A passion for kids and a purpose in serving
A passion for kids and a purpose in serving
Posted on 12/06/2017

Emily Powell is not just a health services coordinator, she is an Emerald Ridge High School graduate, a volunteer, a wife, a mother of five, and she is deeply passionate about caring for kids whether volunteering in another country or helping students in her hometown of Puyallup. She just happens to be a health services coordinator for the Puyallup School District and loves what she does.

Emily grew up in Puyallup, and she went to Brouillet Elementary before going to Stahl Junior High. After graduating from Emerald Ridge High School in 2006, she went on to Seattle University to earn her bachelors of science in nursing.

At the age of 16, Emily’s father took her to Thailand for a mission trip.

“This experience opened my eyes to how different people around the world can live,” she explained. After returning home she started to notice more needs of those in her own home community.

Emily began traveling to different countries to help those in need through Living Grace Ministries International. Her experiences changed the way she viewed kids and their behaviors.

“You can’t judge a book by its cover. There really aren’t any ‘bad kids’ but reasons behind their behaviors. Kids need a loving supportive home and a stable adult in their life to connect with and trust,” explained Emily.

She continued developing a passion for children and wanting to meet them where they are in life, even if she didn’t understand them yet.

After earning her degree in nursing, Emily worked as a school nurse at several school districts and eventually returned to Emerald Ridge High School, but this time to support the students. Emily worked at Emerald Ridge for three years, and she especially enjoyed working with the special education programs during that time.

Kevin Hampton, principal at Emerald Ridge High School, said, “Emily Powell is an amazing professional, mother, wife, and friend. Emily’s high integrity and positive spirit is revered by many.”

In 2014, Emily and her husband, Jim, adopted their first two children, Evelyn and Aven, from Uganda. In 2015 Jim and Emily adopted their older brother, Jensen, as well as Brian, an Emerald Ridge student in the foster care system whom Emily met while working as the school nurse. And in June of 2017, Jim and Emily adopted their fifth child, Ezekiel, from Uganda.

Ohlinger Family

Because of her experiences internationally as well as in Puyallup, Emily understands how kids benefit from having an adult in their life who they can trust, even if they are just being an ear to listen. This inspired Emily to demonstrate that she genuinely cares for every student she interacts with.

Emily would regularly ask herself, “What else can I do to make them feel like I genuinely care?” Whether it was asking them how they are or checking in with their parents, Emily is sure to go the extra mile to show her expression of care and build positive relationships with students.

Today Emily is now the health services coordinator in the Puyallup School District.

Dr. Glenn Malone, chief assessment and accountability officer, said, “Emily’s love for all children made her the perfect choice to lead our Health Services team. She has quickly established positive relationships with our Health Services department, building principals, and many families. Because of Emily and her team the Puyallup School District has quickly become ‘the place to work’ as a school nurse in our region!”

Emily exclaimed, “Coming from being a school nurse I know it can be a lot of responsibility. I’m here to support the students, parents, and nurses. I am willing to do whatever possible to help, and if a question is asked that I don’t know the answer to, I will find it!”

Ohlinger Family