Thank your leader

Managers and supervisors provide the vision and leadership that makes work successful, and their efforts are recognized during National Boss’ Day celebrated annually in October. Dallas ISD is joining in to celebrate the leaders who are transforming student lives and making memorable moments every day by providing guidance and support to those around them.

Nursing supervisor Chyl Helms has called Dallas ISD home since 2004, so she understands the importance of what she calls “leading from the front.” Not only does she oversee 50 campus nurses, but she also facilitates all new nurse orientations and the two-year School Nurse Clinical Development program for approximately 75 nurses annually. 

“My team is my true passion,” Helms said. “I see myself as their advocate and do everything I can to make my staff feel valued and respected—and to feel like they are part of a bigger picture. Being the only healthcare provider on a campus can be challenging, so I also serve as a sounding board and a safe space if they have a bad day and need to process it.” 

Helms sees being a leader as an opportunity to continuously improve. Whether she is communicating more efficiently, finding meaningful ways to recognize individuals or encouraging her team to learn from their mistakes and build new and improved systems, she is devoted to helping others—a value that inspired her to become a nurse in the first place. 

She started out as a travel nurse, exploring countries like Jamaica and India, before finding her way to Dallas ISD as a nurse at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She soon became a preceptor and moved to William Lipscomb Elementary School, the former James Fannin Elementary School and Ben Milam Elementary School before becoming a nurse supervisor. 

In the years since then, she has left a profound impact on countless staff, setting the tone for all new nurses and helping them find their homes in the district. Her team’s positive feedback speaks for itself. 

Arlington Park Early Childhood Center campus nurse Debra Rodgers said, “Chyl is a role model, an encourager and a supporter for Dallas ISD nurses. She is warm, caring and friendly; and she sends handwritten notes and little gifts throughout the year to encourage us.” 

 Meanwhile, Dawn Wilcox, the campus nurse at Lipscomb, said, “Chyl educates and trains all of our new nurses in addition to managing her own massive workload, and I rarely see her without a smile. She is incredibly intelligent and an indispensable resource to fellow nurses. She models using humor and self-care as a way to manage stress, and her approach centers the needs of students. She is amazing at balancing compassion with non-negotiable expectations of excellence. We need to recognize more of the innovative and grueling work performed by support staff—especially our district nurses.” 

Thank you to all the leaders and managers across the district who have stepped up during the pandemic and beyond to provide support and contribute to educating all students for success. Dallas ISD appreciates everything that you do.

“It’s not always about the big tasks,” Helms said. “Sometimes those small things can mean so much to people, and that’s the part of nursing that I really love—seeing the joy on people’s faces with the small things. When anyone has a rough day, I encourage them to stop and look each student in the eye and have that moment of ‘why.’ It’s always about the students.”

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