By Austin Zmolek
Managing Editor of Promotions
Photo by Carly Stone
You will now be seeing a new face when you enter the nurse’s office at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, that of the new school nurse, Jill Hayward. “Returning to JD feels like coming back home,” said Mrs. Hayward. Taking over for former J-DHS nurse Holly Adolfi, who moved to South Carolina with her family after her husband took a job there, Mrs. Hayward returned to the J-D School District looking continue the job that she loves.
Mrs. Hayward has lived in DeWitt, NY for the past 15 years with her husband and her two children, Jenna; a senior at J-DHS, and Chloe; a freshman. Mrs. Hayward graduated from Niagara University with as Bachelor of Science in Nursing and has been a nurse for over 22 years. “My first nursing experience was as an Officer in the Army Nurse Corps,” she said. There, she worked as both a field nurse and a hospital nurse while she was in the military. She had opportunities to travel to different areas across the country, and was stationed in areas of Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, and Hawaii. “I earned my parachutist badge (Airborne wings) and learned how to effectively jump from an airplane in order to help recover injured soldiers,” she said. While in the military, she also received her certification as a pediatric nurse and took care of soldiers’ children who were hospitalized.
After she had left the military, Mrs. Hayward moved back into New York, where she experimented with various nursing settings. “I have worked in a Special Care Nursery, Pediatrics unit, Primary Care Clinic and Home care,” she said. “It was when my kids started elementary school at Moses DeWitt that I learned more about, and became interested in school nursing,” she added.
Before coming to the high school, Mrs. Hayward was the school nurse at Jamesville-DeWitt Middle School for six years. “During this time, I really discovered how much I enjoy this type of nursing and interacting with school-aged children, as well as the unique opportunities that present themselves within this position,” she said. “Besides treating students with both acute and chronic illness, I enjoy the health promotion part of this career,” she added.
In between her jobs at J-DMS and J-DHS, Mrs. Hayward tried yet another type of home nursing. “Although it was interesting to learn a new skill, I quickly realized how much I missed school nursing, and the J-D district,” she said. When Mrs. Hayward heard about the opening at the high school, she quickly pursued the opportunity because of how much she has previously enjoyed being a school nurse.
Few students have their parents go to school with them, especially during the critical high school years. So, how do the Hayward girls feel about having their mother in the building during the school day? “At first I was annoyed that she seemed to have now followed me into the high school but now I’m happy for her because she enjoys this job a lot,” said Jenna. Younger sister Chloe feels similarly: “I feel like she has followed me from the middle school to the high school.”
However, the girls have gotten used to it; “I’m still excited for her to be here,” said Chloe. “I don’t see her in the halls as much as I thought I would just because she always has so much work to do in her room, but occasionally I will see her, and I’ll do like a double take because I’m still not used to her being here,” said Jenna. Jenna also said that the staff members at the high school have been very welcoming towards her mom.
Since she had previously been a school nurse for the students at the middle school, Mrs. Hayward is familiar with the faces around the school. “I really know about 80 percent of the student (population), although I may not have recognized them right away since I haven’t seen them since eighth grade,” she said. Principal Paul Gasparini says that Mrs Adolfi will be missed, because “she was always funny and energetic. She was a very hard worker and got along great with the children,” he’s glad to have Mrs. Hayward as her replacement. “Mrs. Hayward has stepped right in and is doing a wonderful job here,” said Mr. Gasparini.
Coming into a familiar setting, Mrs. Hayward is eager to pick up the job responsibilities she has had before. “My goals here at J-DHS are to continue the work that I started at J-DMS: to treat students when they are ill and to help them learn about health conditions that they might have for the remainder of their lives and to assist students in making good choices that will keep them healthy, including good nutrition, exercise and disease prevention,” she said. “As stressful as it can be, I know she really enjoys what she does,” said Chloe. “So, stop by and see me, if you haven’t already,” added Mrs. Hayward.