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Giving support by filling the gap through public service

Kujava excited to be Kittson County’s school nurse and reliable health resource

Jeanna Kujava, Kittson County school nurse, administers an eye exam during recent student screenings.
(Enterprise photo by Anna Jauhola)

By Anna Jauhola
Jeanna Kujava hopes to continue the quality healthcare legacy in Kittson County as she begins her first year as the school nurse at Kittson Central, Lancaster and Tri-County schools.
Kujava began her position with Kittson Healthcare Department of Public Health earlier this fall. She is a registered nurse and has a public health nursing certificate. Through her regular weekly schedule at each school, she is excited to carry on long-time nurse Char Langen’s dedication to the students.
“I want to honor her legacy. She’s hard to replace but times change,” Kujava said about Langen. “All the schools ask about her and they think about her with love.”
Kujava has been a nurse for 20 years, first at Kittson Healthcare’s hospital in Hallock and then for the last 13 years at Pembina County Public Health in Cavalier. Now working for the Kittson County Department of Public Health, she is contracted with the schools and also supports the assisted living staff in Hallock.
“That’s the beauty of being a public health nurse. You fill in the gaps and always go where the needs are,” Kujava said.
Kujava and her husband, Chad, moved to Hallock in 1998 after college. Chad is the physical education teacher in Lancaster. Their oldest daughter, Cora, graduated this spring from Lancaster School, while their son Jarrett is a senior this year and their daughter Julia is a sophomore.
Kujava applied for and accepted the public health nurse position to be closer to home and to serve in a more hands-on role.
As Kujava settles into her position as the county school nurse, she finds the interaction with students rewarding. This week, she worked her way through students’ sight and hearing screenings. Throughout the year, she will also work with kids to instruct them on basic hygiene, especially during flu season, and also regarding head lice and growing-up classes.
“I just hope I can support parents with situations like that, and be another person they can approach when they have struggles or challenges and need support,” Kujava said.
Her main goal this year is to continue as a reliable resource for health concerns or questions in each school, but also to build trust with the staff and students.
“I hope I can be the hub of resources,” she said. “I want to get back to the basics for the students. I want to be available to listen, recognize if they haven’t seen a doctor or they can’t rely on nutrition at home. I hope to be a bridge for those resources, to be another adult who cares for the kids.”
New Lancaster Social Worker
Lancaster partners with Northwest Regional Interdistrict Council (NWRIC) to contract a social worker.
Molly Janicke has filled that position this year after the retirement of Kris Hiene. While Janicke works not only in Lancaster but Tri-County School and Goodridge, she is excited to get to know the students and help in any way she can.
Janicke graduated from Minot State University recently with a degree in social work and from NDSU with a degree in human development and family science. She is enjoying meeting all the students at each school and sees travel in northwest Minnesota as her greatest challenge this year.
“I also think I will be challenged with remembering names in all three school districts,” she said. “I am also looking forward to learning more about my profession through staff, students and workshops. I hope to advocate for students and help them feel empowered.”
New food service director, administrative assistant
Alana Scalese is the new food service director and administrative assistant at Lancaster School. She took on the administrative position after Debbie Groves retired last year and will also learn Anne Dalbey’s position as Dalbey plans to retire next year. Scalese grew up in Lancaster and graduated from the school in 1991. She earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University. My husband, Jim, kids and I moved back here about 10 years ago.
Scalese was hired last year as a cook in the kitchen. When the opportunity to be the food service director and administrative assistant presented itself, Scalese felt it was a good next step.
“I like meal planning, learning the new systems associated with the administrative assistant and enjoy the kids and my co-workers,” she said.
She anticipates challenges along the way, such as trying to learn everything she needs to from Dalbey because her position as technology director entails a lot. But, Scalese looks forward to challenging herself to learn new things.
She hopes to make an impact in food service role by removing the stigma of unappealing school meals. She wants to provide healthy, balanced meals the kids will enjoy as well as leave them feeling well fed.
“The administrative part? I will wait to see as the year progresses,” she said.

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