Our History

On July 4, 1968, the National Education Association established the Department of School Nurses (DSN), an association dedicated to the advancement of school nursing practice and the health of school-age children. In July of 1969, the DSN held their first annual meeting in Philadelphia. Their ultimate purpose was to improve the quality of school nursing, to upgrade the skills of school nurses and to further the abilities of all children to succeed in the classroom.

A nationwide survey sent later that year, specified that the number one goal of the DSN was the establishment of school nurse credentialing standards in all states. Over the next few years, this goal was accomplished state by state. Throughout the 1970's, each state established its own school nurses association under the umbrella of the Department of School Nurses. In 1974, President Ford proclaimed the fourth Wednesday in January as National School Nurse Day. School nurses are now nationally recognized and celebrated for contributing to the health and well being of the nation's students.

With the goals of the DSN coming into clearer focus, committees began to form, policy statements were written and candidates were elected to executive offices. The DSN continued to expand until finally in 1979, the group became their own entity separate from the National Education Association. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) was incorporated that year and remains, the largest association of school nurses and the hub for state affiliate associations.

Through its history, NASN has emerged to lead the transformation of school health. Partnering with national health organizations, NASN continues to strengthen its membership, develop educational programs, resources, and research, and influence stakeholders support for school nursing through advocacy. NASN supports school nurse objectives by publishing issue briefs and position statements on subjects affecting student health and school nursing to keep members updated on aspects affecting their school communities.

Past Presidents

1970-1971 Sally Williams
1971-1972 Ruby Wheatly
1972-1973 Lillian Casady
1973-1974 Helen Brion
1974-1975 Nancy Parker
1975-1976 Beatrice Shaffer-O'Pry
1976-1977 Martha Rich
1977-1978 Donna Travis
1978-1979 Helen Heim
1979-1980 Peggy Rufner
1980-1981 Eleanor Thelander
1981-1982 Judy Beck
1982-1983 Joyce Mernin
1983-1984 Deborah (Bacon) Chapel
1984-1985 Pauline Fenelon
1985-1986 Wanda Miller 
1986-1987 Babs Blair
1987-1988 Lynne Gustafson
1988-1989 Vivian Haines
1989-1990 Shirley Carstens
1990-1991 Susan Lordi
1991-1992 Shirley Steel
1992-1993 Elaine Wade
1993-1994 Patricia Baum
1994-1995 Ann Lowry
1995-1996 Donna Zaiger
1996-1997 Carol Costante
1997-1999 Doris Luckenbill
1999-2001 Jane Tustin
2001-2003 Linda Wolfe
2003-2005 Janis Hootman
2005-2007 Sue Will
2007-2009 Donna Mazyck
2009-2011 Sandi Delack
2011-2013 Linda Davis-Alldritt
2013-2015 Carolyn Duff
2015-present Beth Mattey