This story originally appeared in the spring/summer 2020 issue of Harker Magazine.
A constant source of calm humor and graceful leadership, Debra Nott, director of health services, shepherds the school through everything from scraped knees to air quality issues and pandemics. She has also lent her expertise to the California School Nurses Organization as president of its Bay Coast section, where she implemented conference standards that continue to this day. Nott and her husband of 40 years have sent two daughters through Harker, one of whom was an Olympian (“I sewed over a hundred synchronized swimming suits and headpieces …”). This nurse who loves dancing, step aerobics and Zumba shared a little more about her favorite things.
What piece of advice have you given your children?
“Be careful of what you need to believe or have to believe.” Sometimes we desperately need to believe something is true, regardless of evidence to the contrary. Recognize that and think it through again.
What would constitute a perfect day for you?
I had a perfect day in Rio de Janeiro. Our daughter Andrea qualified for the Olympics in the morning. She placed first; the American flag was raised high and we sang our national anthem. In the afternoon, my husband and I jumped off a cliff in a tandem hang glider (with an expert) and landed on the beach. That night we watched the sunset from Sugarloaf Mountain.
What are you obsessed with?
Star Trek and Star Wars.
What gives you a reason to smile?
I love it when our youngest students want to re-enact how an injury occurred, sometimes complete with jumping off a chair and rolling around on the floor!
What do you love most about your life?
Students and adults come to me every day. My goal is that when they leave, they will feel better.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
Although I love being a nurse, my first career goal will always be astronaut. Unfortunately, I get motion sickness at the drop of a hat, and let’s just say calculus and I didn’t see the world in the same way!