Tara Mitchell was born and raised in New Bedford. She attended Elementary School in New Bedford, followed by Middle and High School in Dartmouth. Nurse Tara graduated from Bristol Community College’s nursing program and became Tara Mitchell, RN. She graduated from Chamberlain College of Nursing with a 3.82 GPA and became Tara Mitchell, BSN, RN. Nurse Tara is a mother of four brilliant, wacky, beautiful children ages 12, 10, 5, and 2, whom she loves dearly, and two smooshy puppies with whom she willingly shares snacks (the ultimate sign of affection). She’s enthusiastic about poetry, D&D, coffee, Ted Talks, loud music, coffee, and also coffee.
Why did you choose the Alma team?
I love it here. The crew is helpful, incredibly driven, inventive, and supportive. The administration is encouraging, engaging, and really upbeat. The building is gorgeous, colorful, and welcoming. There’s art on the walls, singing in the gym, laughter in the cafeteria. There are more than 400 scholars here every day, learning who they are, where they fit into their community, and how to make a positive difference. I’m so pumped to get to be a part of this. That, and there’s free coffee.
What do you hope to contribute to Alma?
It’s my hope this first year at Alma to truly tie the Health Office into the school as a resource that is not only here to support our scholars when they are unwell, but to also educate them on wellness techniques that they integrate into their lives. Additionally, I’d like to maximize in-class time by working as a part of a multidisciplinary team focused on preventing health and wellness concerns before they start. I’d like revitalize our electronic health record system, contribute to the health-focused curriculum, and encourage scholar and staff mental and physical health and safety. I’d like to find knowledge gaps that scholars and staff may have, and fill those gaps with information to support personal growth and positivity.
What is your top goal during your first year with Alma?
Without a doubt, my primary focus will always be to continue to improve the Health Office practices and policies to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of our scholars and staff. Additionally, I would like to bring as sense of security, consistency, and familiarity to the Health Office. I want our kinders to graduate from grade 8 having had the same health care professional (me!) looking after their growth and development. I want to provide quality continuity of care, and I’m in it for the long haul.
What teacher made a difference in your life — how?
Lucy Bly, my tiny firework of a French teacher! Ms. Bly was a powerhouse at all of 4’10” tall, with a quick wit, and mischief written into the laugh line on her face. Her classroom was equal parts study-central and safe haven. She smiled in the halls, she laughed in class, she listened when I needed an ear, and she sat quietly correcting papers and being present when I needed a space to clear my head in quiet. She taught me French, but she also taught me the joy of bad puns. And I’ll let you guess which of those I’ve gotten the most use out of.
Why did you become involved in education?
My start in education was a brilliant, happy accident that occurred while I was working as an agency nurse. I worked in the nurse’s office in a local elementary school and adored the school setting, the fun, the challenges, and the ability to make a positive difference. After the first day, I knew I’d found the setting I wanted to stay in. As a mother of four, I understand how valuable the school experience is for our young people. Having the opportunity to support their education by helping them feel healthy is a humbling, powerful experience. Children who feel better will learn better!
Where did you go to college? What did you like about your college?
I attended the impressively rigorous Nursing Program at Bristol Community College and graduated cum laude with my ADN and RN. I then earned my Bachelors through Chamberlain College of Nursing and graduated with President’s Honors. I loved the high-energy, high-intensity rush of late night pre-finals study sessions. I enjoyed the satisfaction of learning lifesaving skills. While my colleges were not prestigious, I have always been proud of my work and effort. I look forward to finding the right college as I continue my educational growth with a Master’s in Public Health.
What is your favorite food?
I love mango, sushi, Indian food, and tiramisu.
What is your favorite hobby?
I love slam poetry.