Scheuer retiring after 17 years at Shaler Area


She’s the one who stops the bleeding after we’ve been hit in the face with a basketball. She’s the one who takes us down to her office in a wheelchair when we’re feeling dizzy. She’s the one who takes our temperatures, who gives us Tylenol, who lets us lie down when we have migraines. She’s the one who helps us when we’re anxious, who smiles at us in the halls. This year, she’s the one who contact traces us when we’re exposed to COVID. And she’s the one who is retiring at the end of the school year.
Mrs. Leslie Scheuer has been a Shaler Area High School nurse for 17 years. She started in the 2004-2005 school year, and she has helped the students and staff stay healthy ever since. Over the years, she’s treated many different illnesses and injuries, some serious, some bizarre.
“One of the fun things about being a nurse is there’s a story every night,” she said. “I had a girl early on who, in her bedroom, her lamp had fallen over and the light had broken so she had cut her foot. She had a pretty good little cut on it, and so what she did was she just took sewing thread and sewed herself up. So she comes in with these stitches on her foot, and I’m like, this doesn’t look like any stitches I’ve ever seen!”
Fortunately, the girl’s foot was not infected, and Mrs. Scheuer was able to take the stitches out. In addition to helping kids who sew their feet up, Mrs. Scheuer helps students with Type 1 Diabetes and severe food allergies, as well as students who have seizures during the school.
“In August, before you all come back, I am dealing with what I would consider our kids who could die during the school day,” she said. “If we have kids with seizures, for instance, their teacher is going to know what to do until I get there, I’ve talked to their parents about what we should worry about, and we have a plan.”
This may seem like a daunting task, but Mrs. Scheuer’s previous careers prepared her for all the medical emergencies she has encountered at the High School. She had no intention of becoming a school nurse when she first went to college; she originally majored in Psychology. She knew that she wanted to work with people, so when the Psychology Department was not a good fit for her, she transferred to a nursing program and was eventually hired in the Intensive Care Unit at Hershey Medical Center, where she cared for cardiac patients.
“I think the Intensive Care Unit training has helped me here, first of all because I work quickly, but secondly, I am sort of able to decide what is really serious and what is maybe not so serious,” she said.

I thought being a school nurse would be really boring.

— Mrs. Leslie Scheuer

After working in the ICU, she got a part-time job doing research for a cardiac-catheterization lab and then started being on call with a beeper. Although she enjoyed her work, it was difficult to organize childcare for her kids with her and her husband both on call. When her daughter brought home a paper asking for substitute school nurses at their school district, Mrs. Scheuer decided to apply.
She went back to school to be certified by the Department of Education to become a school nurse, and, after working at two charter schools, she was hired at Shaler. She had her doubts about being a school nurse, though, especially after working in an ICU, a very high-pressure environment.
“I thought being a school nurse would be really boring,” she said.
However, when she started working, Mrs. Scheuer realized that, although she was more than prepared to deal with all of the medical emergencies and illnesses she encountered, she was still learning new things every day about what life was like for a high schooler socially.
“I was very fortunate to work with Mrs. Kramer, who had been here for a while. She knew the building really well, and knew students really well. I learned a lot from her,” she said. “I think she gave me a good sense of just what teenage life was like a bit more. Certainly I’d worked in the hospital, and so I knew the medical stuff, but it was a little bit of the stuff you guys go through day-by-day that I just had to learn a little bit more about.”
Her day-to-day job entails helping students and staff members who are physically sick, but she is also there to help students through the mental side of things. When people come into her office with anxiety about a speech they have to give or a test they have later that day, she lets them lay down and relax. This could be seen as giving in to kids who are “faking” to get out of class, but Mrs. Scheuer sees it as something beneficial.
“My job is to try and keep people in school,” she said. “So if somebody comes down and lays down for forty minutes, and takes a little bit of a stress break, whether or not they’re really sick, and that gets them through the rest of the school day, that’s seven more classes that they’ve had that day, as opposed to just going home. Or that helped them cope a little bit, and I think that’s okay.”
The kindness that drives her to help students in so many ways is not going anywhere when she retires, either. Mrs. Scheuer plans to move to Virginia, where she and her husband have built a house. There, she wants to reinstate her Virginia nursing license and help administer COVID-19 vaccines. She is also looking forward to being involved with a walking trail system near her house and singing with a choir, something she has always enjoyed.
“My mother signed me up for the church choir when I was seven, so I’ve been singing pretty much constantly… Every place I’ve lived I’ve looked for a group to sing with,” she said, adding, “I was kind of a choir geek when I was in high school.”
Although she is excited about her retirement plans, Mrs. Scheuer said that it is hard to leave Shaler Area. For her, though, the pandemic and its impact on the school has made it easier to say goodbye.

The previous principal, Mr. Suit, used to say that we are one big dysfunctional family here, and we truly are. I look around, and I get to see you guys grow for four years, and I get to see the staff grow…You get to see people grow, and so they do become family. I’m going to miss that a lot.

— Mrs. Leslie Scheuer

“COVID made it a little less painful to retire,” she said. “The previous principal, Mr. Suit, used to say that we are one big dysfunctional family here, and we truly are. I look around, and I get to see you guys grow for four years, and I get to see the staff grow… You get to see people grow, and so they do become family. I’m going to miss that a lot.”
One thing she probably will not miss, though, is working through the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the nurses were tasked with contact tracing students who may have been exposed to COVID, encouraging kids to stay home if they felt sick, and educating the students and staff about the pandemic.
“This year has been particularly hard, because what I like about this job is collaboration and problem solving and supporting, and COVID is all about rules,” she said.
Her least favorite part of working this year, she said, was making phone calls to tell guardians or parents that their child had been contact traced.
“It’s basically like I’m grounding you,” she said, laughing.
In her seventeen years here, though, Mrs. Scheuer has dealt with outbreaks and emergencies other than COVID. She has helped the High School through the H1N1 virus and flu outbreaks, and even, during her first year here, a flood.
“I started the year of the 2004-2005 school year, and within a month we had the flood, so that’s what I remember first,” she said.
She ended up having to stay after school with the students who could not get home because of the flood waters. However, it was when she was stuck at the school, eating frozen pizza some teachers had scavenged from the cafeteria and watching the pouring rain, that she started to feel an attachment to Shaler Area.
“We as a staff — and this is when I knew I really liked working here — divided up, and some teachers were in the auditorium and people were donating clothing. Some people were in Gym A and people were donating cleaning supplies, and bleach, and brooms, and sponges and mops, and things that you would need to clean up your house if your whole basement was flooded. And a lot of us were getting on school busses and going down to these neighborhoods and helping clean out basements and houses,” she said.
From the 2004 flood to the 2021 COVID-19 pandemic, Mrs. Scheuer has been here, helping the students and staff stay healthy and stay in school, and she has made a positive difference in the lives of so many people. When asked if there was anything additional she wished she had done during her time here, Mrs. Scheuer shook her head.
“I don’t have anything that I feel is missing,” she said. “I think I’m going to go out feeling… maybe it’s not the way that every nurse would have done this job, but it fit for me. It felt like me.”
From all the students and staff you’ve helped over the years, whether it was through calling an ambulance, treating a migraine, soothing a fear or just saying hello: thank you, Mrs. Scheuer. We are glad it was you.