There's something so satisfying about seeing someone you know was born to do something find just the right place in which to do it and absolutely thrive. That looks to be the case with Marylisa Fanning, a Belton ISD nurse who's being promoted to the head of the district's Health Services Department.

Fanning is currently the school nurse at Belton High School, and has served in the role at Southwest Elementary School as well. The Belton ISD Board of Trustees recently approved hiring her for the position of Director of Health Services for the entire district.

“I was born to be a nurse and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” said Fanning after receiving the news.

Fanning joined the Army at 18 with the specific goal of becoming a nurse, and served our country for 20 years. In her career as a nurse, she's worked in home health, mental health care, and in medical-surgical and NICU nursing.

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She earned her bachelor’s degree from Chamberlain College and her master’s degree from the University of Texas at Tyler, intending to become an instructor, and found the perfect place to live and work when she came to Belton ISD.

“Every phase of my nursing career has brought me great experiences and joy, but my most favorite phase is right now, being a school nurse,” Fanning said. “It is my dream job that I didn’t realize was my dream until I got into it. As a school nurse, we are educating little humans to take care of themselves in multiple aspects of their life. I can’t tell you how many positive outcomes I get to see on a daily basis.”

Welcoming Fanning to her new duties is Belton ISD's current Health Services Director Charlotte Smith, who's retiring in April after 40 years in nursing - 9 of which have been spent working with Belton students. Smith and Fanning's work will overlap as they make the transition.

“I’m ready to pass the torch to Marylisa,” Smith said. “It’s easier to do knowing how qualified and prepared she is for the responsibility. She’s literally the complete package with her educational background, strong work ethic and experience collaborating with community partners and working in schools at the elementary and secondary levels.”

While school health and nursing roles have always been important, the change at Belton ISD comes at a time when we're still navigating the complexities of an ongoing pandemic. It's good to know Belton ISD's team of 35 school nurses will be led by someone who brings so much experience and passion to the job.

“We truly love what we do, and I pray that our Belton ISD family can feel that radiate from each one of us,” Fanning has said.

When you find your purpose, the people around you will certainly recognize that. It sounds like Belton ISD's Health Services Department will remain in good hands.

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