA.


Delores Schmechel (Franklin Pierce School District) reports that school nurses requested separate committee status so the School Nurse Branch of WSNA formed in March 1955.


Constitution written; dues were $3.00.


SNOW officially became a department within WEA.

July 1, 1961

State certification for school nurse went into effect: school nurses with a BSN received a Standard Specialized Personnel Certificate for $1.00.

July 4, 1968

NEA established the Department of School Nurses.


All initial goals of the founders had been achieved; 79 members strong the decision was made to continue the organization; dues were $5.00.

Presidents for this decade:

1960-61, Wanda Frederick, Tacoma;
1961-62 Virginia Davis, Edmonds;
1962-63 Dorothy McDevitt, Clover Park;
1963-64 Eleanor Hogan, Highline;
1964-65 Delores Schmechel Franklin Pierce;
1965-66 Pat Manalia, Seattle;
1966-67 Catherine Pomery, Olympia;
1967-68 Shirley Jones Traynor, Shoreline; and again in 1968-69; and ending with
1969-70, Norma Hart, Tacoma.


Vivian Lee helped charter the NEAs Department of School Nurses and became SNOW 1st representative.


SNOW selected the first School Nurse of the Year, Vivian Lee.


Shirley Baker & Kalma Christianson, with the help of hundreds of Area 3 (now 10) SNOW members, began offering preschool vision & hearing screening at the Puyallup Fair.


“Measles Must Go” campaign.


Scoliosis screening legislation 5 – 12th grade mandated.


Immunization requirements for school with a 45 day grace period for parental documentation.


Health Coordinator position at the OSPI was established. Dr. Vivian Harlan, MD, hired by the Washington DSHS to fill that position.


U of W began offering a year long clinical course in nursing assessment specifically for school nurses.


Initiated Incorporation & the name was changed to School Nurse Organization of WA; purchased mailing frank; & secured non-profit status by the IRS.

1971-1973 & 1974-1977

Carole Guthrie, Seattle School Nurse is the only SNOW President who served for 5 years

Other Presidents This Decade:

1970-71 Olive Blandau, Seattle;
1973-74 Mary Jane Hammer Butler, Marysville; and a new face,
1977-78 Jean Smith, Clover Park School District;
1978-79 Charlene Manning, Vancouver;
1979-80 Norma Jensen, Highline.


Ties with WEA were improved by holding our board meetings in their building & using that as our permanent address.


“No Shots, No School” — school nurses directly impacted school immunization requirements by eliminating the 45 day grace period.


Judy Maire, RN, MN, ARNP, from DSHS, hired as the School Nurse Consultant at OSPI.


President Whitmore arranged for board members to receive 1 college credit in Leadership for those who attended all the board meetings.


President Whitmore initiated the first Board Retreat for the first strategic planning.


The NASN Annual Conference held in Seattle and attended by the largest number of nurses.


SNOW Presidency increased from one to 2-year term of office.

June 1989

Shirley Carstens installed as the first NASN President from Washington State.

Presidents for this decade:

1980-81, Donna Gamble Ferguson, Tacoma;
1981-82 Patricia Farley Vancouver;
1982-83 Jane Scott, Central Valley;
1983-84 Margaret Bailey, Tacoma;
1984-85 Karen Whitmore, Bethel;
1985-86 Harriet Muhrlein, Auburn;
1986-88, Shirley Carstens, University Place;
1988-90 Gayle Thronson, Olympia


Mary Jane Johnson, Olympia SD was selected as the School Nurse of the Year in this re-instituted award.


Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) the first survey of school health services in Washington State.


SNOW celebrated its 40th Anniversary at the Spring conference in Silverdale. NASN President, Carol Costante was the keynote speaker.


PLU was awarded a NASN grant to develop Managing School Emergencies I. Followed by 1999 Managing School Emergencies II and in 2000 Managing School Emergencies III.


SNOW began the School Nurse Administrator of the Year.


Legislature mandated a corps of nurses provide school health services to the neediest school districts across the state.


Educational Reform and School Nursing: Learning Goals and Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRS) (1999).
Edited by Janice Doyle, RN, MSN & developed in collaboration with the SNOW Board.

Presidents for this decade:

1990-92 Charla Dunham, Tenino;
1992-94 Samara Hoag, Seattle;
1994-96 Aija Guedel, Lake Stevens;
1996-98 Pat Revell, Richland;
1998-2000 Marilyn Fenn, Chehalis.


Charla Dunham, Tenino was the NASN School Nurse of the Year and Judith Maire was the first National State School Nurse Consultant of the year.


Emergency health care plans and implementation for children with life threatening health conditions was legislated through SNOW’s efforts.


Staff Model for the Delivery of School Health Services manual published. SNOW members Barbara Cheyney, Marilyn Fenn, Linda Graham, and Anne St. Germaine contributed.


Asthma Management in Educational Settings (AMES) Manual completed with SNOW members Virginia Gobeske and Jill Lewis (others?) participating on the Task Force.


SNOW “FLURRIES” distributed electronically to majority of membership.


Disaster Preparedness: Guidelines for school nurses co-authored by Janice Doyle for NASN.


Judy Maire Educational Scholarship created.


The first practicing school nurse was hired by OSPI to serve as the Health Consultant for Washington State, Gayle Thronson.


The NASN held their annual conference in Seattle, celebrating their 35th Anniversary.


TRI Leadership contracted for first time for Fall 2004 Conference


Pandemic flu planning emphasized need for school nurses in planning.


Website design and implementation. New Website Committee initiated.


Guidelines for Care of Students with Diabetes manual completed. Prepared by Gayle Thronson, Health Services Program Supervisor at OSPI. Contributions made by SNOW members Laurie Anderson, Betty Deeker, and Jan Wisner


Students allowed to carry auto-injectors and inhalers at school providing the school nurse believes the student is capable of self-administering.


SNOW began awarding “Saved a Life” Awards.


Assessing School Nursing Services published. SNOW members Gayle Thronson, Gail Synoground, Janice Doyle, Mary Myers, Miriam Raabe, Kathe Reede-McKay, Colleen VanSwerigen, and Susie Wells participated on the School Nurse Study Work Group.


SNOW began to contract with TRI for Financial Manager duties.


Scoliosis legislation failed. (If passed this will allow school nurses to stop screening for scoliosis). Reorganization of the BOD with the goal to increase membership by reaching out to the entire membership.


Scoliosis legislation passed.


Distribution of SNOW Flurries began via email and posted on the website.


Guidelines for Anaphylaxis published. SNOW members Rebecca Cavanaugh, Christy Conner, Mona Miles-Koehler, Kathe Reed-McKay, and Gayle Thronsen participated on the Work Group 2008-2009.

Presidents to date:

2000-02 Barbara Thumlert, Edmonds;
2002-04 and 2004-06 Janice Doyle, Bethel;
2006-07 Gail Fast;
2007-08 Donna Burr;
2008-2010 Cheryl Sampson;
2010-2012 Lynnette Ondeck


$250 Scholarships for Fall and Spring Conferences were established


SNOW unifies with NASN


Guidelines for Implementation of School Employee Training on HIV/AIDS and Other Bloodborne Pathogens Manual published. SNOW members Gail Fast, Mona Miles-Koehler, and Nancy Sutherland provided input.


Washington State School Staff Health Training Guide published. SNOW members Gail Fast, Gayle Thronson, Judy McCrudden, Julie Schultz, Katie Johnson, Les Stahlnecker, Lorali Gray, Lynn Nelson, Mona Miles-Koehler, Winie Adams, Julia Kintz, Sally Logue, Rebecca Cavanaugh, and Robin Fleming participated on the work group which was led by Lorali Gray.


Asthma Management in Educational Setting (AMES) Manual revised with SNOW members Janice Doyle, Virginia Gobeske, Katie Johnson, Lynne Oliphant, Nicole Klein, Mona Miles-Koehler, and Miller Sherling participating on the Task Force.


Revised and updated Infectious Disease Control Guide for School Staff published. Prepared by SNOW members Gail Thronson, Gail Fast and Lorali Gray. Katie Johnson, Laurie Moyer, Skitch Stanton, and Nancy Zaneski participated on the Task Force


School Nurse Case Management Program Manual published. SNOW members Mona Miles-Koehler, Lynn Nelson, and Leslie Stahlnecker contributed.


Guidelines for Medication Administration in Schools published. SNOW members Shirley Carstens, Janice Doyle, Gail Fast, Robin Fleming (lead), Lorali Gray, Katie Johnson, Alma McNamee, and Julie Schultz contributed to this document.


School Nurse Supervision Law passed by Washington State Legislature-