August 4, 2022 by HCDE-Texas
A servant leader desires to serve and give to their community. Highpoint School East Nurse Karina Jerez Gonzalez walks through life with this belief.
“Nurse Gonzalez is one of Highpoint’s hidden gems,” said Principal Courtney Waters. “She has the magic power to turn a young person’s world to gold with her smile and caring touch.”
Jerez Gonzalez, the August Employee of the Month, has been employed as a school nurse with Harris County Department of Education since 2013.
A native of Guatemala, she immigrated to Houston in the early 2000s seeking opportunities to support her family back home.
“I was an accountant in Guatemala, but I always thought nursing would be a rewarding career, so I decided to study nursing here,” she said. “I love to help people.”
As an international student, it took her seven years to overcome language barriers and financial obstacles in the pursuit of her nursing degree. The challenges in her path sowed lessons she now shares with her students.
“I tell my students that I have had many difficulties, and if they work hard, they can do it too,” she said.
Jerez Gonzalez, who married a Methodist pastor, comes from a family of ministers. Her grandparents and parents are Assembly of God ministers and founded the church in their hometown.
“I believe in serving God. There is nothing better. I do my job at school, but I also help in the church,” she said. “I am in charge of the women’s ministry in Spanish, and once in a while, I also preach in Spanish. Maybe that’s why I love nursing too because it’s a way that you can help people.”
Jerez Gonzalez admits that she was unfamiliar with HCDE when applying for the job but says she fell in love with the students.
“I love being a school nurse. I love the students, especially those we have at Highpoint,” Jerez Gonzalez said. “They are there because of bad influences, but they need love and attention, and I love that I can make a difference in their lives.”
The love she has for her students is one of many reasons she was selected as the Employee of the Month. Director of Curriculum and Compliance Services Brenda Mullins, who nominated Jerez Gonzalez, recognizes her for her willingness to support all HCDE students.
“On several occasions, Nurse Jerez served the ABS East campus all day due to the nurse shortage,” said Mullins. “However, she never neglected Highpoint. She trained the office assistants at Highpoint on basic medical protocols to meet the campus needs in her absence. She is always professional and polite despite having a heavy workload.”
Waters is thankful to have a dedicated and meticulous nurse on her campus.
“The Highpoint family would not be complete without Karina Gonzalez,” she said.