Basic American Foods has announced the winners of the 2022 Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence (FAME) Awards, with the top honor, the Golden Foodservice Director of the Year Award, going to Roy Pistone, director of food & nutrition services for the Citrus County Schools in Florida, where he was the 2020-2021 president of the Florida School Nutrition Association while also mentoring new directors and helping districts improve their meal programs.
The 2022 FAME Silver Leadership Award winner goes to Rita Denton, director of student nutrition for the Mansfield Independent School District in Texas while Denielle Saitta, project manager of marketing & communications for Fulton County School Nutrition in Atlanta, receives the 2022 FAME Silver Spirit Award and Shannon Solomon, school foodservice director for Aurora Public Schools in Colorado, is awarded the 2022 FAME Rising Star Award.
With over 27 years in the school foodservice and nutrition industry, Pistone was recognized for his fiscal savvy and leadership in renovating nearly every school kitchen in the Citrus County district, all while keeping meal prices at a steady level over the years.
Meanwhile, since arriving at Mansfield in 2015, Denton successfully connected and enhanced the quality of the menu, staff and the food and nutrition program, by for example establishing a new cafe concept called The Crossing that is now recognizable throughout the community. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, in her first four years with the district, Denton’s department increased breakfast participation by 22%, and lunch by 18% even as district enrollment saw only a 4% increase.
Saitta plans, coordinates, and manages all marketing and communications for the 97 Fulton County Schools, the fourth largest district in Georgia. She is also an advocate for children, writing proposals for school nutrition education grants and securing grant funding for a variety of programs from alternative breakfast services to technology and mobile kiosks.
Solomon over the last four years has opened three new schools in the district, managed two renovations for safety and efficiency and completely overhauled district catering, rising through the ranks from kitchen manager, supervisor and assistant director to director. During her time at Aurora, she was featured on Food Network’s Chopped program after catching the eye of a “Cook for America” training program that teaches cooks how to make industrial food delicious.
For over 30 years, the FAME Awards have recognized outstanding heroes in K-12 foodservice who raise industry standards by tackling challenges and making a difference within their school districts and communities. The selection committee was made up of 2021 FAME Awards winners, the School Nutrition Association President and industry media partners.
The 33rd Annual FAME Awards ceremony will be held virtually during the School Nutrition Conference on Wednesday, January 26th from 5:00 to 5:45 EST. For more information about the FAME Awards, visit https://www.baffoodservice.com/fame-awards.