Lori Watzl King smiling

As we continue to highlight the incredible coordinators in our district, we want to recognize one individual that has been a long-standing St. Anthony - New Brighton School (SANB) District employee. Lori Watzl-King’s impact has been felt far and wide over her 16 years with the district. Over the course of her time with SANB, she’s held true to her guiding star: that her role to care for each and every student gives them the capacity to contribute and learn at school. This inspires her to continue. “If I didn’t like it, I would’ve left a long time ago.”

Lori Watzl-King, currently the District Wellness Coordinator and long-time St. Anthony resident, has served as a nurse of SANB for 16 years, the last nine as the district’s only nurse. Her biggest focus is on students, dedicating almost half of her time to making sure students with chronic conditions have what they need in school. 

Without her expertise and knowledge, a lot of kids could not come to school because of chronic conditions – students with medications, or are diabetic, or need feeding tubes to name a few.  Those all need to be supervised by a licensed nurse, Lori said. 

Simply put: “Those students wouldn’t have an opportunity to learn.”

A Day in the Life

Lori also spends time with Special Education staff to ensure they are trained with nursing services. Ever the multi-tasker, Lori also picked up wellness initiatives, and her title changed from District Nurse to District Wellness Coordinator to account for those additional initiatives. 

“My belief is staff who are not well do not have as much capacity to help our students, so I focus a lot on employee wellness,” Lori said. Out of this has come the Wellness Cohort, a diverse group of staff members that are support staff and teachers from every school in the district. 

The group meets monthly and has focused professional development sessions on topics like mindfulness, physical health and wellbeing. The group sets goals at the beginning of the year and works together with Lori to achieve them! 

“What they’re telling me is that it’s not only affecting their own wellbeing, but their families,” Lori said. “Even their friends! Their social circle is being influenced like a little spider web. This group is having unintended, positive impacts that have turned out to be awesome.”

Lori hopes to continue with a cohort next year, building model champions of wellness that each staff member can tap into for support.  

One-Stop Shop

As the District Wellness Coordinator, Lori is a one-person shop when it comes to nursing and wellness. Lori has some support from health aides who provide daily care to students, performing first aid and following health plans. As such, she leads the Wellness Committee, who sets goals for wellness  and looks at all aspects of wellness for staff, students and families. 

Her role allows her to participate in the Student Support Teams, which is a group of principals, assistant principals, deans, psychologists, the nurse, and mental health professionals, created to help students with academic, emotional, or physical needs.

Looking to the future, Lori hopes to continue the ever important work on empowering students to be well in all aspects. There is a need to have a second registered nurse as more students are requiring nursing services, especially since the Covid-19 Pandemic. 

“I would love to devote more time to student and staff wellness. To help others by being cognizant of their own health and wellbeing – that is the dream!” said Lori. 


In case you weren’t already impressed with Lori’s long line up of responsibilities and supports she provides to our community, she is also: 

  • Chair of a Special Education Committee for School Nurse Organization of Minnesota 

  • Metro Region School Nurse Coordinator for MN Department of Health School Nurse Collaborative

  • Excellence in School Nursing Award 2023 by the National Association of School Nurses

  • School Nurse of the Year for MN 2022

  • Masters in School Nurse Education

  • Nationally Certified School Nurse - certified in 2022

  • An avid Twin’s fan, and is very proud to yell that from the rooftops!

Like Viviana Chavez Garcia, Lori Watzl-King embodies the spirit of our district's commitment to health and wellness in all aspects. It’s evident from her many years supporting our district in a myriad of roles that she truly believes in the brilliance of each student. She is another invaluable asset to our St. Anthony - New Brighton School community and we are Ever Brighter because of her contributions and engagement with our community.

  • Ever Brighter