As a school nurse at Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center in Woodstock, Nancy Kreznor has seen it all, from scrapes and bruises to tummyaches and fevers. And while she provides compassionate care to more than 700 children between the ages of 3 to 6, one of the most important parts of Kreznor’s job is educating the students about the importance of making healthy choices.
She facilitates the school’s wellness committee to develop programs that promote health and wellness.
“This is the perfect age to educate kids because they’re open to everything,” said Kreznor, who is known at school as “Nurse Nancy.” “We celebrated fruit for a week and learned about fruits of different colors. We also did a salute to dairy, and have a candy buy-back program after Halloween. We’re always doing different things to make the kids healthier.”
Tricia Bogott, principal of Verda Dierzen, said Kreznor is an experienced nurse who regularly goes above and beyond at school.
“She’s a champion for all healthy habits from hand-washing to dental care, and thanks to Nancy, the kids learn about disease prevention, eating healthy and the importance of exercise,” Bogott said. “She’s got a witty sense of humor and the children stop by just to say ‘hi’ to her.”
Students also know that Kreznor is the person to see if they get their clothes dirty at school, or forget their gloves. Her office houses the school’s “clothing co-op,” where students can borrow anything from boots to winter gear to extra clothes. Kreznor takes pride in making her office a safe haven for the students, and said when students come to see her, she wants them to feel comfortable.
“I’m where they go when there’s something wrong, but it’s also fun and exciting for ‘Nurse Nancy’ to take care of them,” she said. “I love working with this age group. This is one of the hardest, most important jobs I’ve ever had, and I hope I’m making a positive difference in these kids’ lives.”
Kreznor grew up in central Illinois and now lives in Woodstock. She graduated from nursing school in 1984 and began her career in a facility for mentally disabled adults. She worked in high schools and middle schools before coming to Verda Dierzen about four years ago.
“I like having different problems and situations every day,” she said about her current job. “I like not knowing what’s going to happen, yet certain aspects are routine. I wouldn’t want my day to be the same every day.”
Kreznor’s husband, Bill Kreznor, said school nurses have many other roles than just tending to injuries or illness. He said because his wife has worked with many age groups, she’s able to relate to children of all ages.
“She’s a good judge of character and has excellent observation skills. She has to tell the difference between kids who are really sick and those who just want to get out of class,” he said. “She has a very good work ethic. She stays late and does extra things for the kids.”