Spotlight On…





The New Jersey Excellence in School Nursing Award is presented annually to publicly recognize and honor a practicing certified school nurse for outstanding contributions to the specialty practice of school nursing. This honor is bestowed upon an individual who is selected according to specific criteria and evidence of school nursing practice. Criteria is based on Scope and Standards of Professional School Nursing Practice (National Association of School Nurses and American Nurses Association, 2011).

A select committee of The New Jersey State School Nurses Association has chosen Laurie Rufolo MSN, RN, CSN-NJ to receive the 2014 School Nurse Excellence Award.

Ms. Rufolo received her BSN from Hunter Bellevue, School of Nursing, New York and her MSN from Wagner College, Staten Island, New York.  She has completed School Nurse Certification requirements and additional nursing courses towards a PhD at Seton Hall University, New Jersey.

Currently President of the Essex County Charter School Nurses, additional professional affiliations include membership in NASN, NJSSNA, ECSNA, CSNEC and ASHA.

Prior to moving to New Jersey, Ms Rufalo was an adjunct faculty member in the Nursing Department at Wagner College, instructing BSN students in Health Teaching in the public elementary schools and Personal Health in the Education Department. A Clinical Nurse Specialist at Long Island College Hospital, she was also responsible for Staff Development. 

Ms. Rufolo is currently a certified school nurse at the University Heights Charter School in Newark, NJ, responsible for managing the health program through a school expansion from a K to Grade 4, to a Pre K to Grade 8.

Prior to her position at University Heights, she was the school nurse and Health and Wellness specialist at a charter school in Newark responsible for the start up of the Health Services Program.  She initiated the weekly Hillside Food Bank Back Pack Program for students at risk of hunger over the weekend and authored the Wellness Plan for the NJ state report. In addition, Ms Rufolo authored the evacuation, lockdown, shelter in place, health emergency procedures and conducted exercises and planned drills to prepare the administrative team and school personnel for emergencies.

Ms Rufolo previously served as the school nurse at Centennial High School in Newark, NJ, a school for emotionally disturbed and moderate behavior problem students and the School Nurse Coordinator for the Union County Educational Services Commission for emotionally disturbed and autistic students.

Ms Rufolo has received the Outstanding School Nurse Award, from the American School Health Association, and the Amanda Silver Award, NY Counties Registered Nurses Association. Ms Rufolo has received recognition for poster presentations at the National Association of School Nurse Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico June 2008, the Conference for Global Transformation, San Francisco, California May 2008 and the NJSSNA Annual March Conference, Parsippany, NJ.

In addition she has been a recognized speaker at: NJ Charter School Conference, Atlantic City, NJ June 2013 School Nursing and Achievement, the American Academy of Pediatrics, NJ October 2012, Asthma Care and the NJEA Convention, Atlantic City, NJ November, 2009  Communications and Cultural Competence.

She has published articles in:  Advance-on-line Opening a Charter School Health Office, NJSSNA Newsletter Recruitment of School Aged Students into Nursing and Angels in Disguise, A Mighty Purpose.

Ms Rufolo’s school nursing advocacy includes letter writing to the editor of the NJ Star Ledger urging the continuance of the state school breakfast program, a nursing cartoon and articles in Nursing Spectrum and Advance for Nursing. She not only advocates through the media, but the professional nursing community by serving on the Board of Directors for the Essex County School Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau Society and the Advisory Board for School Nurse Certification, NJ City University.

In a more personal summary of her qualifications, Laurie is described as an insightful, innovative school nurse that is committed to the success of each student. She is a school nurse that displays grace under pressure, a dedicated, loyal and collaborative team member who possesses outstanding interpersonal and communication skills. Accustomed to the multi-functional responsibilities of nursing, teaching and leadership, she strives to eliminate barriers to the student’s well being and to minimize the loss of instruction time. She is passionate about the students making healthy choices while they work towards fulfilling their vision and dreams.

Criteria for this award include supporting letters of recommendation from school nurse peers, administrators and supervisors who must describe specific issues related to the nominee’s qualifications for the award. In a letter of recommendation written by her principal who specifies Ms Rulofo’s ability to provide clear communication, collaborative practices and strong leadership, she states in part: “Nurse Rufolo is a key part of the fabric of the University Heights school community and should be recognized for her efforts and dedication”.

Members of the NJSSNA selection committee agree.

Congratulations to you, Laurie Rufolo as the recipient of the 2014 NJSSNA School Nurse Excellence Award.


 Posted: February 7, 2014


judy NJSSNA Executive Director

Judith A. Woop, M.Ed, R.N. NJ-CSN

Welcome back to a new school year and the opportunity to “improve the health and educational outcomes for children and youth and promote school and community wellness.”

As the new Executive Director of the NJSSNA, I am looking forward to once again being part of this Leadership Team at the state level. And while I am connected to many of you on different levels, I would like to share with ALL of you, where I come from, where I have been and where I am going!

A graduate of a diploma program at Jersey City Medical Center, I worked at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City in Critical Care and Emergency settings, and then at Yonkers General Hospital in Westchester, NY as a Nursing Supervisor. Married with children and moving to New Jersey, I continued working part time and returned to New Jersey City University for my undergraduate degree in Health Education and School Nurse Certification.  I was employed as a school nurse in a high school setting and attended graduate classes at William Paterson University, receiving my Master of Education degree in Counseling. My post graduate courses included Education of Special Needs Students, and as technology was introduced into the schools, I attended seminars and workshops at  NJEA Conventions to make accommodations in the Health Office for the implementation of computerized records.

As a school nurse working in the educational setting, I became closely affiliated with this professional nursing association (NJSSNA) and served as Newsletter Editor, Program Chairperson and President. I participated in Nursing/Educational Training in Health Assessment as a Certified Replicator for the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) and I served on the Morris County School Nurse’s Executive Board as liaison to NASN. A member of the Education Committee for the New Jersey Brain Injury Alliance, I have been privileged to work with educators and school nurses throughout the state and was appointed to the Special Education Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force in 2012. In the high school setting, I was able to work with PEER Leadership groups and students in the Health Occupations Programs. Reaching outside my comfort zone, and my nursing abilities, I found myself physically challenged as a coach for the Field Hockey and girls Ski Team. My teaching/nursing experience extended to the college campus as an adjunct at Caldwell College and Field Supervisor at New Jersey City University, where I continue to promote school nursing best practices.

I entered the political arena upon retirement from my school nurse practice and served three terms as an elected official on the Municipal Council. I completed Certification for Municipal Officials at Rutgers University Public Policy Center for Government Services and I served on the Health, Sanitation and Community Development Committees.  My main focus in local government was “Clean and Green Communities” creating the awareness of the relationship between a healthy environment and the well being of all residents.

Following the rapid pace of technology in the 21st century, and the need to prepare students for careers in health and education, I have developed a computer center for learners of all ages. A business that creates jobs for consultants and combines my on line teaching with colleges and universities around the world, I am back in my comfort zone and ready to move the mission of the New Jersey State School Nurses to” improve the health and educational outcomes for children and youth. “




A spotlight is defined as a strong beam of light that illuminates only a small area, used especially to
center attention on a stage performer.  This month’s “stage performer” is Jeanne Kiefner, a school nurse honored by NJSSNA for her many contributions to the field.  Learn more about Jeanne and her advice to school nurses.

Spotlight on Jeanne Kiefner

Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)