San Diego Imperial Section Award Winners

San Diego/Imperial Section Award Winners


Margaret Li, RN, MSN, PHN


Margaret Li is a school nurse from San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). Margaret graduated from UC San Diego (UCSD) with her Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and University of San Diego for her Master of Science in Nursing. She continued with her education and received her Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Informatics, and is Board Certified in Informatics Nursing RN-BC.

As a school nurse for SDUSD for the past 6 years, she has worked as a site nurse, an itinerant nurse, and currently working as a Resource Nurse. In her current position, she is utilizing her Informatics Nursing degree to streamline processes, collect health and safety data and generate reports, and create fillable electronic forms, which became the norm to send and receive information during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic started, Margaret helped develop and set up various resources to track and disseminate information such as: virtual trainings on new technology, job aids and created an online forum with resources for staff to utilize during distance learning. As the new school year approached, Margaret assisted with researching, planning, and testing applications for all district employees. These included daily symptom checks, contact-tracing procedures, a live COVID-19 Dashboard to display daily active cases for students and staff and continue as the primary liaison for COVID testing.

Margaret reflects the strengths CSNO looks for when selecting winners of the Excellence in Nursing Award. Margaret exemplifies excellence in school nursing practice based on the current Scope and Standards of Professional School Nursing Practice published by NASN. On behalf of the San Diego Imperial Section, it is our pleasure to award Margaret Li the Excellence in Nursing Practice Award for 2021.

Corinne McCarthy, RN, MSN


Corinne McCarthy, RN, MSN is currently the Program Specialist for School Nursing at the San Diego County Office of Education. She has worked in the field of Pediatric Nursing since 1980, the last 13 years being in the school setting. Throughout this past year, she has supported the San Diego County school nurses with navigating the ever-changing world we are now in with COVID-19. She acts as a liaison between San Diego county public health and the county’s school nurses, ensuring their voices are heard regarding the decisions made surrounding the health and wellness of the students and families in the county. Corinne coordinates school nurse orientation programs, provides oversight and training to paraprofessionals, and facilitates professional development for the school nurses in San Diego County. Her background in direct pediatric care, pediatric health care education and program development gives her the expertise to mentor new school nurses and provide consultation to San Diego County school districts. Corinne received her BSN from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, her MSN from Indiana University, in Indianapolis, IN, and her California Health Services Credential from San Diego State University. She currently holds the position of President for the CSNO-San Diego/Imperial Region. Corinne was the recipient of CSNO SD/IR’s 2019 School Nurse Excellence Award. She is a 2015 Fellow of the Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Institute working to improve school health services to all communities. 

Howard Taras, MD 


Dr. Taras is on the faculty of the School of Medicine at the University of California-San Diego, where he specializes in School Health. Dr. Howard Taras provides consultation services to San Diego Unified School District and multiple other school districts across California. He assists with decisions and processes leading to safe integration of students with special health care needs, helps to formulate school health policies, and educates pediatricians and trainees across the spectrum of medicine in school health.

Dr. Taras graduated from McMaster Medical School in Canada (1982) and completed his residency at the Hospital for Sick Children (University of Toronto) in Canada (1985). He completed a community pediatric fellowship at UC-San Diego (1987). He is a past chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health. Dr. Taras has authored or co-authored dozens of published articles in peer reviewed medical journals.

Dr. Taras reflects the strengths CSNO looks for when selecting winners of the Partner in Education Award. Dr. Taras is a community partner who has advocated and supported school health services and/or school nursing for many, many years. On behalf of the San Diego Imperial Section, it is our pleasure to award Dr. Taras the Partner in Education Award for 2021.